Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

The premise is as misleading as it is wacky; but beneath the surface, this series of philosophical essays represents nature writing of the highest order: probing, intellectual, alert, funny, and astonishing. His tone is blithe, his style loose and poetic. He doesn't write sentences so much as created little idea nests. 


It's  not for everyone - just someone a little eccentric, and full of wonder.

— From Zak


Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, eating earthworms and learning to sense the landscape by smell rather than sight. He tried to catch fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter, rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox, was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.

A lyrical, joyful, and completely radical look at the life of animals--human and other--Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species.

About the Author

CHARLES FOSTER is a Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. He is a qualified veterinarian, teaches medical law and ethics, and is a practicing barrister. Much of his life has been spent on expeditions: he has run a 150-mile race in the Sahara, skied to the North Pole, and suffered injuries in many desolate and beautiful landscapes. He has written on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology, and philosophy. His books include Tracking the Ark of the Covenant and The Sacred Journey.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250132215
ISBN-10: 1250132215
Publisher: Picador USA
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English