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Publisher's Summary

“A remarkable combination of biology, genetics, zoology, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy.” (Richard Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Overstory)

“A brilliant, thought-provoking book.” (Matt Haig, New York Times best-selling author of The Midnight Library)

A wide-ranging take on why humans have a troubled relationship with being an animal, and why we need a better one

Human are the most inquisitive, emotional, imaginative, aggressive, and baffling animals on the planet. But we are also an animal that does not think it is an animal. How well do we really know ourselves?

How to Be Animal tells a remarkable story of what it means to be human and argues that at the heart of our existence is a profound struggle with being animal. We possess a psychology that seeks separation between humanity and the rest of nature, and we have invented grand ideologies to magnify this. As well as piecing together the mystery of how this mindset evolved, Challenger's book examines the wide-reaching ways in which it affects our lives, from our politics to the way we distance ourselves from other species. We travel from the origin of homo sapiens through the agrarian and industrial revolutions, the age of the internet, and on to the futures of AI and human-machine interface. Challenger examines how technology influences our sense of our own animal nature and our relationship with other species with whom we share this fragile planet.

That we are separated from our own animality is a delusion, according to Challenger. Blending nature writing, history, and moral philosophy, How to Be Animal is both a fascinating reappraisal of what it means to be human, and a robust defense of what it means to be an animal.

©2021 Melanie Challenger (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Featured Article: Dig Into Some Food for Thought with These Climate-Conscious, Cruelty-Free Listens

Whatever your reason for seeking out a shift (or some encouragement and tasty recipes if you've already made the leap), this list includes everything from nonfiction exploring factory farming, animal rights, and our wider global ecosystem, to how-to guides for shifting to a vegetarian or vegan diet, to tales from the animal world that might help you see things from their perspective. After all, there's no better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting to know our neighbors—and creating a home that serves each and every one of us.

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A lucid description of what we are

Eloquent and complete in its poetically scientific explanation of why we are animals in every way except in our resistance to being one.

4 people found this helpful