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Publisher's Summary

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words listeners travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to reevaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.
©2015 Carl Safina (P)2015 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"This book breathes love of and respect for animals and is rich with observations and extraordinary travel experiences." (Frans de Waal, author of The Bonobo and the Atheist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sharon on 11-12-15

Great book by a scientist with a heart

I loved this book. The narration could definitely be better, but I will forgive Carl Safina for this, as the content of this book is so good. It's taken forever, but science is finally catching up with what many of us have known all along - that animals have feelings, have family bonds, have their own language, etc. In many ways they are superior to us.
It was fascinating to read about the elephants, wolves, whales, and the terrible things that humans have done to them. There are many species on the planet. Humans are just one, but we sure are making life difficult for so many of the others.
This book is difficult to read in places, heartbreaking in others, but, for the most part, it is so interesting to get an in depth look at these particular species. Also, we need to know the bad things that are happening to them, so we can do something about it.
I highly recommend this book.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful


By kenneth lavoie on 03-30-16

Absolutely mind bending!

If you could sum up Beyond Words in three words, what would they be?

Mind expanding- indisputable!

All things are connected by a common ancestry. Humans are not the pinnacle of creation but one among many creatures who encompass the whole of evolution. We are all the same and humans are not the best among us.

What did you like best about this story?

The extent of society among our non-human neighbors is what I liked best. And the fact that we can interact with them if we do so on their terms and not on our terms.

What does Carl Safina bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed Carl's sense of earnest and the decades of observation he brings to the subject.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Man vs. Nature: Community or Competition?

Any additional comments?

This book opens up the sense that we are all one. There seems to be an entire reality- older than our own, that is grossly misunderstood. To what end I wonder...

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Eve on 09-29-15

interesting, informative and entertaining

Not always a fan of authors narrating their own books, but this one worked well and was read with the right amount of passion and involvement.

Most of the facts and stories were not news to me because of my interest in the subject, but many people will be blown away by some of the content. A must read for humanity I would say.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Bruce on 12-12-17

Fascinating, powerful, heartbreaking and hopeful

I'd arrived here via Humankind by Timothy Morton (Verso 2017). I'd hoped to have my residual prejudices about the limitations of the personhood of other-than-human animals challenged. My expectations were surpassed. Satisfyingly and engagingly read by the author and written from a passionate point of view, the book is rich with astonishing insight into the lives of specific elephants, wolves, dogs, orcas and other creatures. Sometimes difficult to listen to in the parts concerning the idiocy and brutality of humans, this book communicates the wonder of many different encounters with our fellow earthlings and makes a compelling case for compassion in our relations with them - and each other.

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Customer Reviews

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By Kerry Freeman on 09-19-17

The one true predator.

The narration is good. I found the stories too heartbreaking to finish listening. Good luck.

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