EVE AND THE APES by Emily Hahn


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Why have to many women been drawn to adopt or study apes? Though Hahn raises this question as a sort of keynote for her string of chatty profiles, she never attempts a probing answer. Rather, she contents herself with dishing up bits of biography, retelling anecdotes from the adoptive mamas' own books and letters, and reporting on her genial visits with those still on the scene. Though she wisely leaves the ""big three"" field observers (Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas) well enough alone, Hahn's gallery does include the famous Francine ""Penny"" Patterson (gorilla Koko's dedicated teacher), as well as earlier and less-known ladies who kept pampered primates in their private gardens. (As Hahn notes, the line between primatologist and primate fancier has been a blurry one.) All are taken more or less on their own terms, whether they be conveyed in the parting tears of a collector whose once-cute infant has grown too big to manage or in the teatime gab of a contemporary couple who run a preserve for retired zoo and circus apes. None of this is likely to engage even the armchair primatologist who has read the popular reports by Patterson, Goodall and others--but don't dismiss those old-style primate fanciers who have taken to Hahn's earlier zoo-lab-and-roadshow excursions.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1988
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson