The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure

Overview


Nature documentaries often depict animal life as a grim struggle for survival, but this visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. In more than one hundred thirty striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. These photographs, windows onto the inner lives of pleasure seekers, show two ...
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The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure

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Overview


Nature documentaries often depict animal life as a grim struggle for survival, but this visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. In more than one hundred thirty striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. These photographs, windows onto the inner lives of pleasure seekers, show two polar bears engaged in a bout of wrestling, hoary marmots taking time for a friendly chase, Japanese macaques enjoying a soak in a hot spring, a young bull elk sticking out his tongue to catch snowflakes, and many other rewarding moments. Biologist and best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe is our guide, interpreting the images within the scientific context of what is known about animal behavior. In the end, old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Katherine Bouton

“An exuberant look at animal pleasure.”
New York Post - Maureen Callahan

“An irresistible new photo book.”
New Scientist - Tiffany O'Callaghan

“Intersperses glorious images of animals preening, grooming and gallivanting with snippets of studies suggesting such behaviours belie an overly utilitarian interpretation.”
Bbc Wildlife Magazine - Stuart Blackman

“Here is a book to put a spring into anyone’s step. The Exultant Ark is a celebration of animal behaviour at its most uplifting.”
The Australian - Leigh Dayton

“All readers of this column must immediately purchase Jonathan Balcombe’s fabulous book.”
American Journal Of Play - Harold Herzog

“One of those rare volumes that will look good on your coffee table but might also change the way you think.”
The Guardian / Birdbooker Report Blog - Ian Paulsen

“This visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. . . . Old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.”
Psychology Today - Hal Herzog

“This is one of those rare volumes that will look good on your coffee table but might also change the way you think.”
Rain Taxi Review Of Books - Scott F. Parker

“The studies he [Balcombe] invokes are hard to explain away. . . . Likewise, the photographs that make up the bulk of The Exultant Ark remind us that we are not as different from other animals on our planet as we like to think; the photos are anecdotal in nature, but they are utterly compelling.”
Veg News Mag

“Both the stunning photography and Balcombe’s masterful prose are welcome additions to the growing literary and scientific evidence that debunk long-assumed myths while continuing to eliminate the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them.’”
Katherine Bouton
True to its subtitle…The Exultant Ark showcases surprising, funny, touching, sad, heartwarming pictures by photographers all over the world. Dr. Balcombe's text is a serious examination of the subject of animal pleasure, a study that "remains nascent and largely neglected in scientific discourse." But it also delights us along the way with Dr. Balcombe’s observations and examples.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520260245
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,020,647
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Jonathan Balcombe is Department Chair for Animal Studies with Humane Society University. His books include Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals and Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good. Dr. Balcombe is also a popular environmental conference and keynote speaker.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Introduction

1 Play
2 Food
3 Touch
4 Courtship and Sex
5 Love
6 Comfort
7 Companionship
8 Other Pleasures

Conclusion: Implications of Animal Pleasure

Notes
References
Index

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