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Publisher's Summary

We have long attributed man's violent, aggressive, competitive nature to his animal ancestry. But what if we are just as given to cooperation, empathy, and morality by virtue of our genes? What if our behavior actually makes us apes? What kind of apes are we? From a scientist and writer E.O. Wilson has called "the world authority on primate social behavior" comes a fascinating look at the most provocative aspects of human nature: power, sex, violence, kindness, and morality, through our two closest cousins in the ape family. For nearly 20 years, Frans de Waal has worked with both the famously aggressive chimpanzee and the lesser-known, egalitarian, erotic, matriarchal bonobo, two species whose DNA is nearly identical to that of humans.
De Waal shows the range of human behavior through his study of chimpanzees and bonobos, drawing from their personalities, relationships, power struggles, and hijinx important insights about our human behavior. The result is an engrossing and surprising narrative that reveals what their behavior can teach us about our own nature.
©2005 Frans de Waal (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"De Waal's most hopeful message is that peaceful behavior can be learned....[An] important and illuminating book." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Readers might be surprised at how much these apes and their stories resonate with their own lives, and may well be left with an urge to spend a few hours watching primates themselves at the local zoo." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ruth on 06-22-07

I loved this book

A special treat was hearing it read from the author himself. I listened to it on and off for a couple of weeks. The concept of religion poisons everything is instinctive for me but this book puts facts to the feelings I have felt all my life. Thank you for making me realize I am not alone. And thank you for having the guts to write this enlightening and informative book. I admit I hid the title from most acquaintances (but did recommend it to my friends and family). I live (and work) in the what's considered the bible belt and sometimes feel like an outsider or a freak for my beliefs or should I say unbeliefs. This work has given me courage to live a more truthful, honest life.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Raymond on 08-30-06

Top Banana Award

I'm an avid audiobook listener with a penchant for unabridged science recordings. Along with EO Wilson's Consilience and J Diamond's GGS, this ranks as one of my favorites. Our Inner Ape is a profoundingly engaging work. It is full of ideas and insight about human nature drawn from years of studying bonobo and chimpanzee societies. By comparing and contrasing humans with other apes, De Waal offers a fresh new perspective on the evolution of violence, altruism, moral sentiment, and compassion in modern societies. He is a careful observer of ape social behavior and knows how to make his subject extremely relevant. I highly recommend Our Inner Ape!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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