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The compelling biography of Julius – Norway's beloved celebrity chimpanzee who is caught between the human and primate worlds.
Julius is a national celebrity, the inspiration behind pop hits and bestselling books.
He's also a chimpanzee, born in captivity but raised in a zookeeper's home after his own mother rejects him. Julius's new parents change his diapers and comfort him when he has nightmares, and their daughters play with him. But soon they must reintroduce Julius to the zoo, a challenging task that brings new learnings on primate behavior and the dangers of animal celebrity.
Alternately humorous and heartbreaking, Almost Human shows that primates are more like us than we once thought possible. It also charts the transformation of one zoo over time: from a small operation of animals behind bars to a fast-growing attraction coming to terms with twenty-first-century views on animal rights and welfare.
Alfred Fidjestøl has published several critically acclaimed biographies and history books about humans and cultural institutions. In 2014, Fidjestøl became the first nonfiction author ever to receive Gyldendal’s Hunger Award. He was awarded the Språkprisen Prize in 2017.
Julius lives as a content alpha chimpanzee and father of two within a community of nine chimpanzees. He will celebrate his fortieth birthday in 2019.
"Alternately joyous and heartbreaking, Almost Human is more than just a biography of a confused chimpanzee. It is also a fascinating, well-researched book that provides excellent information about wild and zoo chimpanzees, the history of trafficking live chimpanzee infants out of Africa, and the dramatic change in the way animals have been perceived and treated in zoos over the past century."
– Jane Goodall
"The life of Julius the chimpanzee has been as rich, dramatic, and important as any human's. Thank you, Alfred Fidjestøl, for writing this detailed and riveting biography that is worthy of its subject. Everyone who cares about animals should read it."
– Sy Montgomery, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus
"A sort of true-life fairytale in which Beauty and the Beast are the same single character. Almost Human is a moving and memorable account of the up and down life of Norway's Julius, one of the world's most famous chimpanzees."
– Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves