A radical work of nature writing and philosophical enquiry, resituating us in our real human skins
'A wonderful, wild, dazzling book. You will feel more human for having read it' Tom Whyman, Literary Review
'Foster's daringly imaginative exploration of alternative models of selfhood is an original and beneficial way of grappling with history ... precisely what we need to remind us that there are many alternatives to the "I, me, mine" mindset' Anna Katharina Schaffner, TLS
What kind of creature is a human? If we don't know what we are, how can we know how to act? Charles Foster sets out to understand what a human is, inhabiting the sensory worlds of humans at three pivotal moments in our history.
Foster begins his quest with his son in a Derbyshire wood, trying to find a way of experiencing the world that recognises the deep expanse of time when we understood ourselves as hunter-gatherers, and when modern consciousness was first ignited. From there he travels to the Neolithic, a way of being defined by fences, farms, sky gods and slaughterhouses, and finally to the Enlightenment, when we decided that the universe was a machine and we were soulless cogs within it.
Charles Foster is the author of the New York Times bestseller Being a Beast, which was longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and the Wainwright Prize, won the 30 Millions d'Amis prize in France, and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film. A fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, in 2016 he won the Ig Nobel Prize for Biology.