Bonobo Handshake is equal parts behavioral science, history, personal memoir, and coming-of-age tale. I usually consider it a mistake when an author tries to cram too much into a book, trying to be all things to all readers, as the end result is often a work that does a poor job covering all aspects of the chosen material. Vanessa Woods, however, manages to pull off this balancing act in a remarkably satisfying manner. One topic flows into the next naturally, almost conversationally, providing connection and continuity between diverse subjects. This allows her to cover a lot of ground without any one subject bogging down the narrative or becoming too dry. It does prevent her from going into a great deal of depth, particularly when covering African history, but she provides enough of an overview so that the reader understands the context in which her memoir takes place.
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A short history of The Congo River and the two countries that border it, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and The Republic of the Congo, in the sidebar and additional information to Blood River.
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