Beginning with the very origins of life on Earth, Woolfson considers pre-historic human-animal interaction and traces the millennia-long evolution of conceptions of the soul and conscience in relation to the animal kingdom, and the consequences of our belief in human superiority. She explores our representation of animals in art, our consumption of them for food, our experiments on them for science, and our willingness to slaughter them for sport and fashion, as well as examining concepts of love and ownership.
Drawing on philosophy and theology, art and history, as well as her own experience of living with animals and coming to know, love and respect them as individuals, Woolfson examines some of the most complex ethical issues surrounding our treatment of animals and argues passionately and persuasively for a more humble, more humane, relationship with the creatures who share our world.
Esther Woolfson grew up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. She has been the recipient of a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer's Bursary. Her first book was Corvus: A Life with Birds, and her second, Field Notes from a Hidden City, was shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing. She lives in Aberdeen.
"Elegiac, haunting and piercingly intelligent [...] A profoundly moving and important book"
– Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
"A powerful, poignant, and urgently important reflection on our relations with the non-human world. Immaculately researched and compulsively readable"
– Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast
"Timely and wide-ranging, Esther Woolfson's book offers sensitive reflections on how we relate to the animals around us as well as the animal within"
– Frans de Waal