Bonobo Handshake

A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

Vanessa Woods - Author

Paperback | $16.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781592406340 | 288 pages | 07 Jun 2011 | Gotham Trade Paperback | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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A young woman follows her fiancÚ to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love.

In 2005 Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancÚ entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA and who live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

"Funny, adventurous, and heartbreaking, Woods takes us with her to darkest Africa to meet our nearest relative, the nearly extinct bonobo. This must-read book illuminates extraordinary courage in both people and animals."
-Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants

"Gain insights into both the darkness and altruistic sides of our own emotions by getting to know chimpanzees and bonobos in an African sanctuary. This book is both shocking and hilarious."
-Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

"Don't think that this is just a book about apes. It's a love story, an adventure story, and a political education about a country that has seen more tragedy and inhumanity than you can imagine. Above all, it's an introduction to creatures who have every claim to being more human, in the best sense of the word, than we are."
-Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

"This is a startling book. Page after page astonished me. A beautifully written journey into the tangled jungle of the human mind, it also brings us movingly into intimate, loving contact with our extraordinary cousins. This is a compelling story, told with striking honesty, humor, and intelligence."
-Alan Alda, author of New York Times bestsellers Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself and Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

"This is a thoughtful, eloquent memoir, well written and well researched, alternately charming and horrific."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Woods' account of her time with the Bonobo apes is a story to savor."

"[Woods'] book about her work in the Congo is exciting, informative and personal. It is hard to come away without a soft spot for these frisky cousins of ours."
-St Louis Post Dispatch

"A page turner that journeys into the deepest jungle to tell a story of war, a peaceful primate cousin of man, and love - between woman and man and woman and ape."
-The Durham News

"A late-in-life coming-of-age story, Bonobo Handshake touches on redemption, the war and history of the Congo, anthropological science, research and its ethics, sex, and, principally, bonobos - one of humanity's closest living relatives. Dense, thoughtful, and at once playful and terribly harsh, Bonobo Handshake tells us a story we need to know."

"It is indeed a window into the emotions and psychology of our nearest primate relatives, bonobos and chimps. But more than that it's a revealing look into the mind and heart of a young woman finding her way as a scientist and a conservationist."
-NOVA blog/

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