First published by Simon & Schuster in 1993 and then by Continuum in 1998, Jim Mason's An Unnatural Order has become a classic. Now in a new Lantern edition, the book explores, from an anthropological, sociocultural, and holistic perspective, how and why we have cut ourselves off from other animals and the natural world, and the toll this has taken on our consciousness, our ability to steward nature wisely, and the will to control our own tendencies
Jim Mason is an attorney, journalist, lecturer, and coauthor (with Peter Singer) of Animal Factories (1990) and The Ethics of What We Eat (2005).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you read this book, one thing is for certain, you will get plenty of lessons and theory on agricultural evolution from sedentary foraging to modern intensive farming. Mason appears to echo his own thoughts from previous chapters as he spends a great deal of time explaining how agriculture has molded us over the centuries, in the way we live, breed, and worship. In paticular, Mason emphasizes that the control and subjegation of animals is what has hurt the human condition most. But he has much more to explain about our evolution than he has to offer solutions for a sustainable future. It is ironic that a book that so ardently reveals the truth about animal subjegation never once addresses how we might translate this is in our day to day dietary habitats. To eat meat or to not? That is the question that won't be answered here, nor probably can be, but why the author doesn't even give it an honorable mention as he does the slaughterhouses, is a peculiar missive. Is this an excellent book? For me, it was. It has helped me answer a nagging formless question in my head ever since I became a student of mythology. I have long been irked by the way animals are viewed as 'lower' forms of beings in some of the most ancient and sacred prose, nevertheless these works arose from agricultural societies. It is a shame that even our best wisdom offers such a downgraded view of life for other creatures.... to go back further then we come across a primal view of life that treats animals as divinely as us. This is what Mason writes brillantly about.... for this he deserves four stars. He is very right to mention the creation stories of Amer-Indians which are the best examples we have of our primal connection to animals. For this, I am very grateful to the author and will return to his words whenever I need a reminder that it was once a quite different planet. Mason's discussion on the discovery of paternity during the advent of agriculutre is not to be missed. Lastly, Mason loves his history, he loves to read the scholarly opinions, loves to explain how anyone could write such a thing, and then offer a much more reasonable explanation based on the lastest science . He's damn good at balancing the accepted and opposing schools of thought about evolution. Extra credit for quoting Madson and for diving into the heart and soul of our original American wilderness. No, not everything fits neatly into Mason's theories. Has anyone ever read a book that has solved it all? 'Northern Farm', a book written by the eloquent, late Henry Beston will help you to see a drastically different personality/ego side of this agriculturally spawned patriarchial culture that hasn't been so good for equal rights (of all species).