In 1872, a woman known only as 'An Earnest Englishwoman', published an open letter entitled 'Are women animals?' She protested that women were not treated as fully human; their status was worse than that of animals. What does it mean to be 'human' rather than 'animal'? If the Earnest Englishwoman had turned her gaze to the previous century, her critique could have applied to slaves. Exploring the legacy of more than two centuries, this meticulously researched and illuminating book of history examines the ever shifting line drawn between the human and the animal.