Giraffe Reflections

Co-edited with Marc Bekoff

University of California Press, 2013

Giraffe Reflections, a new book about giraffes, with photography by Karl Ammann, illuminates the world of one of Africa's most beloved and best-known animals. Are we losing giraffes? How is the explosion in human numbers affecting giraffes? What can anyone do to change the situation? Why should we care? Phylogenetic narcissism limits us into thinking of animals according to what they can do for us, and giraffes happen to belong among those animals who are not particularly useful. Elephants are valued for their ivory. Chimpanzees and other primates are important because they mirror the human primate; their genetic closeness to us makes them useful as laboratory animals in biomedical studies or as subjects for anthropological research. Domestic animals bring meat, companionship, and labor. Giraffes, I believe, give us mainly a fleeting sense of their strange and shy beauty. That should be enough.

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Reviews And Comments

"In this stunning collection of Ammann's photographs, Peterson… offers an engaging natural history of giraffes, as well as a look at their behavior and beauty."—Publishers Weekly

"Giraffe Reflections is a stunning compendium of animal photography and entertaining history… The real point of the book is Ammann's gorgeous photos of giraffes, both atmospheric shots and more prosaic ones of the animals going about their business. With Peterson's entertaining text as a filigree, the combination is an emotionally satisfying presentation."—New Scientist

"Giraffe Reflections is a rare beed in that it excels as a photography book and a work of natural history. Karl Ammann's photographs are riveting but so is Peterson's text."—Boston Globe

"With that tall neck, striking pelage, gentle face, and graceful gait, surely no land animal is more wondrous and unlikely than the giraffe. In these exquisite pages Dale Peterson and Karl Ammann have captured this remarkable creature as none before. Thanks to these lyrical words and soulful photos of giraffes, you'll never forget how blessed we are to have these prehistoric-looking animals on our planet—nor forgive the loss we'd endure should we allow giraffes to vanish."—Sy Montgomery, author of Walking with the Great Apes and Spell of the Tiger

"Karl Ammann's photographs of giraffes in this book are stunning! They vary from mood sequences that fill the reader with awe to shots of male giraffes fighting in a style that has never before been documented."—Anne Innis Dagg, co-author of Giraffe: Biology, Behaviour and Conservation

"A masterpiece about one of the world's most fascinating but least understood animals, this giraffe book is utterly compelling—a page-turner with glorious giraffe photographs. A reader cannot ask for more."—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of A Million Years with You and The Hidden Life of Dogs

"Giraffes are alluring animals about whom we previously knew surprisingly little. Filled with scientific facts and wonderful stories, this book Giraffe Reflections reveals many valuable lessons about who these skyscraping beings are. I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book to anyone interested in the wondrous animals with whom we share our precious planet."—Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and editor of Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation

"Peterson, a nature writer, has teamed with Ammann, a wildlife photographer, to present the natural and cultural history of giraffes in this elegant and comprehensive volume. In a series of lushly visual essays, the authors delve into the evolution of giraffes' strange anatomy and the intricacies of their behavior, as well as their possible futures alongside humans. Marvelously—and despite the book's encyclopedic presentation—giraffes become even more mysterious by the tome's end than they were at its beginning."—Scientific American

"[A] magnificent book… This is engrossing natural history about one of nature's most intriguing animals. Highly recommended for all who enjoy learning about wildlife."—Library Journal (starred review)

"This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful books of the year."—Alan Petrucelli, Examiner.com