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In Reason for Hope, her spiritual autobiography, Jane Goodall writes of how as a girl "the Holocaust dramatically introduced me to the age-old problem of good and evil. This was not an abstract theological problem in 1945; it was a very real question that we had to face as the horror stories mounted."
Years later, she was brought face to face with another dreadful situation: the way chimpanzees are treated by human beings, their closest relatives. Goodall was so shocked by what she learned that she stopped doing field work and now devotes her formidable energy and determination to chimpanzee welfare and conservation.
From the forest world where Goodall had conducted decades of groundbreaking research on chimpanzee behavior, captive chimps enter "a world of steel bars and heavy chains, beatings and painful medical procedures, solitary confinement and taunting, jeering crowds of ignorant people." To educate her fellow humans about these conditions, Goodall knew that a picture would be worth much than a thousand words. She joined forces with nature photographer Mike Nichols, who had worked with George Schaller on Gorilla: Struggle for Survival in the Virungas. Nichols's photos bring the beauty of the chimpanzees' natural environment and their lives in captivity into soul-searing contrast. Together with Goodall's prose, which is forceful without being overblown, they make an unforgettable, motivating document. --Mary Ellen Curtin
From Library Journal
After studying chimpanzees in Tanzania for 30 years, ethologist Goodall has developed a passion for the conservation of chimpanzee habitat as well as for the humane treatment of captive primates. Using photos of chimpanzees in the wild and in captivity in conjunction with commentary summarizing the physical, emotional, and intellectual similarities of humans and their closest genetic relative, Goodall and National Geographic photographer Nichols serve as advocates for a species unable to speak... read more
Brutal Kinship explores the relationship between humankind and its closest relative, the chimpanzee, presenting these extraordinary animals in the wild, in captivity, and in sanctuaries created expressly for their protection. In his revealing photographs and commentary drawn from her firsthand experiences, Michael Nichols and Jane Goodall join forces to present the ways in which chimpanzees are physically, emotionally, and intellectually closer to us than we ever imagined, and how, paradoxically, humans have forced them into a more human yet sadly less humane existence.
"Once we accept or even suspect that humans are not the only animals . . . to know mental as well as physical suffering," writes Goodall, "we become less arrogant, a little less sure that we have the inalienable right to make use of other life forms in any way we please."
In Brutal Kinship, one of the most superb animal photographers working today reveals the fine line between probing inquiry and mistreatment of these creatures-or between love and exploitation of them-in practices like circuses, animal testing, the use of chimps as pets, and even the marriage of a man to a chimp.