Synopses & Reviews
“Being With Animals
is a remarkable work, and the deconstruction of “man the hunter” is worth the price of the book alone! ....The author has amassed and digested an enormous range of literature, and has a special take on just about everything involving animals and spirituality. It was fascinating reading.”
—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Author of When Elephants Weep and The Face on Your Plate
“A fascinating history of the relationship between humans and animals. Explores the importance of animals both in the religion and the daily lives of people around the world.”
—Temple Grandin, Author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human
"Full of profound insights, King's book sparked my curiosity and left me pondering its philosophical questions and remarkable stories long after I finished it. I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone."
--Stacey O'Brien, Author of Wesley the Owl
A well researched, thought provoking book which underscores the vital importance -- to human well-being -- of expanding our positive connections to the natural world.
-- Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder"
"In BEING WITH ANIMALS, Barbara King masterfully guides us through the complicated love affair humankind has had with animals since our species began. A fascinating read." —Diane Hammond, Author of Hannah's Dream
"Being With Animals discusses the significance of human-animal bonds that cross spans of time, cultures, gender, and ages and is a must read as we head into the century of the animal. Read it carefully, share it widely, and celebrate that fact that we ourselves are animals." --Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, Author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Wild Justice
“Ever striving to remain the object and skeptical scientist, King nonetheless finds herself arriving again and again at the inevitable question -- is there a transcendental or spiritual connection between humans and animals that ennobles both? Although she astutely avoids a direct answer to this question, she manages to raise it in a compelling manner that will inevitably leave the reader personally pondering over the answer, which is precisely what all great books should do.” --Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Author of Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind
Anthropologist Kind delves into the importance of the human-animal bond as a key to our evolution. "Being with Animals" also looks to the future at how further technological development may--or may not--affect these important ties.
What do Mickey Mouse, Ganesh, a leopard-skin pillbox hat, A Lion Called Christian
, and the Aflac duck have in common? They all represent human beings' deeply ingrained connection to the animal kingdom. In Being With Animals,
anthropologist Barbara King unravels the complexity and enormous significance of this relationship.
Animals rule our existence. You can see this in the billions of dollars Americans pour out each year for their pets, in the success of books and films such as Marley and Me, in the names of athletic teams, in the stories that have entertained and instructed children (from The Cat in the Hat back to well before Aesop created his fables), in the animal deities that pervade the most ancient forms of religion (and which still appear in sublimated forms today), to the paintings on the cave walls of Lascaux. The omnipresence of animal beings in our lives--whether real or fictional--is something so enormous that people take often it for granted, never wondering why animals remain so much a part of human life. It has continuously maintained a powerful spiritual, transcendent quality over the tens of thousands of years that Homo sapiens have walked the earth. Why?
King looks at this phenomenon, from the most obvious animal connections in daily life and culture and over the whole of human history, to show the various roles animals have played in all civilizations. She ultimately digs deeply into the importance of the human-animal bond as key to our evolution, as a significant spiritual aspect of understanding what truly makes us human, and looks ahead to explore how our further technological development may, or may not, affect these important ties.
BARBARA J. KING is Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. She has studied monkeys in Kenya and great apes in various captive settings. She writes essays on anthropology-related themes for bookslut.com and the Times Literary Supplement (London). Together with her husband, she cares for and arranges to spay and neuter homeless cats in Virginia.