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The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness [Kindle Edition]

Mark Rowlands
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

This fascinating book charts the relationship between Mark Rowlands, a rootless philosopher, and Brenin, his extraordinarily well-travelled wolf. More than just an exotic pet, Brenin exerted an immense influence on Rowlands as both a person, and, strangely enough, as a philosopher, leading him to re-evaluate his attitude to love, happiness, nature and death. By turns funny (what do you do when your wolf eats your air-conditioning unit?) and poignant, this life-affirming book will make you reappraise what it means to be human.

Product Description


'This year's most original and instructive work of popular philosophy ... a remarkable portrait of the bond that can exist between a human being and a beast ... [Rowlands is ] a rare contemporary philosopher who is able to learn from everything he experiences in life, not just books and academic journals. That is what makes The Philosopher and the Wolf so refreshing' Financial Times 'An extraordinary memoir' Daily Mail 'A powerfully subversive critique of the unexamined assumption that shape the way most philosophers - along with most people - think about animals and themselves' Literary Review 'Rowland's memoir is life-affirming, engrossing, thoughtful and moving ... The Philosopher and the Wolf could become a philosophical cult classic' TLS 'Nothing short of human existence, survival and our relationship to all other creatures is examined here and it's all written in a beautifully elegiac way. The heart-strings will be pulled and the mind stimulated' --City AM


'An extraordinary memoir'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1605980331
  • Publisher: Granta Books (1 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0040JHZDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,849 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book 4 Oct. 2009
By RedLabs
I bought this book as a dog lover, being fascinated by the relationship between man and animals, and found this a truly delightful, inspiring, moving and most of all thoughtful read. I couldn't put this book down and suprisingly found it a more enjoyable read than most of the other, lighter, books I have bought this year. Buy it and prepare to reflect more deeply on the important questions in life, and what makes us who we are.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 6 Jan. 2009
I put this book on my Christmas list having read a couple of extracts in newspaper supplements; I'm very glad that I did.

The strange thing is that, because it felt like I'd read so much of the book in the published extracts, I felt I knew exactly what I was getting: a moving account of a man's experience living with a wolf. I nearly typed "owning" but, if you read the book, you will appreciate how inappropriate that term would be.

However, I was a long way off the mark in my expectations. Yes, the moving and funny accounts of life with an essentially wild animal were still there, there's definitely a wolf, but there's also the philosopher.

The author turns his expert mind on the experience of sharing 11 years of his life with Brenin to a wonderfully though-provoking extent. I found myself wanting to read the book to experience the journey of life with the wolf, but also wanting to check my progress to contemplate the issues on life and people raised.

It turns out living with a wolf shines a significant light on how we are as people. That Rowland's ultimate analysis of homo sapiens is somewhat unflattering (that our intelligence is driven by our need to understand our peers so that we can deceive them more and use them for our own purposes) doesn't make it wrong.

The book is both enlightening and uplifting and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-read 19 Aug. 2009
This is an incredible book, extremely moving, contains a lot of philosophying but is never boring. The author cleverly mixes philosophy with narrative creating a remarkable book. I imagine animal lovers will get the most out of this book but I urge everyone to read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling memoir of an unusual relationship. 9 May 2010
By Jason Mills VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book with three entwined strands. There is the story of Brenin, the author's wolf: his life and behaviour, and his impact on Rowlands' own life. There are philosophical discussions that spin off from anecdotes about the wolf. And, implicit in both, there is the journey, the pathology, of the misanthropic, solitary man who is telling us all this.

The writing is thoroughly engaging: often humorous, always (so far as one can judge) honest and diligent. Rowlands, philosopher that he is, examines his assumptions as he goes, questions his own interpretations of events even as he presents them. The philosophical excursions are not technical or ground-breaking: this is a work for a general audience, not one intended to advance his own field; but nor are they new-age bubblegum. The links between those discussions and the lupine anecdotes from which they arise are genuine and clear, not contrived as they easily could have been. This makes for a satisfyingly rounded book.

Rowlands does not hide his own failings as a human being (though he would question what could be meant by 'success'), and so we see not only how much he adjusts his life to accommodate his furry companion, but also how dependent he in turn, alcoholic and otherwise alone, becomes on the love of his 'pack-brother'. This is both moving and a little strange, as he is quick to acknowledge. The 'Lessons' he learns from the wolf (or from reflecting on the way it lives) have real substance. I felt he laboured his points towards the end, in discussing our relationship with time, but he makes a worthwhile case.

Withal, the most immediately thrilling parts are the tales of Brenin the wolf: Destroyer Of Furniture, long-distance runner, globe-trotting philosophy student.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book to be read by thinking adults 23 Dec. 2010
This is more of a diary than a novel, without the restrictions of a diary. It is thought provoking to a point where one would like to sit around the table and discuss Rowland's philosophy openly and patiently with open-minded friends, who have also read it.
It is not a book that one would read from cover to cover in one go; there is too much there to ponder over. It requires patience and time to absorb, accept or reject his thoughts.
I would strongly recommend "The Philosopher and The Wolf" to anyone prepared for a challenge. It is not difficult to read, but it just requires time.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-enhancing 15 Aug. 2009
By Cariola
This is an IMPORTANT book. It is principally a philosophical work that breaks the mould of much of the trend of Western thought while addressing the historical reasonings that have brought us to our present beliefs. Like Peter Singer, the author is led to a clear defence of animal rights, but for a completely different reason. He presents a compelling case for a duty of consideration towards other sentient beings, explained in parallel to, and as a result of, his experience of living with a wolf. This is a moving, interesting and inspiring tale of friendship. Mark Rowlands, in his dealings with Brenin, the wolf in question - who is recognised by his "owner" as having a personality and rights -, does something so very many dog owners omit to do: he gives him company, instinctively understanding that the animal is not psychologically equipped for solitude. This in turn allows the author to get to know the wolf, understand him and grow to love him. This is ultimately a passionate love story and an attempt to explain what is important in life. A remarkable lesson from the philosopher and the wolf.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Delighted to get this book and enjoyed it. Thank you
Published 3 months ago by Valerie Gately
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 4 months ago by June R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Gift for my grandson....unread by me.
Published 4 months ago by taffy
5.0 out of 5 stars must read for any dog lover
A great account and story of one man and his wolf buddy. Fab book, the sort of book you can read again and again.
Published 7 months ago by peebee
3.0 out of 5 stars I read this after I had read a subsequent book ...
I read this after I had read a subsequent book by the same writer. I had been intrigued by his 'adoption' of a wolf. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dr. B. Prynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by Debbie Guinnane
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable and Thoughtful Book
Philosophers often consider that actions that are immoral are the result of a failure of duty on the part of their perpetrators. There would be two kinds of duty involved. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pete J
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Such a beautiful book, it was pleasure to read. it gave me so many thoughts and ideas, including perspectives I never imagined, while making me want to know more about the story... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Alice Sim
4.0 out of 5 stars Life lessons
I bought this in the English Bookshop in Amsterdam. I was struck by the cover which portrayed a very beautiful wolf. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book
Published 9 months ago by Elaine Hughes
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