A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2016 Charles Foster wanted to know what it was like to be a beast: a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, a swift. What it was really like. And through knowing what it was like he wanted to get down and grapple with the beast in us all. So he tried it out; he lived life as a badger for six weeks, sleeping in a dirt hole and eating earthworms, he came face to face with shrimps as he lived like an otter and he spent hours curled up in a back garden in East London and rooting in bins like an urban fox. A passionate naturalist, Foster realises that every creature creates a different world in its brain and lives in that world. As humans, we share sensory outputs, lights, smells and sound, but trying to explore what it is actually like to live in another of these worlds, belonging to another species, is a fascinating and unique neuro-scientific challenge. For Foster it is also a literary challenge. Looking at what science can tell us about what happens in a fox's or badger's brain when it picks up a scent, he then uses this to imagine their world for us, to write it through their eyes or rather through the eyes of Charles the beast. An intimate look at the life of animals, neuroscience, psychology, nature writing, memoir and more, it is a journey of extraordinary thrills and surprises, containing wonderful moments of humour and joy, but also providing important lessons for all of us who share life on this precious planet.
A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.
The dazzling success of The Toaster Project, including TV appearances and an international book tour, leaves Thomas Thwaites in a slump. His friends increasingly behave like adults, while Thwaites still lives at home, "stuck in a big, dark hole." Luckily, a research grant offers the perfect out: a chance to take a holiday from the complications of being human—by transforming himself into a goat. What ensues is a hilarious and surreal journey through engineering, design, and psychology, as Thwaites interviews neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, prosthetists, goat sanctuary workers, and goatherds. From this, he builds a goat exoskeleton—artificial legs, helmet, chest protector, raincoat from his mum, and a prosthetic goat stomach to digest grass (with help from a pressure cooker and campfire)—before setting off across the Alps on four legs with a herd of his fellow creatures. Will he make it? Do Thwaites and his readers discover what it truly means to be human? GoatMan tells all in Thwaites's inimitable style, which NPR extols as "a laugh-out- loud-funny but thoughtful guide through his own adventures."
Twenty essays offer observations on rivers, life, love, loss, motherhood, happiness, evolution, and country music
Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.
A moose frustrates commuters by wandering onto the highway; a cougar stalks his prey through suburban backyards; an alligator suns himself in a strip mall parking lot. Such stories, which regularly make headline news, highlight the blurred divide that now exists between civilization and wilderness. In Coyote at the Kitchen Door, Stephen DeStefano draws on decades of experience as a biologist and conservationist to examine the interplay between urban sprawl and wayward wildlife. As he explores what our insatiable appetite for real estate means for the health and wellbeing of animals and ourselves, he highlights growing concerns, such as the loss of darkness at night because of light pollution. DeStefano writes movingly about the contrasts between constructed and natural environments and about the sometimes cherished, sometimes feared place that nature holds in our modern lives, as we cluster into cities yet show an increasing interest in the natural world. Woven throughout the book is the story of one of the most successful species in North America: the coyote. Once restricted to the prairies of the West, this adaptable animal now inhabits most of North Americaâe"urban and wild alike. DeStefano traces a female coyoteâe(tm)s movements along a winding path between landscapes in which her species learned to survive and flourish. Coyote at the Kitchen Door asks us to rethink the meaning of progress and create a new suburban wildlife ethic.
The author shares his memories of growing up on a farm and looks at the hard life of farming through each of the four seasons
The British people have a unique relationship with the fox; no other animal attracts such controversy, has provoked more column inches or been so deeply woven into our culture over the centuries. But as well as being the most ubiquitous of British animals, it is also the least understood. In Foxes Unearthed, Lucy Jones investigates the truth about foxes in a media landscape that often carries complex agendas, holding perceived wisdom and myths up to the microscope of modern science. There is a vivid story to be told, exploring the cultural history alongside the modern-day fables that we tell ourselves about this curious animal. Using extensive archival research to explore historical perceptions of the fox in folklore, literature and social history, Lucy also travels the length of Britain to find out first-hand why the animal is so ambiguously perceived in modern society: one family might feed the foxes in their backyard while another might pay to have them shot. This beautifully designed, compelling narrative adds a depth to the often contentious debate on foxes, asking what the British attitudes towards the Red Fox say about us - and, ultimately, our wider relationship with the natural world.
The story of the author's uncle, David Maltby, and the crew with whom he flew on the famous dam raid in 1943. Just five months later, on their return from an aborted mission to bomb the Dortmund Ems Canal, they all died when their aircraft went down in the North Sea.
New York Times bestseller! — What happened that night on Dead Mountain? The mystery of Dead Mountain: In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. As gripping and bizarre as Hunt for the Skin Walker: This New York Times bestseller, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, is a gripping work of literary nonfiction that delves into the mystery of Dead Mountain through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter. You'll love this real-life tale: Dead Mountain is a fascinating portrait of young adventurers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers' narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations. Here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
There should never have been a space battle, certainly not one that sent my ship full of fleeing children across the whole damn universe. Nor was I prepared to land on a planet I knew nothing about and would never be able to escape. But of all the things I wasn't prepared for, it was to find myself dependent on a tiny group of shapeshifting magic users among the refugees, shapeshifters hated by my own fellow humans and yet the only chance any of us had to survive. I have now seen the shapeshifters, called the Bete, organize and build when we were still chaos inside my ship, even though we had adults and they didn't. I have seen them repulse the horrific foes that wander this new world. change into fantastic beasts for our protection, and even heal our wounds. I'm told they are demons and monsters that cannot be trusted, and yet, I have found that our fate relies not only on this group but the leadership and judgment of a boy half my age and many times my power. How am I to hate him? Who is really the beast in this? The "demon" that saves us or the hatred that divides us? Some language and violence.
A transporting and brilliant comic novel narrated by an unforgettable woman: Karen Nieto, an autistic savant whose idiosyncrasies prove her greatest gifts As intimate as it is profound, and as clear-eyed as it is warmhearted, Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World marks an extraordinary debut by the award-winning Mexican playwright, journalist, and poet Sabina Berman. Karen Nieto passed her earliest years as a feral child, left alone to wander the vast beach property near her family's failing tuna cannery. But when her aunt Isabelle comes to Mexico to take over the family business, she discovers a real girl amidst the squalor. So begins a miraculous journey for autistic savant Karen, who finds freedom not only in the love and patient instruction of her aunt but eventually at the bottom of the ocean swimming among the creatures of the sea. Despite how far she's come, Karen remains defined by the things she can't do—until her gifts with animals are finally put to good use at the family's fishery. Her plan is brilliant: Consolation Tuna will be the first humane tuna fishery on the planet. Greenpeace approves, fame and fortune follow, and Karen is swept on a global journey that explores how we live, what we eat, and how our lives can defy even our own wildest expectations.
As much a symbol of the nation 's adventurous past as he was the very picture of booming 20th-century progress, Theodore Roosevelt politician and soldier, naturalist and historian was still a young man when he left the Oval Office, and he spent the decade after his presidency exploring the world... and sharing his experiences in his inimitable prose. In this 1916 book, he leads us: on a cougar hunt on the rim of the Grand Canyon trekking across the Navajo Desert to a Hopi snake dance across the Andes and Northern Patagonia through bird reserves at the mouth of the Mississippi and much more Roosevelt 's rip-roaring, real-life exploits are just as entertaining today as they were a century ago, and serve as a stirring reminder of the breathtaking beauty and lurking danger of the natural world. American icon THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858 1919) was 26th President of the United States, serving from 1901 to 1909, and the first American to win a Nobel Prize, in 1906, when he was awarded the Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War. He is the author of 35 books.
Robert Michael Pyle trekked into the Dark Divide, where he discovered a giant fossil footprint; searched out Indians who told him of an outcast tribe that had not fully evolved into humans; and attended the convocation in British Columbia called Sasquatch Daze, where he realized that "these guys don't want to find Bigfoot-they want to be Bigfoot." Ultimately Pyle discovers a few things about Bigfoot - and a lot about the human need for something to believe in and the need for wilderness in our lives.
A practical guide to decision making delineates the factors behind "good" and "bad" decisions and presents practical advice, real-life anecdotes, and effective tools to help readers develop their decision-making skills.
In 2006 “outdoor philosopher” Kate Rawles cycled 4553 miles from Texas to Alaska, following the spine of the Rocky Mountains as closely as possible. Cycling across unforgiving but starkly beautiful landscapes in both the United States and Canada – deserts, high mountain passes, glaciers and eventually down to the sea – she encountered bears, wolves, moose, cliff-swallows, aspens and a single, astonishing lynx. Along the way, she talked to North Americans about climate change – from truck drivers to politicians – to find out what they knew about it, whether they cared, and if they did, what they thought they could do. Kate tells the story of a trip in which she has to deal with the rigours of cycling for ten hours a day in temperatures often in excess of 100° F, fighting punctures, endless repairs and inescapable, grinding fatigue. But in recounting the physical struggle of such a journey, she also does constant battle with her own ideas and assumptions, helping us to cross the great divide between where we are on climate change and where we need to be. Can we tackle climate change while still keeping our modern Western lifestyles intact? Should we put biofuel in our camper vans and RVs? Or do we need much deeper shifts in lifestyles, values and worldviews?
Autobiographical reminiscences of the author's experiences in India.
Author and explorer Charles Foster follows the historical path of the ark of the covenant in this adventurous and revelatory book.
In this approach to ornithology, self-confessed bad birdwatcher Simon Barnes gives readers the confidence and motivation to get pleasure from one of the simplest, cheapest hobbies there are - watching birds, without letting birdwatching get in the way.

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