Animal Madness

How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves

About The Book

**“Science Friday” Summer Reading Pick**
**Discover magazine Top 5 Summer Reads**
**People magazine Best Summer Reads**

“A lovely, big-hearted book…brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well” (The New York Times).

Have you ever wondered if your dog might be a bit depressed? How about heartbroken or homesick? Animal Madness takes these questions seriously, exploring the topic of mental health and recovery in the animal kingdom and turning up lessons that Publishers Weekly calls “Illuminating…Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case of life….[Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.”

Susan Orlean calls Animal Madness “a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives.” It is “a gem…that can teach us much about the wildness of our own minds” (Psychology Today).

About The Author

Photograph by Bret Hartman

MIT PhD in the history and anthropology of science Laurel Braitman’s work has appeared in The Wall Street JournalThe GuardianWired, and a variety of other publications. She is a Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University School of Medicine, a Senior TED fellow, and a Contributing Writer for Pop-Up Magazine. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California and can be reached at LaurelBraitman.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 10, 2014)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451627022

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Raves and Reviews

**PRI "Science Friday" Summer Reading Pick**
**People Magazine Summer Reading Roundup Pick**
**Discover Magazine Top Read for June**
**Grand Prize Winner at the 2014 Animals, Animals, Animals Book Festival*

“[A] lovely, big-hearted book. . . . brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.”
--Emily Anthes, The New York Times

“This is a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives. Braitman’s research is fascinating, and she writes with the ease and engagement of a natural storyteller.”
--Susan Orlean, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief

"In the tradition of Marc Bekoff and Virginia Morell, Laurel Braitman deftly and elegantly makes the case that animals have complex emotional lives. This passionate, provocative, and insightful book deeply expands our knowledge and empathy for all species—especially, perhaps, our own."
--B. Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. and K. Bowers, coauthors of Zoobiquity: Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Health

“Humane, insightful, and beautifully written, Animal Madness gives anthropomorphism a good name. Laurel Braitman’s modern and nuanced definition of the word helps animals, helps people, and bolsters the connection between the two. Her thought-provoking book illuminates just how much we share with the creatures around us.”
 --Vicki Constantine Croke, author of The Lady and the Panda and Elephant Company

“This book should be required reading for veterinary and animal science students and for all who have any professional dealings with animals, wild and domesticated.”
--Dr. Michael Fox, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Fascinating."
--New York Post

“Loving animals is easy. Thinking clearly about them can be almost impossible. Only a writer as earnestly curious as Laurel Braitman—so irrepressibly game to understand the animal mind—could draw this elegantly on both the findings of academic scientists and the observations of a used elephant salesman in Thailand; on the sorrows of a famous, captive grizzly bear in nineteenth-century San Francisco and the anxieties of her own dog. Animal Madness is a big-hearted and wildly intelligent book. Braitman rigorously demystifies so much about the other animals of our world while simultaneously generating even greater feelings of wonder.”
--Jon Mooallem, author of Wild Ones

"Animal Madness is the sanest book I've read in a long time. Laurel Braitman irrefutably shows that animals think and feel, and experience the same emotions that we do. To deny this is crazy—which is why this fine book should be required reading for anyone who cares about healing the broken inner lives of both people and animals."
--Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig

"In the hands of an observant and engaging writer like Braitman, this story is an outstanding example of a rigorous investigation presented in a most accessible way. Readers will also be rewarded by the deep compassion and gratitude she shows for all her subjects, both the animals and the humans who care for them."
--The Bark

"There is much here that will remind readers of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson—a gift for storytelling, strong observational talents, an easy familiarity with the background material and a warm level of empathy...Engaging...Sparks curiosity."
--Kirkus

“Illuminating. . . . Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case to life. . . . [Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.”
--Publishers Weekly

Animal Madness takes us on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey among emotionally unhappy animals. There are lows and highs here—the fears and worries of disturbed animals, and the joy and hope of humans trying to help them. In this compelling and provocative book, Braitman shows us sides of the animal mind few have imagined, and in doing so, opens our eyes anew.”
--Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

Animal Madness is a landmark book. Researchers have long ignored animals in need, especially in the wild. However, just as we suffer from a wide variety of psychological disorders so too do other animals. But they make a remarkable recovery when they are cared for, understood, and loved.”
--Marc Bekoff, author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed and editor of Ignoring Nature No More

“A riveting, thoughtful exploration of the ‘emotional thunderstorms’ and physiological imbalances other species can experience as intensely as humans do….Compelling.”
--Discover

"Braitman assembles the shattered pieces of others’ minds into a thoroughly considered and surprising realization that many familiar animals possess the same mental demons that haunt us. This insight challenges us to accept that our ancient kinship with other animals is as apparent in our psyche as it is in our physique."
--John Marzluff, Author of Gifts of the Crow

"Rare indeed is it to come upon a work of non-fiction as compelling as Laurel Braitman’s. . . . Animal Madness is compulsively readable and thoroughly engaging: [Braitman] has the rare gift of being able to combine ideas, research and personal experience into a compelling narrative."
--Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies

"Charming as the sketches of individual animals can be, the book is at its best in plumbing the history of how we humans have understood the emotional and mental lives of other animals. From Darwin, who wrote eloquently about his dog’s facial expressions, to mid-20th-century behaviorists who disdained anthropomorphism, scholars have argued about the capacities of animal minds, a process Braitman compares to 'holding up a mirror to the history of human mental illness.' . . . It’s clear that what soothes troubled animals—patience, sympathy, consistency—helps humans, too.”
--Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

"With equal parts rigor and compassion, [Braitman] examines evidence from veterinary science, psychology and pharmacology research, first-hand accounts by neuroscientists, zoologists, animal trainers, and other experts, the work of legendary scientists and philosophers like Charles Darwin and Rene Descartes, and her own experience with dozens of animals spanning a multitude of species and mental health issues. . . . . Her approach isn’t one of self-interest but one of genuine compassion for the inner worlds and anguish of our fellow beings. . . . Animal Madness is a moving, pause-giving, and ultimately optimistic read."
--Maria Popova, BrainPickings.org

"Braitman uses her own experiences at animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, water parks, and animal research centers throughout the world as rich resources in her study of psychologically impaired animals. Her own research, much of which is presented here, is thorough and academically rigorous. . . . Braitman understands and hopes to assuage the emotions of guilt, helplessness, and sadness among pet lovers who have discovered that love is simply not enough in dealing with a disturbed animal."
--Mary Whipple, Seeing the World Through Books

“The book has lived up to my high expectations and is one of those rarities - a scientifically rigorous read that manages to glow with genuine compassion, has a generous hint of humour throughout and encourages a re-read as soon as the last word is reached.”
--Saving Suzie-Belle The Foodie Schauzer (blog)

Animal Madness serves up an edgy blend of tension and passion that deftly balances frustration and fascination of a wide array of subjects from the jungle to the living room. While taking the reader on an emotional bumpy ride, it educates and entertains around every sharp corner.”
--Ranny Greene, Seattle Kennel Club

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