Advertisement
Books

Top five books to teach us about animals

Author of The Longest Story, Richard Girling picks the five books you need to read about animals.

Author Richard Girling’s The Longest Story: How Humans Have Loved, Hated and Misunderstood Other Species has been praised for its lucid prose and persuasive argument.

It cycles through the influence of philosophers, theologians, writers, farmers, artists and activists on humanity’s relationship with the animal kingdom.

Here, Girling selects his top five books on learning more about animals.

01 Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson

Williamson’s still-unsurpassed classic combines poetic imagination with close observation of a wild animal in its natural environment. To survive, the young otter must cope with threats from other creatures of the wild as well as persecution by humans. The final, climactic encounter between Tarka and the otter-hound Deadlock is an heroic battle of wills and savage instincts.

02 Mama’s Last Hu by Frans de Waal

Advertisement
Advertisement

The world’s leading primatologist delivers a coup de grace to the notion of human exceptionalism. In holding up a mirror to the chimpanzee, de Waal shows us a clear reflection of our own emotional selves.

03 Farmageddon by Philip Lymbery

The CEO of Compassion in World Farming reveals the true price of intensive modern agriculture. Our food is cheap only if you discount harm to the climate, animal suffering, species loss and pandemic disease.

04 Darwin comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen

The Dutch biologist Schilthuizen describes how impoverished rural landscapes are driving more and more wild species to seek refuge in towns and cities, where the need to adapt to alien environments is accelerating the speed of evolution far beyond anything imagined by Charles Darwin.

05 Red List of Threatened Species by IUCN

Viewable online, the International Union for Conservation of Nature provides a relentless tally of our species’ impact on other co-inhabitants of the planet. At the current count, 37,400 species are threatened with extinction, including 41 per cent of all amphibians, 26 per cent of mammals and 14 per cent of birds.

The Longest Story: How Humans Have Loved, Hated and Misunderstood Other Species by Richard Girling is out now (Oneworld, £20)

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
John Vercher: We now know contact sports are dangerous – so is it ethical to watch them?
Books

John Vercher: We now know contact sports are dangerous – so is it ethical to watch them?

Must read books this Autumn: An essential list to brighten the short, dark days ahead
Books

Must read books this Autumn: An essential list to brighten the short, dark days ahead

Morbid Obsessions review: A safety blanket for the marginalised
Book reviews

Morbid Obsessions review: A safety blanket for the marginalised

Was JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit a historical novel?
Books

Was JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit a historical novel?

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.