When Elephants Weep

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

What is this book?

A book about the love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness of animals. This book questions the typical opinion of scientists: animals can not feel emotions. Deals with evolution, altruism, and the general behavior of animals.

Why was this book written?

The book's stated purpose is simple: to show that animals have feelings. Though most sensitive people have no trouble with this idea, scientists, Mr. Masson says, do: "they freely discuss animal aggression but not animal anger, dominance hierarchies but not snobbery, bonds but not love, altruism but not compassion, mating displays but not esthetic sensibility."


From dancing squirrels to bashful gorillas to spiteful killer whales, Masson brings forth fascinating anecdotes and illuminating insights that offer powerful proof of the existence of animal emotion. Chapters on love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness are framed by a provocative re-evaluation of how we treat animals, from hunting and eating them to scientific experimentation. When Elephants Weep assures that we will never think about animals the same.

My opinions

The concept of this book is pretty simple. It's just basically saying that animals have emotions, in many different aspects. How they face embarrassment, love, joy, etc. And that's all in the form of many different anecdotes. I loved reading about animals doing these human like things but it was getting a little repetitive in some areas. I get it-animals experience emotions. Nonetheless, this was still interesting to read. Not really informational, but good for animal lovers and I guess it's also pretty good evidence for the fact that animals are pretty cool.