Wonderful Readings in Biology
By Dale Peterson
Bloomsbury Press, $18.00, 342 pages
“…rules and attachments combine and intertwine to create a highly dynamic system that is expressed as potentially flexible thing we call morality.”
As a reviewer, I am truly troubled with The Moral Lives of Animals. Turning the pages more or less randomly and reading into the text for an hour or two, I am very tempted to read it from cover to cover. Alas, the review deadline is short, the book is extensive and the time is limited. Dale Peterson has written a superb, easy-to-read scientific text on many aspects of the lives of animals, focusing on their moral lives. The book is a far cry from the customary dry scientific books of college texts. This is full of stories (in fact, every heading starts with one), all fascinating, interesting and thought-provoking, and many are from the author’s first-hand experience, often through field work. It reads almost like a good fiction yet it is biology writing at its best. Peterson divides his book into four main chapters and he further breaks up each chapter into fourteen headings, such as Definitions, Violence, Sex and Possession. He discusses each of these heading in fine details, illustrating them with stories and examples. He refers to references at the end of the book with many subscripts, ending the book with a good index. A great read.
Reviewed by George Erdosh