This book has also been published under the title “The Emperor's Embrace”
Masson offers a remarkable look at one of the most fulfilling roles in the animal world: fatherhood. With fascinating insight, impeccable research, and captivating writing, controversial psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, a new father himself, introduces us to the world's best dads.
He takes us to such places as Antarctica, as he explores how emperor penguin fathers incubate the eggs of their young by carrying them around on their feet for two months, nestled beneath a special brood pouch. And he tells us how, once the babies hatch, the fathers snuggle the babies on their feet until the mother returns from her time at sea, feeding them a special milk-like substance until her arrival. Masson, a superb storyteller, showcases the extraordinary behavior of outstanding fathers, heroes among animals, including the wolf - and why wolves make good fathers. Also, the beaver, who encourages his young to cling to his tail as he navigates through ponds. There is the sea horse, the only male animal that gives birth to its young and the marmoset, the South American monkey who carries his babies for the first two years of their lives wherever he goes.
Masson also examines nature's worst fathers: lions, jaguars, bears -- and humans. He shows that when a father does care for his young, as with the beaver, we immediately look for a biological and not an emotional explanation. But Masson demonstrates that for these animals, as with humans, fatherhood is a profound, all-encompassing experience.
Groundbreaking, compelling, inspirational, Masson's unique look at one of nature's most venerable institutions takes us to animal habitats around the world, yet always returns to the heart. For animal lovers, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters everywhere, this is a book that will forever change our perceptions of parenthood and family love.
“A dazzling smorgasbord of stories about fatherhood in the animal kingdom. Masson's genius is his ability to ferret out the common denominators... A very timely contribution..”
– The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Jeff Masson brings the behavior of his animal subjects vividly and enchantingly to life - Truly fascinating.”
– Dr. Jane Goodall