T-Book review from: http://www.tbook.com/science/z/Zoology/The_Secret_Language_of_Life_How_Animals_and_Plants_Feel_and_Communicate_0880642548.htm

American edition

Secret Language

The Secret Language of Life : How Animals and Plants Feel and Communicate

by Brian J. Ford

320 pages

October 2000

Hardcover, Fromm International

Price was $30.00 on 1-1-2001.

From Booknews:
It is only our own solipsism that prevents humans from crediting animals with intelligence and feelings, or so argues biologist Ford (U. of Wales). With countless examples and in non-technical language, this books moves through both family and phylum, debunking common perceptions of animals as insentient beasts, arguing that animals not only feel pain, but also in fact dream, think and communicate, often in complex ways. Ford examines organisms from mammals to plants and even microscopic life, providing examples of intelligent behavior, such as dolphins rescuing humans and ravens playing on snowy slopes to the remarkable movements of the venus-fly trap. He concludes that all life is intelligent, and that our new goal must be to understand it. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.

From Publisher's Weekly:
This study of the abilities of all sorts of creatures to sense and interact with the world will leave many readers impressed and at least buffeted, if not convinced, by the author's passionate approach. Cambridge University scientist Ford (Images of Science; Microbe Power) has in effect written two books at once. The first surveys many species' social, cognitive and sensory powers. The second is a call for eco-awareness and for animal--and plant and microbe--rights: "All animals and plants sense their surroundings, and thus they all have feelings." A chapter on mammals' mental processes explains how mole rats search and socialize underground, how primates learn to use medicinal plants and how prairie dog colonies learn from experience. Turning to avians, Ford covers birdsong, echolocation and gulls' mating postures. Later chapters deal with reactive abilities among flora and protozoa. A fertilized ovum, like any single-celled organism, Ford suggests, has "its own sense"; as to whether the cell is self-aware, "we know too little... to decide." Ford's practical suggestions for reducing cruelty (e.g., vets should use soft tables) are useful. Most lay readers will admire his fascinating survey of creaturely powers and may be sympathetic to his call to "value the global network of all plants and animals, and react to their presence with respect." But though it trails a dazzling set of facts, Ford's call for "a new vitalism" seems less scientific (or philosophical) than quasi-religious--and it's unevenly argued, though deeply felt. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

From Internet Book Watch:
How do animals and plants feel and communicate their feelings? This presents a growing body of research which demonstrates that animals - and plants - have emotions and responses just as valid as human feelings. From birds and how they see to homing frogs and their shared communities, this packs in a range of insights on wildlife communications processes.

From Library Journal:
This book could have been an inspiring survey of behavior and sensation in all living things (including plants and microorganisms). Unfortunately, Ford, a prolific science writer (The Future of Food; Genes: The Fight for Life), assumes that all of us think of nonhuman organisms as mindless robots, incapable of cognition, emotion, or sensation. The author's assertions to the contrary are so repetitive as to irritate a reader who already accepts as fact that animals can think and feel. Anyone who actually does equate other life forms with machines will not be convinced otherwise by affirmations that fish resent captivity, that plants have a sense of vision, and that protozoa have a sense of enjoyment. A marginal purchase for public and academic libraries, particularly if the collection already contains Marc Hauser's Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think (LJ 2/1/00), along with David Dusenberry's Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes (Freeman, 1996) and/or Paul Simons's The Action Plant: Movement and Nervous Behaviour in Plants (Blackwell, 1992. o.p.).--Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.


The Secret Language of Life : How Animals and Plants Feel and Communicate Price was $30.00 on 1-1-2001.

Go to the book's American web site, see review from Times Literary Supplement or the Titan site.