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The Monkey Wars [Hardcover]

Deborah Blum
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

13 Oct 1994
The use of primates in research is an ongoing controversy. We have all benefited from the medical discoveries, yet we have also learned more in recent years about the real intelligence of apes and monkeys. Activists have also uncovered cases of animal cruelty by researchers. The Monkey Wars assesses the often caustic debate over the use of primates in scientific research, and examines the personalities and issues behind the headlines. The author focuses on researchers forced to conduct their work behind barbed wire and alarm systems, animal rights activists ranging from the moderate AWI Institute to the highly radical ALF, and some of the remarkable chimpanzees involved. The research community and its activist critics are invariably portrayed as rival camps locked in a long, bitter, and seemingly intractable political battle. In reality there are people on both sides willing to accept and work within the complex middle. Deborah Blum gives these people a voice.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First edition (13 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195094123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195094121
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,849,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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`A brilliant and unblinking look at one of the most disturbing issues of the 1990s, penned by one of the nation's most distinguished science journalists.' keay Davidson, Science Writer, San Francisco Examiner, and co-author of Wrinkles in Time

`The Monkey Wars will make you see the whole question of animal research - and much that has been done in the name of science - quite differently.' Business Week

About the Author

About the Author: Deborah Blum won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for a series of articles that have inspired this book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and thought provoking 11 Mar 2000
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was extremely easy to read, informative without being too bogged down in 'science' and it was certainly thought provoking. Blum allows you to come to your own decisions about the rights and wrongs with regard to testing on primates and has obviously spent alot of time with the likes of Roger Fouts et al. She has also interview many advocates for primate testing and although no-one will persuade me that it is ethically, morally or scientifically sound to use any primate as a model for humans, it was interesting to hear the scientists' views and their defences. She tackles the AIDS and polio research with startling theories. Very thought provoking. I loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a generally even-handed treatment 11 Jun 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Overall, an excellent book. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. My only complaint is that the author might a bit too uncritically accept vivisectors' claims about the human payoffs of their research. Near the end she does briefly discuss some of the failures of animal research and the cost that has been paid in terms of human suffering and death, but much of her earlier discussion is not informated by the latter.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Communication is Key for the Monkey 17 Jun 2000
By Karen Dawn - Published on
This book is an invaluable learning tool and reference source for anyone interested in helping primates used in research,or hoping to eventually eliminate their use. Blum makes it clear that not all primate researchers are monsters (though some are!) and that vilification of, rather than communicaton with "the other side" can hinder progress towards a kinder medical world.
I write from an animal advocacy perspective. I believe, however, that Blum makes a similar point to those who support research - she helps to dispel the myth that all animal advocates are unreasonable fanatics.
Yes, her book was hard to read in one or two places; I found the descriptions of repetitive, superfluous, studies on infant abuse particularly upsetting. But they are important for animal advocates to know about. For the most part, however, The Monkey Wars read like a fascinating scientific novel. I couldn't put it down.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well-balanced and makes an important statement 24 April 2002
By rackronnieroff - Published on
Whatever side of the vivisection debate you are on, this book is worth reading and paying attention to. "The Monkey Wars" calls attention to the need for discussion and understanding between researchers and animal-rights activists - something that is rarely happening. Intolerance, she shows, is leading to much suffering - both human and animal - and it is rife among both communities.
The idea that scientists who experiment on animals are all foaming-at-the-mouth maniacs, cackling and eager to cause suffering with their array of sharp instruments may occasionally be nearly true (see the sections on Harry Harlow). But Blum's book says that the majority of vivisectionists are dedicated to working for the good of people - at the cost of other animals (in this case, non-human primates). They believe this is fully acceptable - humans take priority and we must do what we can to help our own. Here lies the real debate - what gives us the right to inflict this suffering on these animals for the 'good' of mankind? What makes it acceptable? And how much good does it really do us, anyway?
Animal rights activists generally think it's NOT accaptable, and many doubt that much of it has any merit after all (see the chapter on baboon-human organ transplants). They (we) have a horrible reputation amongst researchers, so much so that at the first mention of 'animal rights' causes many of these people to close their ears and eyes and hum a silly tune until it's all over. While there HAVE been cases of pointless destruction and horrible threats to researchers in 'defense' of lab animals, the majority of animal activists are peaceful, reasonable people who want to ease suffering - including that of humans - not cause more.
Through a series of articles about and interviews with a whole spectrum of people involved, Blum shows us both sides of this sometimes hopeless 'debate' - and she does show us some hope as well. There are people on either side of the fence willing to listen and work with those who may not see things in exactly the same light. What's important, "The Monkey Wars" shows, is that we all be willing to listen to and consider others' arguments before making assumptions about the intentions of 'the other side'. This may not solve the entire debate and wipe out all suffering on earth - but it's a step in the right direction.
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A "balanced" approach? 23 Sep 2008
By Luiza Marrandino - Published on
It is a bit curious that this book as been described as balanced. This book, as another reviewer mentioned, does not question whether science done on animals and especially primates has produced much valuable, life-changing, society-changing research. She has very few examples of the ways in which animal testing has resulted in useful discoveries with the exception of polio, which she shows nearly decimated an an entire monkey population for the sheer number of monkeys imported for use. Science, as an institution and discipline, is treated with kid-gloves here. The amorphous thing of scientific curiosity, regardless of the suffering it causes and the lack of useful result, is posed as an inalienable human right. The balanced approach that the book purports to take seems a product of a desire for a happy ending--those for and against animal testing really can get along!
5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Primate People Protection 15 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I was told about this book by a friend who has witnessed the horrors of the bushmeat trade in central Africa,especially the unsustainable slaughter of the great apes and monkeys of the region.Although the situations in Africa are tragic and cruel,they pale in significance with the circumstances that the same creatures find themselves in all around the world and especially in the USA.I am refering to the cruel use of such intelligent creatures as apes and monkeys in experimentation facilities.If you have heard about the cruelty in such facilities and thought you knew enough about it ,this book is a MUST READ.In a non-biased way the author has given the reader an insight into the sadistic and unattached attitude that the handlers at these facilities have towards their prey victims.The realisation that 'human-beings' can knowingly inflict such senseless(in many cases) and unbearable procedures on imprisoned animals is a disgrace to all of the human race and especially the capital of the 'free world',the USA.Thank goodness for the good guys who sacrifice much and sometimes everything in their quest for humane treatment of the apes and monkeys.They lend a sense of sanity and a branch of hope for the future eradication of this disgusting human occupation.The book is really a great catalyst in spurring one on to join the crusade to battle with,overpower,and defeat the individuals and organisations who profit from such ventures and eradicate this evil for once and for all.
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