In an exhilarating account of his twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, Robert Sapolsky interweaves serious scientific observations with wry commentary about the challenges and pleasures of living in the wilds of the Serengeti—for man and beast alike.
"I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla," writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist's coming-of-age in remote Africa.
An exhilarating account of Sapolsky's twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate's Memoir interweaves serious scientific observations with wry commentary about the challenges and pleasures of living in the wilds of the Serengeti—for man and beast alike. Over two decades, Sapolsky survives culinary atrocities, gunpoint encounters, and a surreal kidnapping, while witnessing the encroachment of the tourist mentality on the farthest vestiges of unspoiled Africa. As he conducts unprecedented physiological research on wild primates, he becomes evermore enamored of his subjects—unique and compelling characters in their own right—and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevents him.
By turns hilarious and poignant, A Primate's Memoir is a magnum opus from one of our foremost science writers.
"[An] absorbing and very engagingly written and quite well narrated by veteran actor Mike Chamberlain." ---Library Journal Audio Review
"Filled with cynicism and awe, passion and humor, this memoir is both an absorbing account of a young man's growing maturity and a tribute to the continent that, despite its troubles and extremes, held him in its thrall." ---Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A wild and wondrous account, filled with passages so funny or so brilliant that the [listener] wants to grab someone by the arm and demand, 'Hey, you just gotta listen to this.'" ---Kirkus Starred Review
"Sapolsky often wears his heart on his sleeve, and this emotional involvement combined with the scientific realities of the tales he tells makes for engrossing reading." ---Booklist Starred Review
"Chamberlain's lively, bemused tone communicates Sapolsky's down-to-earth approach and sense of humor. Sapolsky's writing is eminently approachable for the layperson, and the listener soon begins to feel acquainted with the various baboons in the troop and to see certain similarities between their behavior and those of the human world. . . . Chamberlain's energetic narration provides a great complement to the author's quirky personality." ---AudioFile
"The calm and clear narration of Mike Chamberlain provides a soothing solace from the mania and chaos of Sapolsky’s experiences. He keeps the story grounded and pleasurable to listen to. . . . A Primate’s Memoir reads like a frank, honest love story to baboons who may not have realized the depth of their adoration, but were loved nonetheless. . . . Robert M. Sapolsky’s baboons will stick with me, and I thank his troop for that." ---Erika Fleury, author of Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights