A New York Times Bestseller and winner of the PEN / E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions.
Frans de Waal has spent four decades at the forefront of animal research. Following up on the best-selling Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, which investigated animal intelligence, Mama’s Last Hug delivers a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals.
Mama’s Last Hug begins with the death of Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. When Mama was dying, van Hooff took the unusual step of visiting her in her night cage for a last hug. Their goodbyes were filmed and went viral. Millions of people were deeply moved by the way Mama embraced the professor, welcoming him with a big smile while reassuring him by patting his neck, in a gesture often considered typically human but that is in fact common to all primates. This story and others like it form the core of de Waal’s argument, showing that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy.
De Waal discusses facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, animal sentience, and, of course, Mama’s life and death. The message is one of continuity between us and other species, such as the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don’t have a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Mama’s Last Hug opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected, transforming how we view the living world around us.
About the Author
Frans de Waal, author of Mama's Last Hug and Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, is a professor of psychology at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Through colorful stories and riveting prose, de Waal firmly puts to rest the stubborn notion that humans alone in the animal kingdom experience a broad array of emotions....De Waal contributes immensely to an ethical sea change for animals. — Barbara J. King
De Waal’s eye-opening observations argue for better treatment and greater appreciation of animals, even as he ensures that you’ll never look at them—or yourself—the same way again.
Game-changing....For too long, emotion has been cognitive researchers’ third rail....But nothing could be more essential to understanding how people and animals behave. By examining emotions in both, this book puts these most vivid of mental experiences in evolutionary context, revealing how their richness, power and utility stretch across species and back into deep time....The book succeeds most brilliantly in the stories de Waal relates. — Sy Montgomery
An original thinker, [de Waal] seems to invite us to his front-row seats, sharing the popcorn as he gets us up to speed on the plot of how life works, through deeply affecting stories of primates and other animals, all dramas with great lessons for our own species. — Vicki Constantine Croke
De Waal’s conversational writing is at times moving, often funny and almost always eye-opening....It’s hard to walk away from Mama’s Last Hug without a deeper understanding of our fellow animals and our own emotions.
— Erin Wayman
A captivating and big-hearted book, full of compassion and brimming with insights about the lives of animals, including human ones. — Yuval Noah Harari, New York Times best-selling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Before I realized Frans de Waal’s connection to Mama’s actual last hug, I sent the online video link to a large group of scientists saying, ‘I believe it is possible to view this interaction and be changed forever.’ Likewise, I believe that anyone reading this book will be changed forever. De Waal has spent so many decades watching intently and thinking deeply that he sees a planet that is deeper and more beautiful than almost anyone realizes. In these pages, you can acquire and share his beautiful, shockingly insightful view of life on Earth. — Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
I doubt that I've ever read a book as good as Mama's Last Hug, because it presents in irrefutable scientific detail the very important fact that animals do have these emotions as well as the other mental features we once attributed only to people. Not only is the book exceedingly important, it's also fun to read, a real page-turner. I can't say enough good things about it except it's utterly splendid.
— Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Frans de Waal is one of the most influential primatologists to ever walk the earth, changing the way we think of human nature by exploring its continuity with other species. He does this again in the wonderful Mama’s Last Hug, an examination of the continuum between emotion in humans and other animals. This subject is rife with groundless speculation, ideology, and badly misplaced folk intuition, and de Waal ably navigates it with deep insight, showing the ways in which our emotional lives are shared with other primates. This is an important book, wise and accessible.
— Robert Sapolsky, author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
In Mama’s Last Hug, Frans de Waal marshals his wealth of knowledge and experience, toggling expertly between rigorous science and captivating anecdote to explain animal behavior—humans included. While doing so, he rebukes the common conceit that we are necessarily better, or smarter, than our closest relatives.
— Jonathan Balcombe, author of What a Fish Knows
Coverage from NPR
STOREFRONT CLOSED FOR REGULAR BUSINESS
Nevertheless, UPB provides ship-to-home service.
Unless and until we move our on-line fulfillment team to different premises, everything you purchase from us ships from warehouses outside of Berkeley.
Much of what we used to carry on store shelves is available, except for very expensive books, used books, and titles fallen between printings.
A number of limitations apply during this period of reduced operations:
Only orders that subtotal under $75.00 will ship.
Thus, we may remove items from a multi-book order and ask you to resubmit them on a separate order.
Sometimes we may have to split an order because books are stocked at different warehouses. Sorry, it's impossible to tell in advance when this may happen.
Credit card orders only
Many high demand titles ship fairly quickly. Most other titles travel from back east, adding 2 to 3 days to delivery
Althoug we love you in Canada, Latin America, and else where, U.S. orders only.
Certain publishers set low margins on certain titles. Sorry, we've had to raise prices on these, some we don't offer at all.
You can also purchase eBooks and audio books through us. Distributed by Hummingbird, they include publications from the major trade publishers. Just access the menu link or the sidebar image above.
We greatly appreciate your support of the store with your book orders. Need a book without our current shopping restrictions? We recommend Bookshop. View our affiliate page, then search for whatever book you'd like.