Dale Peterson, Author

Dale Peterson is the author or editor of twenty-one books on a wide variety of subjects, including anthropology, art, computers, conservation, evolution, literature, natural history, psychiatry, and animals. Animals and nature are his passion, though, and he has traveled extensively in Africa in pursuit of apes, elephants, and giraffes. He also wrote the "definitive" biography of famed conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall. A former Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, Dale holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and taught English part-time at Tufts University for many years. He is the founder and administrator of the Henry David Thoreau Prize for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing.  MORE »

“Peterson makes an irresistible guide, whether stalking the colobus monkey, explaining the threats to its survival, or evoking the sound of the Amazon jungle.”
“A fascinating and disturbing combination of travelogue and ecological warning.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Shortlisted for the Sir Peter Kent Conservation Book Prize (UK), 1991.
“Mr. Peterson has written an important book that is also a pleasure to read.”
Wall Street Journal
“An account whose literary merit almost rivals its value as a compendium of disturbing information.”
Washington Post Book World
New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 1993.
“A rich and many-pleasured book: it’s a trek through the African bush, an authoritative work of natural history, and an urgent manifesto of environmental action.”
Los Angeles Times
Visions of Caliban is beautifully written, easily read, and ethically challenging—it just might become primatology’s Silent Spring.
Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 1993.
“A well-argued case for greater care and conservation [of chimpanzees].”
The New Yorker
“A book Darwin would have appreciated enormously…. In this book science and grace intersect.”
Washington Post
“Delightful …a book in which humor arm-wrestles with the pathos of paradise lost in modern Africa.”
Philadelphia Enquirer
“Exhilarating … [an] absorbing adventure-nature story.”
Publishers Weekly
Village Voice Best Book of the Year, 1996.
“…a powerful and moving account of the human condition that is as absorbing as it is sobering. It deserves a wide audience.”
Kirkus Reviews
“…a startling, beautifully-written, provocative inquiry.”
Publisher’s Weekly
Long Island Newsday Favorite Book of the Year, 1996.
“ … raises fascinating questions in an accessible style.”
The Times
“This is one of the most important books of the decade.”
Virginian Pilot
Shortlisted for the PEN New England / L. L. Winship Award, 1997.
“A funny, poignant book that will forever change how you read a map.”
Atlanta Journal and Constitution
“Peterson has produced a unique work …[a] witty, totally charming book.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“A droll and quirky account.”
USA Today
“A one-of-a-kind journey with lots of insight and touches of hilarity.”
The Reader’s Edge
The Economist Best Book of the Year, 2003.
“The issues are not only more complex; they are also both fascinating and …deeply disquieting. It is a tribute to this book, and no doubt a long-overdue reward to the man who inspired it, that it explains them so well.”
BBC Wildlife
Discover Top Science Book of the Year, 2003.
“Informative, clear, and precise….”
International Herald Tribune
“A fascinating account…. An absorbing mixture of biography, biology, anthropology, politics, economics and ethics.”
Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year, 2003.
“…burns with fierce outrage back by cold, calm cultural and economic analysis.”
Seattle Weekly
Bloomsbury Review Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year, 2003.
“Riveting …deserves a wide public.”
Washington Post
“Dale Peterson has given us a beautiful book—a flowing, detailed biography of Jane Goodall that clearly explains her insights and why they created a watershed in the scientific understanding of animals….”
American Scientist
New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 2006.
“…. enthralling and inspiring….”
Atlanta Journal Constitution
“…. compelling and detailed….”
Baltimore Sun
“Peterson’s book is a thorough, intelligent, and highly readable look at an unusual life.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Peterson [has developed] an empathy for his subject uncommon in scientific biographies…. This book captures the spirit of a remarkable woman in science.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“…a comprehensive and masterful biography.”
Los Angeles Times
Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, 2006.
“Dale Peterson has produced the long-awaited, definitive biography of (arguably) the world’s leading figure in primatology….”
Denver Post Best Book of the Year, 2006.
“Peterson is an expert guide to the territory.”
Natural History
“[This book] grows, detail by detail, into an absorbing portrait …”
New York Times
“Humanists and animal lovers will appreciate [this] generous tribute.”
“This gorgeous book …will convince you that the elephant is one of nature’s greatest and most original works.”
Scientific American
“A thorough and sophisticated book, yet accessible and enjoyable even for those with little previous exposure to the topic.”
The Moral Lives of Animals is an original, wide-ranging, and ambitious book.”
Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 2011.
“Peterson's book gives us a wealth of new and powerfully original ideas for future research and debate.”
Psychology Today
”A thought-provoking read that glimpses into the minds and behaviors of mammals.”
Scientific American Mind
“Mr. Peterson …develop[s] a provocative case for the existence of a broadly shared evolutionary imperative that underpins human moral instincts….”
Wall Street Journal
“[A] magnificent book…. This is an engrossing natural history about one of nature’s most intriguing animals.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“Peterson's awe and affection for the creatures is contagious.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An impressively informative and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover….”
Midwest Review of Books
“This wide-ranging book is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about these magnificent beings and human-nonhuman relationships in general.”
Psychology Today