Why Look at Animals? – John Berger

Why Look at Animals? is the third book I’ve read by John Berger, and I think it’s the book I’ve been most impressed with. Have you ever wondered why we take care of animals? Why do we keep all kinds of animals in our home, with us, and why do we need to establish indescribable relationships with them?Why Look at Animals?


Why Look at Animals? - John Berger

Why Look at Animals? will make you think a lot about the relationship between humans and animals. While thinking about this subject, you will ponder about the other parts of life over and over in your mind, and you will wander in a field with the author’s descriptions. You will see not only animals but everything you look at differently, and you will experience a different awareness. Why Look at Animals? is a concise, delightful nonfiction book. Whatever you do, create time to read it. My suggestion would be to read it in a quiet place with a nice view. Enjoy!

Why Look at Animals? - John Berger

Why Look at Animals?

Why Look at Animals?: John Berger broke new ground with his penetrating writings on life, art and how we see the world around us. Here he explores how the ancient relationship between man and nature has been broken in the modern consumer age, with the animals that used to be at the centre of our existence now marginalized and reduced to spectacle.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

John Berger

John Berger, in full John Peter Berger, (born November 5, 1926, London, England—died January 2, 2017, Antony, France), British essayist and cultural thinker as well as a prolific novelist, poet, translator, and screenwriter. He is best known for his novel G. and his book and BBC series Ways of Seeing.

Berger began studying art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central Saint Martins), but his education was interrupted by service in the British army during and just after World War II (1944–46). In 1946 he moved to London and studied drawing and painting at the Chelsea School of Art. By the 1950s he was also writing art criticism for publications such as the New Statesman and New Society.

As an artist himself, Berger believed that great art should reflect society and that socialism inspired society’s “profoundest expectations” in the 20th century. He published his first novel, A Painter of Our Time, in 1958, which stemmed from his experience living among émigré artists in London. Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing, the first collection of his essays on art, was published in 1960. He was attracted to Cubism—Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger in particular. In Berger’s controversial book The Success and Failure of Picasso (1965), he argued that Picasso’s Cubist paintings were progressive but that much of the artist’s other work represents the “failure of revolutionary nerve.”

In 1972 Berger’s Ways of Seeing was produced by the BBC as a series of four 30-minute programs. The series and the subsequent book aimed at demystifying art history and revealed the sometimes-underlying ways in which meaning and ideology are conveyed through visual media. The book went on to become a key text in art history education into the 21st century.

And books of essays and art criticism such as The Shape of a Pocket (2001), Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance (2007), Understanding a Photograph (2013), and Daumier: Visions of Paris (2013). In 2009 he received the Golden PEN Award, presented by English PEN to a writer whose “body of work has had a profound impact on readers.”

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

A Non-Fiction a Month

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