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The Intimate Bond Animals and our ever changing relationship with them have left an indelible mark on human history From the dawn of our existence animals and humans have been constantly redefining their relationship with one another and entire civilizations have risen and fallen upon this curious bond we share with our fellow fauna Brian Fagan unfolds this fascinating story from the first wolf who wandered into our prehistoric ancestors' camp and found companionship to empires built on the backs of horses donkeys and camels to the industrial age when some animals became commodities often brutally exploited and others became pets nurtured and pampered sometimes to absurd extremesThrough an in depth analysis of six truly transformative human animal relationships Fagan shows how our habits and our very way of life were considerably and irreversibly altered by our intimate bond with animals Among other stories Fagan explores how herding changed human behavior; how the humble donkey helped launch the process of globalization; and how the horse carried a hearty band of nomads across the world and toppled the emperor of ChinaWith characteristic care and penetrating insight Fagan reveals the profound influence that animals have exercised on human history and how in fact they often drove it

10 thoughts on “The Intimate Bond

  1. Clif Hostetler Clif Hostetler says:

    This book is a history of the relationship between animals and humans It's good to be reminded of this relationship because we tend to forget how dependent the development of human civilization was on animals Humans today are probably independent of and separated from other animals than at any other time in the history of human life on this earth Today cars trains and trucks transport goods including food to the cities where most people live Eggs milk and meat are eaten by most people with little thought about where these things come from This book begins with speculation about how and where first encounters between species occurred DNA analysis has enabled scientist to determine the probable geographic locations of the first domestications of many animals In many ways the development of tool usage and domestication of animals went hand in hand Animals just happen to be tools that were alive One of my motivations for listening to this book was to see if the book supported one of my pet theories as to why modern humans prevailed over the Neanderthals My theory is that modern humans effectively used dogs as guards and hunters giving them a competitive edge This book makes no mention of this though the early use of dogs is certainly discussed One animal that gets high praise in this book is the donkey The book refers to them as the pickup trucks of early history They enabled the development of international commerce during the Bronze Age Their role was partly replaced a couple centuries before Christ by the camel However the camel was a relative late comer to the world of transportOf course the book mentions all the common farm animals such as sheep pigs and cattle Horses take up a large part of the second half of the book Cats and chickens are covered but their coverage is relatively short Toward the end of the book there's discussion about how animals have been treated and continue to be treated Needless to say they have not always been treated well But humans haven't always been treat well either So let's just say they humananimal history is not all sugar and spice and things niceThe following information is NOT from this book but I'm including it here for my own future reference I find this article from Time Magazine interesting because it is a reminder of how finely tuned the selective breeding of dogs has been able to develop a species that can read human facial expressions and hand gestures better than our closest biological relatives the apes Understanding a pointed finger may seem easy but consider this while humans and canines can do it naturally no other known species in the animal kingdom can

  2. Nicky Nicky says:

    This isn’t a bad book in terms of examining the relationship between humans and animals and their impact on us as long as you’re talking about the positive impact The impact on health of close contact with animals leading to zoonotic illnesses is skipped entirely though and domesticationfarming is generally painted as an unambiguously good thing Not that Fagan is wrong in saying that animals have impacted us for the better in many ways but it felt one sided — especially given that there are various animal diseases that have become endemic in humans which we’d be rather better off without and which probably wouldn’t have adapted so well to humans if we hadn’t given them such excellent opportunitiesStill it’s an interesting book and Fagan works with archaeological and genetic evidence to give as complete a picture as he canReviewed for The Bibliophibian

  3. Thomas Isern Thomas Isern says:

    The research is not as deep as claimed check the notes consider the episodic character of the narrative I will keep the book for reference as it identifies some main lines to consider in the historic relationships of humankind and domestic animals including livestock There are some annoying features of organization or perhaps design The boxes if the material is worthy put it into the narrative The little imagined prologues for chapters useless and damaging to credibility In general the writer relies heavily on considerations of probability it must or might have happened this way or that without being clear as to grounding

  4. Elentarri Elentarri says:

    The Intimate Bond is an introductory text that takes a look at the historical relationship between humans and animals Fagan deals mostly with the domestication and uses of wolvesdogs sheep goats pigs cattle donkeys horses and camels Each chapter begins with a speculative fictional narrative Then Fagan makes use of anthropology paleontological information with a passing mention of any relevant DNA studies to show us when and how domestication took place and then what uses that particular animal had usually as food means of transport or raw material for clothing Fagan also adds a fair amount of his romantic idea of pre industrial farming The chapter on donkeys is particularly interesting in terms of the history of large scale trade caravans The chapter on the use of horses in war is particularly depressing and horrifying There are also several chapters dedicated to the past and present treatment of animals in Britain Fagan does leave out completely the transfer of diseases zoonoses from domesticated animals to humans eg TB which I feel had an important influence on human society None the less an interesting historical perspecitve on the relationship between humans and their animals

  5. Dayanara Dayanara says:

    I received The Intimate Bond How Animals Shaped Human History for free through Goodreads First ReadsIntimate bond is written purely historical on how our interactions with animals was there since the beginning of time and the affect of the 'interact' have shape the way we live todayFagan gave great numbers of examples in the book likethe donkey bulls and horses In the book he describes what the animal was used for how they lived and sometimes comes with a historical event that involves that particular animal I have to say it was interesting and a wonderful learning experience I did find some animals interesting then others but that's my personal opinion One thing I disagree with Fagan is pg 9 he said A successful hunt that ended in a kill was thought of as proof of friendly relations between the hunter and his uarry which willingly allowed itself to be killed I believe every animal insects and human beings first instinct is to survive

  6. Mike Mike says:

    The author takes us through a historical journey that connects us with other animal species At times funny fascinating and enlightening it is also an effective narrative to show the cruel savage and blood thirsty elements of the human character in contrast to the animals we label cruel savage and blood thirstyThere are elements I really wanted of of the origins of contact and the transition from wild to domestic In some areas this is done with much detail which of course might mean there are recordsHorses get a very large section in the book in comparison to some of the other species and there is some look at symbolism but this too could have been developed The criticism is not really a complaint simply a desire for even The intimate bond is certainly a parallel story to our own development as a species and the connections say a lot about history and how it has unraveled

  7. Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice) Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice) says:

    An interesting informative read about the role that animals have played in human history over many many years I came into this book thinking it would be mainly about household pets with some other animal references too but soon found learned all that animals have done for us over the years Sheep oxen cattle pigs horses camels and so many animals have helped us survive Animals allowed us to easily move around build cities farm and fight wars At times it was a little dull but other parts were very interesting I was reading about 50 pages a day so I think that taking a little longer would have been better to absorb all of this new dense information Lately when I finish a book I like to ask myself if I'm glad I read it For The Intimate Bond How Animals Shaped Human History the answer is yes definitely

  8. Jeffrey Fossi Jeffrey Fossi says:

    I recently received Brian Fagan's The Intimate Bond How Animals Shaped Human History for free through Goodreads First Reads I eagerly read this in one day This is a must read for history fanatics and animal lovers The author sought to fill a gap in books referring to the interaction of animals and humans for mutual survival I enjoyed the illustrations maps and timelines included in the work The author focused on eight animals that indelibly impacted our ability to survive and hopefully for them to survive This book read like a textbook which I personally enjoy for certain topics The only complain I had was the lack of an index maybe in the official publication I look forward to the next volume that includes cats enjoy

  9. Kristina Kristina says:

    I received this book through the First Reads program It's not the kind of book I generally pick up to read but I have to say I learned a lot and enjoyed it a fair amount It's dense and maybe not a book you read all at once but for animal lovers and history buffs it's gold

  10. Edward Sullivan Edward Sullivan says:

    A concise history from prehistory to the modern era of how the often barbaric and violent yet interdependent relationship between animals and humans evolved Informative insightful and interesting

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