Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Desert rat Edward Abbey once said, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." Well, progress for the sake of progress seems also to be a very human ideology. We separate ourselves from the other animals, but we are merely a different species of animal, albeit the most destructive species. We like to think of ourselves as exalted and intelligent persons, who have dominion over all the other animals, but the truth is that we are deluding ourselves. Thanks to evolution though, we may be stuck with our delusions, because reality is a lot less comfortable. A very thought provoking book, that may change the way you think about yourself.

— From Mark B.


The British bestseller Straw Dogs is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the New Statesman, called Straw Dogs his book of the year: "I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good." "Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book" (Sunday Telegraph).

About the Author

John Gray is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including The Silence of Animals, The Immortalization Commission, Black Mass, and Straw Dogs. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he has been a professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. He now writes full-time.

Praise For…

“Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book.” —George Walden, The Sunday Telegraph

“There is unlikely to be a more provocative or more compelling book published this year than Straw Dogs . . . Gray is one of the most consistently interesting and unpredictable thinkers in Britain.” —Jason Cowley, The Observer (London)

“One of the most important books published this year, and will probably prove to be one of the most important this century. An attempt to suggest new ways of thinking and feeling . . . nobody can hope to understand the times in which we live unless they have read Straw Dogs.” —Sue Corrigan, Mail on Sunday

“At once daunting and enthralling, Gray's remarkable new book shows us what it would be like to live without the distraction of consolations.” —Adam Phillips

“This powerful and brilliant book is an essential guide to the new Millennium. Straw Dogs challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be human, and convincingly shows that most of them are delusions.” —J.G. Ballard

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374270933
ISBN-10: 0374270937
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October 16th, 2007
Pages: 272
Language: English