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When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals Paperback – 11 Jan 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (11 Jan. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099478919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099478911
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Powerful stuff... Accessible and entertaining" (Guardian)

"A masterpiece... The most comprehensive and compelling argument for animal sensibility that I've yet seen" (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas)

"A powerful case for re-examining our entire relationship with the animal world" (Brian Jackman The Times)

"Among animal experts, When Elephants Weep is being hailed as a milestone in the battle to make man understand he is only one member of an enormous family" (George Gordon Daily Mail)

Book Description

From dancing squirrels to bashful gorillas and spiteful killer whales, When Elephants Weep fascinates, provokes and will change the way you think about animals

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ila France Porcher, author of My Sunset Rendezvous on 17 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This book discusses an exemplary collection of examples of emotional reactions across a wide range of species. It provides compelling arguments supporting the notion that evolutionary continuity requires that animals experience emotions.

It is at the top of the line of books in this class, which strive to illustrate the sentience of other life forms and declare that it must be acknowledged.

In many ways "When Elephants Weep," successfully makes the point that homo sapiens wrongs other life forms, in failing to treat them with the consideration due to those capable of suffering.

In addition, it is a fascinating and revealing read, a must buy for people who love their pets and consider it self evident that other species may also experience their own version of subjective states, and be emotionally responsive to humans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this book fascinating, although at least in my own case there was a certain amount of 'preaching to the choir'. As Masson argues, any pet owner would argue that of course animals have feelings, of course their dog is excited about a walk, of course their cat is pleased to see them, or gets jealous or angry or sulks. Scientists, however, would argue that we are guilty of anthropomorphism, a cardinal sin of animal behaviourists, the sin of projecting onto animals the emotions that we ourselves would feel in their place.

This book is not a scientific exploration of emotions in animals; Masson doesn't go into hormones or biochemical reactions in the brain or any other biological scientific explanation for what emotions are and whether they happen. It is more of a philosophical argument based on behaviour. He provides numerous anecdotes to support his arguments, which range from the ability of animals to love, to hope, to grieve, to be cruel, to feel shame, to appreciate beauty and express creative endeavours.

As I said, I was convinced before I read this. I have pets, and to me the idea that they 'feel' is a no-brainer. Perhaps their emotions are not akin to mine, perhaps what I mean by fear or hope or love is not the same thing they experience - but I would never deny that they are 'feeling' creatures, that their moods can be affected by things other than evolutionary and instinctive reactions. And after all, who is to say that what I interpret as fear or love and hope is the same as my next-door neighbour or my family or the man in the street? Just because we all experience emotions differently doesn't mean we don't feel just as deeply.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Blake on 5 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How wonderful to be carefully and convincingly led into the world of animal experiences, and to have their special sensory systems, types of intelligence, and evidence of loving and compassionate behaviour explained so well. Reading it is a very powerful experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MeganRhian on 15 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautiful story, very touching and at the same time interesting. A must read for any animal lover. I am studying animal behavior and psychology and found this book to be both intriguing and inspiring. Very nice condition.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jack Hobartson on 24 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book, well written and entertaining yes, but also with much evidence to support the writer's theories.

Whilst it might be argued that some of the evidence is anecdotal, that is probably best explained by the fact the author is so knowledgable and experienced in the subject, that he is able to accurately interpret selected animal behaviour without requiring hundreds of pointless scientific experiments.

The stories in this book will bring tears (mostly of joy) to the eyes of animal lovers everywhere. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By animal lover on 10 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will enjoy this book over and over, the lasting impressions of how to deal with our own lives through theirs is a wonderful eye opener.
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