Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace

Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace

by Carl Safina

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Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2020

"In this superbly articulate cri de coeur, Safina gives us a new way of looking at the natural world that is radically different."
The Washington Post

New York Times bestselling author Carl Safina brings readers close to three non-human cultures—what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them.

A New York Times Notable Books of 2020

Some believe that culture is strictly a human phenomenon. But this book reveals cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too come to understand yourself as an individual within a particular community that does things in specific ways, that has traditions. Alongside genes, culture is a second form of inheritance, passed through generations as pools of learned knowledge. As situations change, social learning—culture—allows behaviors to adjust much faster than genes can adapt.

Becoming Wild brings readers into intimate proximity with various nonhuman individuals in their free-living communities. It presents a revelatory account of how animals function beyond our usual view. Safina shows that for non-humans and humans alike, culture comprises the answers to the question, “How do we live here?” It unites individuals within a group identity. But cultural groups often seek to avoid, or even be hostile toward, other factions. By showing that this is true across species, Safina illuminates why human cultural tensions remain maddeningly intractable despite the arbitrariness of many of our differences. Becoming Wild takes readers behind the curtain of life on Earth, to witness from a new vantage point the most world-saving of perceptions: how we are all connected.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250787613
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 113,962
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Carl Safina's work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards as well as the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. Safina is founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the 10-part PBS series Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina. His books include Beyond Words, Song for the Blue Ocean, and The Eye of the Albatross. He lives on Long Island, New York.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Realm 1 Raising Families

Sperm Whales 1

Realm 2 Creating Beauty

Scarlet Macaws 121

Realm 3 Achieving Peace

Chimpanzees 207

Epilogue 325

Notes 329

Selected Bibliography 351

Acknowledgments 353

Index 355

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