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Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity
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Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Drawing on accounts from India to Africa and California to Tennessee, and on research in neuroscience, psychology, and animal behavior, G. A. Bradshaw explores the minds, emotions, and lives of elephants. Wars, starvation, mass culls, poaching, and habitat loss have reduced elephant numbers from more than ten million to a few hundred thousand, leaving orphans bereft of the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 21, 2014 Bobby rated it really liked it
A review of this book, by me at least, would have to be very short or very long! There is so much going on here, much of which is beyond my learning. In a nutshell, Bradshaw discusses elephant behavior, including some recent aberrant behavior, and studies it in the context of what kind of beings elephants are and what human kind is putting them through, whether it involve circuses, zoos, culling or whatever. Elephants, left to their own ways, inhabit a very intricate, social society. Human ...more
Ryan Holiday
Jun 22, 2012 Ryan Holiday rated it it was amazing
If you look at some of the commonly known trivia about animals - that elephants grieve and occasionally bury their dead, that chimps can speak sign language, that some species of monkeys display exhibit traits like fairness or cognitive dissonance - it's shocking to see how much it conflicts with currently used preservation tactics. For instance, take the culling of a herd of elephants through relocation or hunting. We all sit and watch National Geographic specials that marvel at their social ...more
Sep 10, 2013 Papalodge rated it liked it
The psychology of elephants and other animals (including humans)presented in a non stop flow. Moe information presented than you usually get offered in college courses. Take an aspirin and enjoy the read. Wrap your mind around this - 'neurobiologically, the bull's hyperaggression is consistent with an intense state of amygdala-hypothalamic sympathetic hyperarousaland weakened higher right orbitofrontl inhibitory system associated with imapired developmental trauma.'...and that's jsut the guys.
Ali Baylor
Fantastic and extremely disturbing look at the psychological crisis that elephants face, based on the story of some elephants in Africa that are raping and killing rhinos. The emotional needs of elephant culture are explained in detail, and this book has convinced me that elephants should no longer be allowed to be in zoos, circuses, or other forms of human entertainment or even educational venues. other than sanctuaries for those recovering from lives in zoos or circuses. Elephants are as smart ...more
Gabrielle Macklin
Feb 12, 2013 Gabrielle Macklin rated it it was amazing
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Jul 19, 2013 Peach rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, and by "enjoyed" I mean, it really bummed me out with the onslaught of depressing information. It was painfully informative and used human psychology as a fairly effective foil for elephant psychology, but skated along anthropomorphic comparison due to the enormous emotional intricacies of elephant (versus human) culture, which I understand can be difficult to avoid when covering such a deeply intimate and complex social order, and it was easily forgiven. Somewhere toward ...more
José Toledo
Oct 19, 2013 José Toledo rated it it was amazing
One cannot read this book and remain unchanged. The author makes her point with force about something that should be common sense: destroying the family and emotional life of these highly intelligent animals leads to heartbreak and enduring trauma for the survivors, and destroys a little more our already battered sense of humanity. People and elephants, especially in Africa, have been interdependent since ancient times. The author demonstrates, with great intellectual clarity, how the arrival of ...more
Nov 29, 2015 daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
A very moving book, arguing for a trans-species ethic/morality. I'm not sure how convincing I ultimately find her conclusions (i.e., that animals in captivity are morally comparable to Holocaust victims), but it's sure to be thought-provoking and illuminating to how PTSD affects humans and other animals.

Also, through this book I found out about a wonderful elephant sanctuary in Tennessee: They do good work for elephants who have been too damaged by zoos or circuses to be "u
Howard Berger
Oct 05, 2010 Howard Berger rated it liked it
Interesting, eye opening book. Her most compelling arguments described how elephant behavior is remarkably similar to ours. They react to trauma and stress in many similar, disturbing ways. It does make me rethink supporting zoos that keep elephants.
She sometimes delves too deeply in psychology speak and looses her lay audience in jargon that she does not always define well. I found it got a bit repetitive toward the end and would have preferred anecdotes to more psychological jargon. It was gen
Mar 03, 2010 Jasmin rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This is a very insightful book about elephants as sentient beings with their own cultures, and the hardships they face via human beings. Full of examples and numerous stories illustrating the plight of elephant culture, this book is well written and powerful. My only criticism is that there is a lot of information to get through with heavy repetition which, though effective at getting the point across, can make getting through the book taxing at times. I feel like this book discusses issues that ...more
May 01, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok
This was an interesting, albeit very disturbing book. I could only get halfway through before the stories of abuse and destruction really started to wear on me. Still Elephants on the Edge does what it's intended to do. It raises consciousness of the plight of elephants by humanizing them. If you liked the case studies in your intro to abnormal human development, then you might like this one. I'm off to read something happy.
Kim Stallwood
Aug 08, 2013 Kim Stallwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important and impactful books I have ever read about animals. Essentially, it's an exploration of trans-species trauma, with the focus on elephants and their circumstances in the wild and in captivity. I shall want to read this again as it is forming an essential part of my research into a book I'm writing. Highly recommended!
Aug 01, 2012 Marian rated it really liked it
The fact that elephants can act like humans is shocking. Elephants grieve and bury their dead!
They also speak kind of sign language and they sometimes young males kill with no reason.
It creates a new line in thinking about animals, specially elephants.
Gabby rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2014
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Deena Metzger
Deena Metzger rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2013
Susan Waller
Susan Waller rated it liked it
Jul 10, 2013
Nov 10, 2009 Susie marked it as to-read
I ran out of time on this one before I had to return it ot the library, so I'll pick it up again.
Nikki rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2011
Samuel Snoek-Brown
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Karen rated it it was ok
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