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Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology Paperback – 6 Sep 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; First Edition edition (6 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375713697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375713699
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This book is like a prehistoric cave. If you have the nerve to enter it and you get used to the dark, you'll discover things about storytelling which are startling, urgent and deeply true. Things each of us once knew, but forgot when we were born into the 19th and 20th centuries. Extraordinary rediscoveries!" -John Berger
"David Abram is among the most important interpreters of the wild voice within us. At no other time in Western history have we needed to listen to that voice, and David's, as much as we do today."
--Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
"
"As with many deeply original--and radical--books, this work may startle, even provoke the reader in its electric reversal of conventional thought. Worth any provocation for the profundity of its insights, this is a portrait of the artist as a young raven, arguing, with all the subtlety of his mind, for the mindedness of the body. An exercise of uncanny ima

"An intricately textured, deep breath of a book that blurs the boundaries between human and animal, mind and earth." --"Orion "
"A wild book in every sense of the word, full of stories that will leave you trembling, but even fuller of ideas that will send you out into the world with new eyes." --Bill McKibben, author of "Eaarth
"
"""I cannot imagine another book that so gently and so persuasively alters how we look at ourselves." --Richard Louv, author of "The Nature Principle"
"One of the most compelling and important ecology books in decades." --Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International
"A truly alchemical book. . . . Those of us who still hope for a revolutionary change in our thinking toward animals, the living land and the climate will welcome this book. Abram is an audacious thinker, a true visionary, and, really, just a damn good nature writer." --"San Francisco Book Review "
"A stunning, compelling journey into embodied, earth

"
""A wild book in every sense of the word, full of stories that will leave you trembling, but even fuller of ideas that will send you out into the world with new eyes." --Bill McKibben, author of "Eaarth
""This book is like a prehistoric cave. If you have the nerve to enter it and you get used to the dark, you'll discover things about storytelling which are startling, urgent and deeply true. Things each of us once knew, but forgot when we were born into the 19th and 20th centuries. Extraordinary rediscoveries!" --John Berger, author of "Ways of Seeing and Why Look at Animals
"
"""I cannot imagine another book that so gently and so persuasively alters how we look at ourselves." --Richard Louv, author of "The Nature Principle"
"One of the most compelling and important ecology books in decades." --Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International
"A truly alchemical book. . . . Those of us who still hope for a revolutionary change in our thinking toward animals, the living land and the climate will welcome this book. Abram is an audacious thinker, a true visionary, and, really, just a damn good nature writer." --"San Francisco Book Review
"
"An intricately textured, deep breath of a book that blurs the boundaries between human and animal, mind and earth. Prose as lush as a moss-draped rain forest and as luminous as a high desert night. . . Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses,
birds, and roof beams. His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can, in turn, sustain the world. Becoming Animal illuminates a way forward in restoring relationship with the earth, led by our vibrant animal bodies to re-inhabit the glittering world." --"Orion"
"A stunning, compelling journey into embodied, earthly intelligence, "Becoming Animal" is philosophy at its engaging best. Prepare for a wild, profound ride into the essence of the human animal"--"an essence embedded in communion with the Earth. A must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet and ourselves." --KierAn Suckling, co-founder and Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity
"In "Becoming Animal," David Abram has crafted the rarest of literary gems: a sublime effort combining transcendent prose, lucid insight, and lasting consequence." "--Shambhala Sun"
"If we are to survive--indeed, if we are to stop the dominant culture from killing the planet--it will be in great measure because of brave and brilliant beings like David Abram. This is a beautifully written, deeply moving, and important book." --Derrick Jensen, author of "A Language Older Than Words" and "Endgame"
"Becoming Animal" brings us home to ourselves as living organs of this wild planet. Its teachings leap off the page and translate immediately into lived experience. --Joanna Macy, Buddhist scholar and activist
"Without doubt one of America's greatest nature writers, one who ably follows in the footsteps of Muir, Thoreau and Leopold. . . .[A] book of such transformative potential that it needs to be read twice in quick succession to get the full benefit. . . . The language is luminous, the style hypnotic. Abram weaves a spell that brings the world alive."
--"Resurgence "
"Pure enthusiasm drives Abram to explore the yearning of our body for the larger body of Earth. . . . [Abram] brings the magician's sense of mystery and playful surprise. . . His celebratory embrace of all that surrounds him is refreshing in the extreme."
--"Kirkus Reviews"
"As with many deeply original--and radical--books, this work may startle, even provoke the reader in its electric reversal of conventional thought. . . . [T]his is a portrait of the artist as a young raven, arguing, with all the subtlety of his mind, for the mindedness of the body. An exercise of uncanny imagination." --Jay Griffiths, author of "Wild"
"This brave and magical book summons wild wonder to remind us who we are."
--Amory B. Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
"Speculative, learned, and always 'lucid and precise' as the eye of the vulture that confronted him once on a cliff ledge, Abram has one of those rare minds which, like the mind of a musician or a great mathematician, fuses dreaminess with smarts." --"The Village Voice"
"Refreshing. [Abram] allows himself to be expansive, sentimental, and more than a little mad. . . . His book is transformative, animated by piercing observations and hallucinatory intensity." --"Bookforum "
" "
"This startling, sparkling book challenges the technological temper of our times by returning us to the animal body in ourselves. Abram shows brilliantly how this body brings us back to Earth in a series of acutely moving descriptions of its polysensory genius. An original work of primary philosophy, it is written with verve, passion, and poetry." --Edward S. Casey, author of "The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History"


"
" A wild book in every sense of the word, full of stories that will leave you trembling, but even fuller of ideas that will send you out into the world with new eyes. Bill McKibben, author of "Eaarth
" This book is like a prehistoric cave. If you have the nerve to enter it and you get used to the dark, you ll discover things about storytelling which are startling, urgent and deeply true. Things each of us once knew, but forgot when we were born into the 19th and 20th centuries. Extraordinary rediscoveries! John Berger, author of "Ways of Seeing and Why Look at Animals
"
" "I cannot imagine another book that so gently and so persuasively alters how we look at ourselves. Richard Louv, author of "The Nature Principle"
One of the most compelling and important ecology books in decades. Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International
A truly alchemical book. . . . Those of us who still hope for a revolutionary change in our thinking toward animals, the living land and the climate will welcome this book. Abram is an audacious thinker, a true visionary, and, really, just a damn good nature writer. "San Francisco Book Review
"
An intricately textured, deep breath of a book that blurs the boundaries between human and animal, mind and earth. Prose as lush as a moss-draped rain forest and as luminous as a high desert night. . . Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses,
birds, and roof beams. His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can, in turn, sustain the world. Becoming Animal illuminates a way forward in restoring relationship with the earth, led by our vibrant animal bodies to re-inhabit the glittering world." "Orion"
A stunning, compelling journey into embodied, earthly intelligence, "Becoming Animal" is philosophy at its engaging best. Prepare for a wild, profound ride into the essence of the human animal" "an essence embedded in communion with the Earth. A must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet and ourselves. Kieran Suckling, co-founder and Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity
In "Becoming Animal," David Abram has crafted the rarest of literary gems: a sublime effort combining transcendent prose, lucid insight, and lasting consequence. " Shambhala Sun"
If we are to survive indeed, if we are to stop the dominant culture from killing the planet it will be in great measure because of brave and brilliant beings like David Abram. This is a beautifully written, deeply moving, and important book. Derrick Jensen, author of "A Language Older Than Words" and "Endgame"
"Becoming Animal" brings us home to ourselves as living organs of this wild planet. Its teachings leap off the page and translate immediately into lived experience. Joanna Macy, Buddhist scholar and activist
Without doubt one of America s greatest nature writers, one who ably follows in the footsteps of Muir, Thoreau and Leopold. . . .[A] book of such transformative potential that it needs to be read twice in quick succession to get the full benefit. . . . The language is luminous, the style hypnotic. Abram weaves a spell that brings the world alive.
"Resurgence"
Pure enthusiasm drives Abram to explore the yearning of our body for the larger body of Earth. . . . [Abram] brings the magician s sense of mystery and playful surprise. . . His celebratory embrace of all that surrounds him is refreshing in the extreme.
"Kirkus Reviews"
As with many deeply original and radical books, this work may startle, even provoke the reader in its electric reversal of conventional thought. . . . [T]his is a portrait of the artist as a young raven, arguing, with all the subtlety of his mind, for the mindedness of the body. An exercise of uncanny imagination. Jay Griffiths, author of "Wild"
This brave and magical book summons wild wonder to remind us who we are.
Amory B. Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
Speculative, learned, and always lucid and precise as the eye of the vulture that confronted him once on a cliff ledge, Abram has one of those rare minds which, like the mind of a musician or a great mathematician, fuses dreaminess with smarts. "The Village Voice"
Refreshing. [Abram] allows himself to be expansive, sentimental, and more than a little mad. . . . His book is transformative, animated by piercing observations and hallucinatory intensity. "Bookforum "
""
This startling, sparkling book challenges the technological temper of our times by returning us to the animal body in ourselves. Abram shows brilliantly how this body brings us back to Earth in a series of acutely moving descriptions of its polysensory genius. An original work of primary philosophy, it is written with verve, passion, and poetry. Edward S. Casey, author of "The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History"
"

About the Author

David Abram is an ecologist, anthropologist, and philosopher who lectures and teaches widely around the world. His prior book, "The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World," helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, David was named by both the "Utne Reader "and the British journal" Resurgence "as one of a hundred visionaries transforming contemporary culture. His writings on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. A co-founder of the "Alliance for Wild Ethics" "(AWE), "David lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
David Abram is a true magician, superbly skilled in both slight of hand magic and in the literary art of awakening us to the superabundant wonders of the natural world. He is also without doubt one of America's greatest nature writers who ably follows in the footsteps of Muir,Thoreau and Leopold, fructifying their legacy with rich infusions from the writings of Merleau Ponty, Husserl and Heidegger - the masters and creators of phenomenology who taught us to pay attention to lived experience as it happens in its very happening.

This book is the long-awaited sequel to his earlier masterpiece, The Spell of the Sensuous, which restores to modern consciousness the ancient animistic sensibility that all things are redolent with life and meaning - that everything is saturated with soul: mountains, forests, and even manufactured objects like cars and buildings. The essential achievement of Spell was for me the revelation of how all beings, living and non-living, palpably bring us home to the pulsing heart of the world when we listen to their long-stifled voices - when we unpack their hidden messages with the intuitive power that lies slumbering in our animal bodies.

In Becoming Animal, Abram carries us off on new and enlivening journeys into the radically exciting possibilities of this animistic style of perception, deftly validating his dextrous explorations with profound insights from philosophy, ecology and his sometimes hair raising experiences in the great wild landscapes that infuse him again and again with deep inspiration and a vibrant sense of the real.

This is a book of such transformative potential that it needs to be read twice in quick succession to get the full benefit.
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Format: Hardcover
Other reviewers (see the Amazon.com site) have supplied good reasons why this is a great book. I'd like to mention why it's also an important one. The context is, pretty obviously, ongoing and deepening ecocrisis. A big part of that crisis results from the attitudes and values driving our actions, and a big part of those consist of failing to recognise and respect the value of the natural world beyond its usefulness to us.
This is where Abram's book comes in, because he refuses to follow the mass of so-called environmentalists who have bought into the anthropocentric and instrumentalist paradigm. Lusting after mainstream corporate and political acceptance, most of the big environmental NGO's and many 'green' spokespersons have sold the soul of environmentalism: nature's intrinsic value, and our finally utter dependence on it. With so many false ecological friends out there, Abram's animism is a necessary and urgent rediscovery of the kind of relationships we must learn (relearn, really) to develop with the natural world if we, and much of it, is to have any chance to survive.
So don't be fooled into thinking it can be put in a box of optional or fluffy stuff called 'spiritual'. Abram's world is profoundly material, including all its wonders and powers, and Becoming Animal is a powerful political statement.

Patrick Curry (Author of Ecological Ethics: An Introduction)
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Lovely writing style and inescapable logic. But what is more important is the clear message of interconnectedness between macro and microcosm - a message that needs to be appreciated in our times for our survival, not only corporal, but also of our soul.
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By KH on 28 Dec. 2012
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I enjoyed Abram's first book The Spell of the Sensuous and was keen to read An Earthly Cosmology. Unfortunately I found the flowery prose got in the way for me. There were some good quotable sections, but mostly it felt too self indulgent, a huge shame.
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Once again, David Abram makes us fall in love with the Earth in his exquisite essays that explore shadow, house, mind...and more. For example, his description of the three-dimensional quality of shadows will make you aware of the relationship you have with your own shadow. A book to have and read forever.
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A real inspiration to live this world with senses wide open, so order this book, turn off your laptop and go and experience the real world.
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Dense, thought provoking, beautiful and strange. Wakes up the perceptions. Read, then go out into the world and look with new eyes.
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