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The Emperor's Embrace: Reflections on Animal Families & Fatherhood
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The Emperor's Embrace: Reflections on Animal Families & Fatherhood

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  14 reviews
With remarkable insight, impeccable research, and captivating writing, controversial psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, a new father himself, introduces us to the world's best dads. He takes us to such places as Antarctica, as he explores how Emperor penguin fathers incubate the eggs of their young by carrying them around on their feet for two months, nestled beneath a special ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Pocket Books
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fatherhood means different things to different species. I found this book fascinating, especially when the author compared the role fathers play in wild versus domesticated species.
Arlene Richards
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Jeffrey Masson provides insite into the parenting styles of many animals, fish etc. Many of his observations are quite facinating and thoughtful though I didn't always agree with his conclusions.. He then uses the understanding he has gleaned from nonhuman animals as a role model for the human animals.
Andrew Ziegler
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
animal behavior has been fascinating to me recently, so i was very interested in the premise of this book. i was very disappointed. the book was very poorly organized. unorganized writing usually doesn't bother me too much, but this was such a random collection of stories about animals that i had a hard time understanding what he was getting at. i like what he has to say about the role of human fathers, but nothing he said about non-human fathers did anything to support his ideas about human fat ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because it showed just how little we know about animal behavior, and how much we could learn from it -- especially in the area of parenthood. Using information from recent research findings and interviews from experts, the reader is given several examples of behavior we had always thought to be exclusively human: monogamy in 90% of bird species (but only 30% of mammals), animals (like the emperor penguin) that make excellent fathers (and animals that don't), many examples of ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I tend to have trouble with non-fiction books, no matter what the topic. Even those books which pertain to ethology (which VERY much interestes me) I can lose interest.
With Mr. Moussaieff Masson's books I haven't had this issue. A big part of this is likely due to the fact we're on the same wavelength when it comes to animals and how they think/act/feel.

I also admire his courage and willingness to question what is considered the norm in the field of animal biology. Even these days people are afr
Xavier Ambroggio
May 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
There were very interesting vignettes on fatherhood in animals. The book as a whole wandered off topic frequently and lacked a coherent organization. It may have been better as a series of focused essays. I don't enjoy books which mix popularizing science with rampant speculation and commentary on science and scientists, of which there was much in this book. To be fair, the word "reflections" is in the title.
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Stephens
Feb 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Cute book with some interesting facts about animals. However, the author is a bit too opinionated.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Great facts about fathers in various animal species, the only thing I didn't like was the author's interjection of so many opinions.
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute book. some science facts but most of it was a mans ideas about the world and how it will help make you a better father.
Steve Canson
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
A wonderful, touching look at the animal world and a real show of the arrogance and ignorance of humanity to think we are the only ones to think and feel.
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fathers
Shelves: favorites, mra
I liked it. When I read I was looking for some validation from biololgy that fatherhood mattered. And this was before Happy Feet so I had not heard of Emperor Penguins mating rituals. RECOMMEND
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He has written several books books critical of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychiatry as well as books on animals, their emotions and their rights.

He currently lives in New Zealand with his wife, two sons, three cats and three rats.