on 18 March 2008
The cover cleverly plays off Richard Dawkin's recent best seller yet it alludes to something far less seminal; furthermore, the synopsis does no justice to the content.
This book is an extremely interesting and well based macro-view of social, cultural and political human behaviour, with numerous humourous narratives and anecdotes, providing additional substance to enjoy.
In short, it provides a wealth of thought provoking material and possibly even engenders answers to the meaning of life!
on 3 November 2008
Do disregard the Telegraph quote guys - this wee book really has sod all to with loving or hating dogs. It is rather a very witty guide the nature of belief, with much interesting digression for a bonus: few of us, know, for example, that the English were once renowned for their cruelty to animals.
Mr Rowson is of course one of our finest ever cartoonists - this book shows he is also a very fine writer.
on 23 June 2012
I've long thought of civilisation as a by-product, or, as Rowson puts it (p17) a 'long.. suicide note' or Gaia's equivalent of a bad cold. The whole preposterous experiment, since the Industrial Revolution in particular, is a vast morality tale; Rowson, neither historian nor philosopher* though a highly intelligent man who can also tell jokes, is here its detached observer. Too detached - and I can't say I share his empathy with pets, whose enforced dependency (rent-a-friend!) infantilises and demeans both them and us (I make an exception of hens, whom I class as wild and who like certain breeds of dog make themselves useful). This slight, meandering confection should really have been five fifteen-minute talks on the radio (it originated as a talk to Lewisham humanists, jokes and all) but I suppose the title was thought too good to pass up. Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great is loads more fun
*The best thought is probably from Rowson's son Fred and his mate Rory on page 122. The animal noises in Appendix D are quite a handy resource too - though I'm pretty sure a Brazilian duck goes quoing quoing (who was your informant, Rowson?)