Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral” as Want to Read:
Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  13 reviews
When acclaimed author Deni Béchard first learned of the last living bonobos—matriarchal great apes that are, alongside the chimpanzee, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom—he was completely astonished. How could the world possibly accept the extinction of this majestic species?

Béchard discovered one relatively small NGO, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), whi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Milkweed Editions
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Empty Hands, Open Arms, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Empty Hands, Open Arms

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Connor Rystedt
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For those who are genuinely interested in reading this book, bare with my lengthy review for the good details. I enjoy elaborating on my reading experience, almost as a keepsake. My own story involving this book—at least in my own eyes—is rather interesting. Anyway, I'm mostly under the impression that no one will ever read my reviews. This is a relatively unknown book though, and on the off chance this review makes an appearance on the book's Good Reads page, I want any single potential reader ...more
Linsey Hurley
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't read any more doom and gloom books. I believe that as a civilization we are heading in a good direction, and this is a book of that in fact. This is a story about passionate people doing good work in the Congo, helping save the peaceful bonobo apes, while saving the people - and our planet along the way!
It's a win-win book that brings the truth about life down to simplicity. As we save the gentle creatures, we are saving ourselves. This is a group that is doing just that - against all o
Flo Whitten
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
I thought this book was amazing. If I did not "win" this novel from the giveaways I may have never opened it up. This has been one of the best books I have read. It was an eye opening view of the congo and what really happens. It was well put togehter and very moving. I went from just knowing that the Congo was a land that has a ton of issues, even thought it was not always like that. After readying the novel I want to get more involved in protecting them.
Melissa T
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book on the giveaway first reads. This book is very compelling and inspirational. It chronicles Mr. Bechards work with the endangered bonobo.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating journey to the Congo, a bonobo reserve and community-based conservation initiatives.
Steph C
I was looking forward to this book, but being an animal lover rather than a geopolitical nerd, I felt it was bogged down by the historical and political descriptions of issues within the DRC. While these political issues do inform the success of animal conservation, the lengthy passages were difficult for me to follow and made the book unenjoyable.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it traces the author's journey with founders of the Bonobo Conservation Institute (BCI) as they introduce him to the ever-decreasing population of bonobos endemic to the rainforests. This book is less about the interactions with bonobos, and more about the network and community of people ravaged by harsh years of colonialism, exploitation, corruption and extreme poverty. People who have over the years been betrayed by foreigners and hence are skepti ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, science
This books is a lot of things. It's a thrilling travel memoir of a man's trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's an informative piece of nature writing about bonobos and the African jungle. It's an enlightening historical record about the region's wars and conflicts. It's an indictment of NGOs and scientists who care more about prestige and money than they do about conservation. It's a love letter to the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI). It's an exploration of the different cultur ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! Well-written and engaging, Bechard does a fantastic job of setting the scene - describing the bonobos' evolution, the geography of the area, and the geo-political wrangling that has led to the current situation.

His descriptions of the conservationists, the region, and the people of the region are fascinating. He explains how the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) has been able to achieve significant conservation with minimal resources. He points out how their work honors
Joyce Yanney
Author writes about bonobos,(great apes) our closest relative, and its disappearance along with the rainforest that they live in. Tells us the struggle to prevent the extinction is not easy. Author tells us of the Congo and what is happening. Tells us of conservation efforts that are being made. This is the best book I have read on the great apes and the shrinking of the rainforest so far. I highly recommend this book. Great writer.
David Hurley
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Bechard is an excellent writer and weaves together well-researched narrative with emotionally engaging stories very well. Surprisingly, this is a hard book to put down. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in how conservation can succeed in the 21st century.
Karel Baloun
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How overpopulation, poverty and institutional corruption make conservation in the Congo so hard. It all comes down to tremendous individual effort, persuading naturally self and family concerned people, often having seen only one way, stuck in their own perspective
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking read! I learned a lot about the DRC and a bit about Africa.
rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2016
Jessica Briggs
rated it liked it
Jun 24, 2013
rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2013
Leza Lowitz
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2013
rated it liked it
Apr 12, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 10, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2014
Victor Alba de la Vega
rated it really liked it
May 30, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2014
Michael Hillman
rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2014
Veronica Monet
rated it it was amazing
May 07, 2014
rated it liked it
Aug 29, 2017
rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2013
Nelly Poehlman
rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2016
Sienna Hurley
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2016
Elizabeth Mckenzie
rated it it was amazing
Sep 11, 2015
Kathleen Buckley
rated it really liked it
Aug 05, 2014
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tales of an African Vet
  • Elephant Dance
  • Learning to Play With a Lion's Testicles: Unexpected Gifts From the Animals of Africa
  • The Elephant's Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa
  • Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans
  • The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery
  • Golden Bats & Pink Pigeons
  • The Library: A World History
  • Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik: One Woman's Solo Misadventures Across Africa
  • Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home
  • What Are the Chances: A Novel
  • Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity
  • How to Keep Dinosaurs
  • Growing The Money Tree
  • The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups
  • The Promise of Iceland
  • Death on Lindisfarne (The Aidan Mysteries, #2)
  • Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do to Get It Back