In a world where we usually measure animals by human standards, prize-winning author and MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina takes us inside their lives and minds, witnessing their profound capacity for perception, thought and emotion, showing why the word “it” is often inappropriate as we discover “who” they really are.
Weaving decades of observations of actual families of free-living creatures with new discoveries about brain functioning, Carl Safina’s narrative breaches many commonly held boundaries between humans and other animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel the wilds of Africa to visit some of the last great elephant gatherings, then follow wolves of Yellowstone National Park sort out the aftermath of their personal tragedy, then plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in waters of the Pacific Northwest. We spend quality time, too, with dogs and falcons and ravens; and consider how the human mind originated.
In his wise and passionate book, Safina delivers a graceful examination of how animals truly think and feel, which calls to question what really does—and what should—make us human.
In 2019, Beyond Words was adapted into a hardcover and e-book for young readers. Titled Beyond Words: What elephants and whales think and feel, Kirkus Reviews calls it “a winning mixture of reverence, wonder, and even playfulness. A must for middle-grade animal lovers.”