What kind of creature is a human? If we don't know what we are, how can we know how to act? In Being a Human 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 in a wood in Derbyshire with his son, shivering, starving and hunting, trying to find a way of experiencing the world that recognises the deep expanse of time when we understood ourselves as hunter-gatherers, indivisible from the non-human world, and when modern consciousness was first ignited. From there he travels to the Neolithic, when we tamed animals, plants and ourselves, to a way of being defined by walls, fences, farms, sky gods and slaughterhouses, and finally to the rarefied world of 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 and the Wainwright Prize, won the 30 million d'amis Prize in France, and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film. It has been translated into twelve languages. The author and editor of many books and hundreds of articles, Charles Foster won the IgNobel Prize for Biology in 2016, for work 'that make you laugh and then makes you think'. An academic, a vet and a barrister, he is married with six children and lives in Oxford.
– A New Statesman Essential Non-Fiction Book of 2021