The New York Times calls Animal Madness a “lovely, big-hearted book…brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.” Read more.

The book is one of Discover Magazines top five summer reads, a summer science reading pick by Science Friday, a best book of June at Amazon, one of People Magazine’s best summer reads, one of the Dodo‘s must read books of the summer, and Maria Popova of Brainpickings says it’s “a moving, pause-giving, and ultimately optimistic read in its entirety,” written with “equal parts rigor and compassion.”

“A gem..that can teach much us much about the wildness of our own minds,” according to Psychology Today.

Publisher’s Weekly says it’s “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.”

I’ve also chatted about the book, Mr. G (the goat) and Jellybean (the donkey), on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. And I talked to NPR’s Weekend Edition SundayKQED, WBUR and KCRW.

The book has been excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Medium. Brian the (formerly) mentally ill bonobo was written up in The Atlantic, and I hear that the rabbit fanciers are into it. Which is pretty much the best news ever.

***

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, author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief

***

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

  ***

Starting her fascinating account of animal neuroses with her own dog, who snapped at nonexistent flies and jumped out of a fourth-floor window, Braitman began to read scientific papers and historical literature, eventually traveling to many countries in search of troubled animals and to observe what people did to help them. She found parrots that plucked out their feathers and primates who pulled out their hair, elephants that were so aggressive that their mahouts feared for their lives, tigers with facial tics, and a neurotic donkey who loves massages. The wonderful thing she discovered is that it is possible for these animals to heal, a message crystallized by her encounters with “friendly” gray whales who sought out human contact, even though they still bore harpoon scars from the whaling days. 

Nancy Bent, Booklist

***

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 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

***


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 compulsively readable and thoroughly engaging: Laurel has the rare gift of being able to combine ideas, research and personal experience into a compelling narrative. Yet behind the engaging tone and the lightness of touch there is a deep seriousness, as indeed there should be. For the ideas that animate Animal Madness are of the greatest urgency and importance, especially in this era of climate change: to acknowledge that all living things exist within a continuum of consciousness is a vital first step towards the dissolution of that human-centred world view that has, ironically, led humanity as well as millions of other species to the brink of disaster. Read more.

Amitav Ghosh, author of River of SmokeThe Glass Palace, and The Hungry Tide

***

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,  Co-authors: Zoobiquity: Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Health

***

Braitman’s gradual accretion of reasons to believe in animal emotional states that we can relate to, including the loopy ones, gives pause and sparks curiosity. More.

Kirkus Reviews

***

Laurel Braitman’s Animal madness: How anxious dogs, compulsive parrots, and elephants in recovery help us understand ourselves is a gem. It’s about as novel a book as I can find on the general topic of animals “losing their minds” and in many ways shows is the wildness of our own minds. Braitman traveled the world in search of emotionally disturbed animals and the people who care for them, and discovered numerous stories of recovery.  Following up on Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolutionary continuity, we clearly see that  “Nonhuman animals can lose their minds. And when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness.”

Psychology Today

***

Yes, it’s got aggressive dogs and self-harming cats, but this is not a primer on how to deal with your pet’s behavioral issues. Animal Madness is much more: It’s a riveting, thoughtful exploration of the “emotional thunderstorms” and physiological imbalances other species can experience as intensely as humans do. Braitman has an eclectic background, including a doctorate in the history and anthropology of science from MIT, and a style that’s both conversational and rich with detail. She acknowledges the idea of mental illness in animals requires a degree of anthropomorphizing. But from her own adopted Bernese mountain dog, which had a devastating case of separation anxiety, to captive whales that commit suicide, Braitman creates a compelling case for recognizing parallels in human and animal mental health. You’ll never look at your dog gnawing on the sofa arm quite the same again.

Discover Magazine

***

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, Elephant Company

 ***

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

***

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

 

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