Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me about Who We Are

Roger Fouts, Author, Stephen Tukel Mills, With, Jane Goodall, Introduction by William Morrow & Company $25 (420p) ISBN 978-0-688-14862-1
With great style and insight, Fouts, co-director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, combines his own story with that of Washoe, the first chimpanzee to be taught American Sign Language. The result is an exhilarating book that blurs the boundaries between human nature and chimp nature. As the individual who has spent more time with Washoe than anyone else, Fouts is perfectly positioned to explore the major philosophical and ethical issues raised by the phenomenon of a chimpanzee who can converse with humans--including the central issue of what it means to be human. Fouts also discusses other educated chimps besides Washoe. There's Viki Hayes, for instance, a chimp raised by a human family in the late 1940s and isolated from all other chimps: ""Viki loved to sort things, and one day she was sorting photographs into two piles: humans and animals. When she came to a picture of herself, Viki put it in the same pile with Dwight Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt. But when she came to a picture of her chimpanzee father, Bokar, she put him in with the cats, dogs, and horses."" Fouts tells us about chimps who seem to demonstrate more humanity than the scientists who study them, and he relates disgraceful tales of systematic abuse of our curious cousins, particularly by biomedical researchers. This wonderful book will enthrall readers while making them think deeply about what, if anything, separates us from other primates. 125,000 first printing; BOMC featured selection; first serial to Reader's Digest; film rights to Fox 2000; author tour; foreign rights sold in nine countries. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Hardcover - 420 pages - 978-0-7881-6927-4
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-380-72822-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-4448-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-57423-9
Prebound-Glued - 448 pages - 978-0-613-18134-1
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