"....Just as there are myriad strategies open to the human political
animal with White House ambitions, so there are a number of nonhuman
animals that behave like textbook politicians. Researchers who study
highly gregarious and relatively brainy species like rhesus monkeys,
baboons, dolphins, sperm whales, elephants and wolves have lately
uncovered evidence that the creatures engage in extraordinarily
sophisticated forms of politicking, often across large and far-flung
Male dolphins, for example, organize
themselves into at least three nested tiers of friends and accomplices,
said Richard C. Connor of the University of Massachusetts
at Dartmouth, rather like the way human societies are constructed of
small kin groups allied into larger tribes allied into still larger
nation-states. The dolphins maintain their alliances through
elaborately synchronized twists, leaps and spins like Blue Angel pilots
blazing their acrobatic fraternity on high.
Among elephants, it
is the females who are the born politicians, cultivating robust and
lifelong social ties with at least 100 other elephants, a task made
easier by their power to communicate infrasonically across miles of
savanna floor. Wolves, it seems, leaven their otherwise strongly
hierarchical society with occasional displays of populist umbrage, and
if a pack leader proves a too-snappish tyrant, subordinate wolves will
collude to overthrow the top cur....."
I just finished "Returning to Earth" by Jim Harrison, a Michigan native.
You do not read this book, you savor this book. I frequently re-read passages to enable myself to dwell in the images and thoughts.
This is a sequel or sorts to "True North." I would recommend both books but I favor "Return to Earth." The characters are real, gritty...human.
I will re-read this book, which says a lot for someone that has no patience for reading the same book or seeing the same movie twice.