Scientists have long cautioned against attributing familiar emotions to animals, arguing that it limits our ability to truly comprehend the lives of other creatures. Recently, however, things have begun to shift in the other direction, and anthropologist Barbara J. King is at the forefront of that movement, arguing strenuously that we can-and should-attend to animal emotions. With How Animals Grieve, she draws our attention to the specific case of grief, and relates story after story - from field sites, farms, homes, and more - of animals mourning lost companions, mates, or friends. The resulting book is both daring and down to earth, strikingly ambitious yet careful to ackwledge the limits of our understanding. Through the moving stories she chronicles and analyzes so beautifully, King brings us closer to the animals with whom we share a planet, and helps us see our own experiences, attachments, and emotions as part of a larger web of life, death, love, and loss.
Barbara J. King is professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary. She is the author or editor of many books, including Being with Animals. She blogs regularly for National Public Radio and reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.