BOOK REVIEW: A Primate’s Memoir
by James MacLaren
A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life among the Baboons
Robert M. Sapolsky, 2001, Scribner
Just put it down and I’m not really sure what’s gonna roll off the ends of my
fingers as they aim for this key or that.
But I DO have to review it.
It’s VERY good.
It would be a shame to let it go by, unremarked upon.
The title gives you a glimpse of at least the general vicinity of where the
stories take place, but that’s about it.
Baboons, humans, buffalo, elephants, gorillas, airplanes, Masai warriors
drinking bloodsicles produced using a scientific stash of dry ice, liberal
lefties, corrupt game park officials poaching what they’re supposed to be
protecting, elderly Brit colonials, Dian Fossey’s grave, bovine tuberculosis,
Mau Mau uprisings, army checkpoints, scams, ripoffs, starving children, on and
on it goes, just as maddeningly African as it can be.
And through it all RS uses his beloved troop of baboons as the glue that binds
it all together. Twenty years of tales told.
He invites us into the troop and we come to know and love many of them, by name.
And the interspecies allegories flow richly around all the participants.
You’re just going to have to read this one, ok?