The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals
By Charles Siebert
Scribner • 208 pages

You may not know this, but all those chimps you’ve seen over the years in movies, on TV, and at the circus, well, their years in front of the camera or in the center ring generally only last about half a decade. After a brief career as "actors" in their infant years, they simply grow too big and powerful — the average chimp is five times stronger than the buffest bodybuilder. So what happens?

Well, these days they get sent off to "retirement villages" like the Center for Great Apes in Florida. It’s at this facility that journalist Charles Siebert becomes fascinated with a chimp named Roger — and Roger with him.

What follows is a nearly poetic meditation on the somewhat sad lives of these chimps once their careers are over, and the commonalities shared by ape and human. Packed with interesting factoids and enlightening anecdotes, this is a thought-provoking — and effortless — read. —Chris Haire