Jane Goodall by Dale Peterson
The Woman Who Redefined Man

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When Louis Leakey first heard about Jane Goodall’s discovery that chimps fashion and use tools, he sent her a telegram: “Now we must redefine tool, redefine man, or accept chimpanzees as human.”

But when Goodall first presented her discoveries at a scientific conference, she was ridiculed by the powerful chairman, who warned one of his distinguished colleagues not to be misled by her “glamour.” She was too young, too blond, too pretty to be a serious scientist, and worse yet, she still had virtually no formal scientific training. She had been a secretarial school graduate whom Leakey had sent out to study chimps only when he couldn’t find anyone better qualified to take the job. And he couldn’t tell her what to do once she was in the field— nobody could—because no one before had made such an intensive and long-term study of wild apes.

Dale Peterson shows clearly and convincingly how truly remarkable Goodall’s accomplishments were and how unlikely it is that anyone else could have duplicated them. Peterson details not only how Jane Goodall revolutionized the study of primates, our closest relatives, but how she helped set radically new standards and a new intellectual style in the study of animal behavior. And he reveals the very private quest that led to another sharp turn in her life, from scientist to activist.

About Dale Peterson

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Dale Peterson is the coauthor with Jane Goodall of Visions of Caliban (a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Book) and the editor of her two books of letters, Africa in My Blood and Beyond Innocence. His other books include The Deluge and the Ark, Chimpanzee Travels, Storyville USA, Eating Apes, and (with Richard Wrangham) Demonic Males. They have been distinguished as an Economist Best Book, a Discover Top Science Book, a Bloomsbury Review Editor's Favorite, a Village Voice Best Book, and a finalist for the PEN New England Award and the Sir Peter Kent Conservation Book Prize in England. He resides in Massachusetts.
Published November 15, 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 752 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Peterson (English/Tufts), eloquent chronicler of nonhuman primates (The Deluge and the Ark, 1989), combines forces with chimp expert Goodall (Through a Window, 1990, etc.) to produce a Baedeker-cum-Declaration of Independence for the chimpanzee.

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Publishers Weekly

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Peterson provides colorful descriptions of day-to-day life at Gombe and Goodall's interaction with the chimps, and ably portrays her relationship with Leakey, the National Geographic Society (which sponsored much of her work), her two marriages, her reaction to her celebrity and her ventures as a...

Sep 11 2006 | Read Full Review of Jane Goodall: The Woman Who R...

USA Today

Upon closing Dale Peterson's exhaustive and admiring biography Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man, the reader is left with two very different ideas.

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San Francisco Chronicle

British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall talks to students at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Dec. 4, 2006.

Dec 08 2006 | Read Full Review of Jane Goodall: The Woman Who R...


In this 740-page epic, Dale Peterson, editor of Goodall's books of letters, intimately documents the life and loves of the charismatic iconoclast who revolutionized primatology, changed the way we define humanity and inspired a generation of girls who dreamed of Africa and scientific adventure.

Dec 04 2006 | Read Full Review of Jane Goodall: The Woman Who R...

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