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NO SWEAT

It's us, just a lot hairier

My Family Album Frans de Waal University of California Press, 2003, $29.95

November 04, 2003|Susan Dworski

Primatologist Frans de Waal takes us to a family reunion, with a photo gallery that captures our closest relatives -- chimpanzees, bonobos, macaques, baboons and dainty New World capuchins -- as they go about their busy, very social, lives. De Waal combines a crisp, insightful text culled from 30 years of fieldwork with 122 arresting photographs that shock us into recognition that these complex, dignified, highly emotional, sexy roustabouts are without doubt our cousins.

The eyes say it all. Sorrow, fear, rebellion, mischief, seduction, confusion and love gleam from under hairy, furrowed brows. Their subtle hand gestures, facial theatrics, ecstatic lovemaking, intelligent strategizing and flat-out funny monkeyshines are sensitively interpreted by De Waal's highly personal captions, which expand our understanding of the extended family and cement our kinship with guys just like us.

Susan Dworski

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