Bonobo Handshake

Bonobo Handshake

A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

Book - 2010
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A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love and belonging.

In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country reeling from a brutal decade-long war that had claimed the lives of millions. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA. She soon discovered that many of the inhabitants of the sanctuary-ape and human alike-are refugees from unspeakable violence, yet bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings while probing life's greatest question: What ultimately makes us human? Courageous and extraordinary, this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa is about looking past the differences between animals and ourselves, and finding in them the same extraordinary courage and will to survive. For Vanessa, it is about finding her own path as a writer and scientist, falling in love, and finding a home.

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Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, c2010
ISBN: 9781592405466
Characteristics: 278 p. : col. ill


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Aug 18, 2014

This is one of those books that everyone one should read.
You learn so much about the Bonobos, the Congo and about people themselves.
I am in awe of the survivors in this book, having gone through so much and still being able to get through, especially the young rescued Bonobos!
Lola ya Bonobo does such great work, and it is the only Bonobo sanctuary in the world. It rescues, rehabilitates and re-releases Bonobos into the wild.

How is it that the most peaceful of apes, lives in one of the most dangerous countries? Warlords and mineral exploitation (some of these minerals are used in cell phones and computers) all within the Congo.

ChristchurchLib Mar 19, 2013

"In 2005, Australian science writer Vanessa Woods and her fiancé, scientist Brian Hare, decided to devote themselves to researching bonobos, which resemble chimpanzees and share 98.7 percent of human DNA. Woods and Hare moved to the only bonobo sanctuary in the world - in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo - and there they learned a great deal about bonobo behavior while strengthening their own relationship, too." March 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter

Neptune1020 Jun 20, 2012

An interesting introduction to the world of a lesser-known ape, the bonobo. The parallels between the trauma bonobos have endured at the hands of humans and the trauma humans have endured at the hands of one another (ie the Rwandan genocide). I would have preferred to learn more about bonobos themselves, but for what it was, the book was interesting.

May 11, 2012

Touching story about the bonobos in Congo.

mariekirby Oct 03, 2011

Fantastic. Good writing and very interesting topic. learned a lot about bonobos and the Congo.

m2 Aug 08, 2011

Terrific book about the amazing cousin to Chimpanzees... some of whom you can see at the Milwaukee Public Zoo. Join the group of people who care about this most rare Last Ape.

Jun 01, 2011

Though her style seemed a bit jerky at first, she is well worth staying with. The book is a passionate look at our nearest kin, who have so much to teach us about sharing, tolerance,and acceptance. Delves into interesting background info on Congo's political history that highlights the bonobos precarious position. Well woven together, you get to know them all. By the end she had me crying.

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Neptune1020 Jun 19, 2012

Neptune1020 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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