Johnson: Newt Gingrich, now a Republican candidate for President, passed your book Chimpanzee Politics to one of his aides. He apparently saw it as a treatise on human nature.
De Waal: Yes, of course Chimpanzee Politics is not about Social Darwinism or about evolutionary processes. It is really about political processes and I can see how Gingrich got carried away by that. Here in Georgia we have two politicians who are very prominent. One is Newt Gingrich and the other is Jimmy Carter. I visited Carter once and it turned out that he had read my book Peacemaking Among Primates. I always felt afterwards that they should have swapped books. Newt Gingrich should have read Peacemaking Among Primates and Jimmy Carter should have read Chimpanzee Politics. They both would have gotten more out of it.
However, the ape Gingrich should take in an interest in is not the chimp but the gorilla. A dominant silverback male maintains and protects a harem of three to six females. A male chimp's situation is multi-partner, which is much too liberal for Gingrich. Gorillas are the Republicans of the jungle.