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A study of primitive people which, for beauty of. . . style and concept, would be hard to match. " -- The New York Times Book Review In the 1950s Elizabeth Marshall Thomas became one of the first Westerners to live with the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert in Botswana and South-West Africa. Her account of these nomadic hunter-gatherers, whose way of life had remained unchanged for thousands of years, is a ground-breaking work of anthropology, remarkable not only for its scholarship but for its novelistic grasp of character. On the basis of field trips in the 1980s, Thomas has now updated her book to show what happened to the Bushmen as the tide of industrial civilization -- with its flotsam of property rights, wage labor, and alcohol -- swept over them. The result is a powerful, elegiac look at an endangered culture as well as a provocative critique of our own. "The charm of this book is that the author can so truly convey the strangeness of the desert life in which we perceive human traits as familiar as our own. . . . The Harmless People is a model of exposition: the style very simple and precise, perfectly suited to the neat, even fastidious activities of a people who must make their world out of next to nothing. " -- The Atlantic
Long before the Dog Whisperer, anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas revealed to readers the nature of pack dynamics, leading to a completely new understanding of dogs and their desires. In this fascinating account, based on thirty years of living with and observing dogs, we meet Misha, a friend's husky, whom Thomas followed on his daily rounds of more than 130 square miles, and who ultimately provided the simple and surprising answer to the question What do dogs want most? Not food, not sex, but other dogs. We also meet Maria, who adored Misha, bore his puppies, and clearly mourned when he moved away; the brave pug Bingo and his little wife, Violet; the dingo Viva; and the remaining dogs and pups that constitute the pack. "Instead of training and obedience, [Thomas] offers as an alternative a world of 'trust and mutual obligation'" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). When it was first published in hardcover, The Hidden Life of Dogs spent over a year on the New York Times Bestseller list. This Mariner paperback edition will include a new afterword by the author.
The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German shepherd. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the "ideal friend" he had been searching for in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip's often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.Paul and Sandra Fierlinger's animated feature film of My Dog Tulip, starring Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini, was released in 2010.
Reindeer Moon opens up corridors to the imagination that lead us back toward our human past. The heroine departs on spirited journeys that evoke the lives of animals with intimacy.
This quote comes from the book jacket. "In her absorbing bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas provided fascinating answers to the question "What do dogs want?" It turns out that more than anything, they want the company of other dogs. Now, in this frank and moving sequel, she explores how, despite this desire, they have beautifully adapted to life with their human owners. If they can't belong to a group with similar dogs, they will establish or join one with other members of the household, whether those members are men, women, children, other dogs of different ages and breeds, cats, or birds. And, contrary to our assumptions that we wield the power in our relationships with our dogs, it is they who are teaching us new behaviors--even settling disputes in ways we are unaware of. No one writing today about dogs and people has Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's skills as a classically trained anthropologist and popularizer. What she has observed and analyzed will be illuminating to all of us who have wondered about our pets' behavior. Do dogs have different barks that mean different things? How does Snoopy recognize as family people he sees only once a year? And why does Misty bark at strangers she sees every day? What factors contribute to making a dog difficult to house-train? Why do certain dogs and cats get along so well? How do animals train each other? Thomas explores these questions by taking us into the mixed-species groups of her own household, particularly the lives of her remarkable dogs, with their differences in breeding, early training, and personality. Misty, a purebred, had been kept in a crate, alone, for most of her first year; lonely and insecure, she was afraid of grass and stairs, which she had never seen. Ruby was abandoned, having been pronounced untrainable. Pearl had lived with Thomas's son in his large household, and on her arrival at Thomas's house, she behaved like the well-mannered, self-possessed being she was. And Sundog, the most loyal, self-confident, courageous of all, accepted the arrival of each of these new dogs, but had made a group consisting of himself and Thomas's husband, so the others sorted themselves out without him. Each of these dogs, like any other, wanted more than anything to belong to a group, and how they organized themselves into felicitous relationships without any input from their owners is the most compelling of Elizabeth Thomas's many findings. Few dogs get to live with their chosen loved ones; they are slaves to our desires. We convince ourselves, however wrongly, that we know what's best for them. The Social Lives of Dogs presents marvelous evidence of the power of the group. And those of us fortunate enough to be given the trust of any honorable dog will have our lives enlarged."
Talks about the cultures of lions, tigers and housecats, among other big and small cats.
The Dodoth "a tall, handsome people of the northern tip of Uganda "are a tribe in transition. They are proud, often cruel, warrior herdsmen whose oldest members live just as they did hundreds of years ago, but whose younger members sometimes learn to read and write and have brushed against the modern world. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas accompanied three anthropological expeditions to Africa and lived among the Dodoth. She displays a remarkable ability to communicate with the tribespeople and describe their lives and customs.
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