Straw Dogs

Thoughts On Humans And Other Animals

John Gray

Published: 1 September 2003
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 246 pages
ISBN: 9781862075962


Straw Dogs is a radical work of philosophy that sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism enthrone humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. Even in the present day, despite Darwin's discoveries, nearly all schools of thought take as their starting point the belief that humans are radically different from other animals. In Straw Dogs, John Gray argues that this humanist belief in human difference is an illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned.

About the author

Image of John Gray

John Gray is is Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement and the author of over a dozen books, including Heresies and the best-selling Straw Dogs which has been translated into 16 languages. False Dawn has been translated into fifteen languages. More about the author


‘A complex and concentrated read’ Hugh Lawson Tancred



‘Exhilarating’ Daisy Waugh

‘Gray is undeniably a force to be reckoned with.He is the most lucid and compelling writer about political theory since Isaiah Berlin, and he was understandably hailed by Will Self as "the most important living philosopher’ Johann Hari

‘John Gray's pessimistic but challenging view of humankind among the animals, Straw Dogs enraged and engaged me more than any other book this year’ Jim Crace

‘My book of the year was Straw Dogs. I read it once, I read it twice and took notes. I arranged to meet its author so I could publicize the book - I thought it that good ... a devastating critique of liberal humanism, and all of it set out in easy-to-digest (although hard-to-swallow) apercus’ Will Self

‘One of the most important books published this year, and will probably prove to be one of the most important this century ... nobody can hope to understand the times in which we live unless they have read Straw DogsSue Corrigan

‘Relentless in its upheaval of the ideology and moral framework most of us inhabit like a big comfy armchair. Progress, freedom, selfhood, morality, justice and technology - all are turned around so you doubt which direction you are going, if any.’ Marcus Coates

‘There is unlikely to be a more provocative or more compelling book published this year than Straw Dogs ... Gray is one of the most consistently interesting and unpredictable thinkers in Britain’ Jason Cowley

‘This powerful and brilliant book is an essential guide to the new Millennium. Straw Dogs challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be human, and convincingly shows that most of them are delusions. Who are we, and why are we here? John Gray's answers will shock most of us deeply. This is the most exhilarating book I have read since Richard Dawkins' The Selfish GeneJ. G. Ballard

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