Come read “In the Shadow of Man” with me

jane-van-lawick-goodall-in-the-shadow-of-man-book-coverJane Goodall’sIn the Shadow of Man” was first published in 1971, and apparently revolutionized the entire field of primatology and our understanding of our nearest evolutionary cousins. From Amazon:

Her adventure began when the famous anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey suggested that a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild might shed light on the behavior of our closest living relatives. … For months the project seemed hopeless; out in the forest from dawn until dark, she had but fleeting glimpses of frightened animals. But gradually she won their trust and was able to record previously unknown behavior, such as the use—and even the making— of tools, until then believed to be an exclusive skill of man. As she came to know the chimps as individuals, she began to understand their complicated social hierarchy and observed many extraordinary behaviors, which have forever changed our understanding of the profound connection between humans and chimpanzees.

It has good reviews, so I’m optimistic about using it for our next Anthropology Friday series, in about a month. (Though I am somewhat skeptical about this supposed first observed non-human tool-making, given that beavers and otters have long been observed.)

Does anyone want to read along with me? I can post discussion questions and make it a regular “book club” affair. (I guess “What counts as ‘tool making?’ should be our first question.) ETA: I promise to avoid really dumb questions, like “Explain how Jane got to know the chimpanzees,” or “Why does the author include an introduction?”

Oh, and it’s fine to post thoughts/responses even if you disliked the book or didn’t read it all the way through. Or if you really hate the book, suggest a different one for next time.

8 thoughts on “Come read “In the Shadow of Man” with me

  1. If there were a kindle edition, I’d be in, but right now, it’s hard for me to do reading off my phone. Little ones and all. Then again, it might be a faster read than the history of the Chinese language, so maybe I could get a copy from the library to have for bedtime reading… (my bedtime, that is…)


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