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Next Of Kin [Paperback]

Roger Fouts
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1998 Living Planet Book
For 30 years Roger Fouts has pioneered communication with chimpanzees through sign language--beginning with a mischievous baby chimp named Washoe. This remarkable book describes Fout's odyssey from novice researcher to celebrity scientist to impassioned crusader for the rights of animals. Living and conversing with these sensitive creatures has given him a profound appreciation of what they can teach us about ourselves. It has also made Fouts an outspoken opponent of biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees. A voyage of scientific discovery and interspecies communication, this is a stirring tale of friendship, courage, and compassion that will change forever the way we view our biological--and spritual--next of kin.

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From Amazon

For three decades, primatologist Roger Fouts has been involved in language studies of the chimpanzee, the animal most closely related to human beings. Among his subjects was the renowned Washoe, who was "endowed with a powerful need to learn and communicate," and who developed an extraordinary vocabulary in American sign language. Another chimpanzee, Fouts writes, "never made a grammatical error," which turned a whole school of linguistic theory upside down. While reporting these successes, Fouts also notes that chimpanzees are regularly abused in laboratory settings and that in the wild their number has fallen from 5,000,000 to fewer than 175,000 in the last century.

From Library Journal

Having spent most of his career teaching sign language to chimps, Fouts divulges our hairy cousins' opinions on humans.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding July 11 2004
By D. Dash
Format:School & Library Binding
This book weaves together behavioral research, child psychology, linguistics, oncology, evolution, animal rights and a simple story of two friends who each learn incredible things from the other. The story was so intriguing no matter what topic was being covered that I read all 400 pages in 3 1/2 days. At the risk of sounding melodramatic I literally laughed out loud at points, and broke down in tears at others. Next of Kin demonstrates what man can do at his best as well as his worst.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book July 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:School & Library Binding
This was the best book I've read in years. It is extremely moving, and just changed me as a person. It made me realize that animals are just like humans, with the same simple needs, food, water, shelter, and most importantly, love and respect. They shouldn't be treated as animals just because they look different.
I think this is a must read for everyone, regardless of whether or not you like animals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Convinces a skeptical linguist June 28 2004
Format:Paperback
I have just finished reading Roger Fout's Next of Kin book and was very impressed. I am a linguist and am planning to talk about Animal Communication in a Psycholinguistics course I will be teaching this Fall. I had always just accepted the conclusion found in most introductory Linguistics textbooks that what chimps can do is really not very much, doesn't resemble human language, and that people like Dr. Fouts have expanded the notion of what 'language' is to somewhat unacceptable lengths. I accepted that Terrace's work with Nim Chimpsky (which you read about in the book) showed that just those researchers who were highly emotionally involved with their animals were the ones who ridiculously thought that chimpanzees could really produce creative signs. After reading this book I am convinced that chimpanzees are highly intelligent and have been able to learn to use sign language in a way that I would consider langauge. I am also convinced, though not a great animal lover, that treating chimpanzees as research subjects is just inhumane. So I would agree with everyone else that this is an extraordinary book. I highly recommend it, especially to linguists who really have little idea of what Washoe and Loulis are able to communicate in sign language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An perfect story of humor, pain and science June 27 2003
Format:Paperback
As a student of Dr. Foutes at CWU, we were assigned to read this book as part of his class. Before I started reading it, I thought it would be another boring psych book. This book has an incredible story of teahing chimps to communicate and makes you think very deeply about what, if anything makes us so much more special than other animals. It has awesome ideas about the development of human language and thought processes and insights on how bad most research centers treat their animals. There is no way any one can read this book and not be moved by it. It is truly an incredible book.
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Format:Paperback
"Next of Kin" is really several stories interwoven into one book. It is first and foremost the story of a chimp, Washoe, but also of the journey on which she takes Roger Fouts. The story of Washoe and the other chimps in her extended family are the most engaging aspects of the book, but Fouts' career and personal development alongside them is interesting as well.
Intellectually, Fouts is at his strongest when he describes his language development research and the scientific debates that raged around it. The ethical links between ape intelligence and ape rights were also well developed. His stances on animal rights for other species were not as well motivated and in some sense undermine the justifications he put forth for an end to the use of great apes in research.
While at times oversentimental, Fouts does strike a chord emotionally as well as intellectually. Our "next of kin" are lucky to have him on their side.
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Format:Paperback
Roger Fouts has written an extraordinary book that combines insight with scientific fact as he relates his experiences with a special chimpanzee who changed the direction of his life. As a graduate student in experimental psychology at the University of Nevada, Fouts is given an assistantship to "teach a chimpanzee to talk" using modified American Sign Language, and thus begins his introduction to impishly clever Washoe. Washoe is in almost every sense a "person", with specific character traits, likes and dislikes, habits and methods. When she is in danger of being dumped into a medical facility at the end of the study, Fouts fights to protect her against the woefully inadequate laws and accepted scientific procedures. His battle not only for Washoe but for all captive chimpanzees becomes the focus of his career. Because Washoe and her companions have the ability to express themselves, this is at times a heartbreaking tale as Fouts and the reader discover how closely related chimps and humans truly are. Through his passionate storytelling and his breadth of knowledge, Fouts gives readers an intimate glimpse into these fascinating non-human lives.
I cannot express adequately how moving and instructive this account is. It will affect you on a deeply emotional level - I can't imagine how anyone can emerge from this story unchanged. I highly recommend this book for all readers, from teenagers to adults, from casual to serious readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book Jan. 17 2003
By Graymac
Format:Paperback
This is a really wonderful book. The relaxed style draws you in easily, and the mixture of science and compassion make this a unique read. Reading this book taught me a lot about the evolution of intelligence in primates.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Will Change You
No matter your philosophy on the feelings and intellect of animals, this book will change it. I believe that animals have emotions and cognitive skills, but this book really... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2002 by "green189"
5.0 out of 5 stars a fasicnating story to all of us
If you like a modest, exuberant, funny, generous and emotional true story as i do, then i would strongly recommend you to read Next of Kin which is fasicnating by telling the... Read more
Published on Dec 4 2002 by angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
I love this book! Roger Fouts brings the chimpanzee's in his life in to clear focus for us! This is a superb mix of entertainment and education. Dr. Read more
Published on July 17 2002 by Jean Greek
5.0 out of 5 stars Chimp Champs
In doing research for a journalism assignment, I was recommended Fouts' "Next of Kin." I read the book as I prepared for a trip to the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care, a... Read more
Published on June 4 2002 by Zinta Aistars
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK
This book has been such an inspiration to me. I am still in high school but have a growing library full of books by Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas, Dian Fossey, Craig Stanford, Bill... Read more
Published on March 5 2002 by "banana33"
5.0 out of 5 stars As important as it is profound
I have no reservation in saying that this book was not only an engaging read, but also some of the most important lessons mankind should ever learn. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2002
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