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Martin Rowson


Pets, Gods and How to be Human

Book review by Anthony Campbell. The review is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

As will probably be evident from the title—a punning reference to Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion—this is a book about religion from a critical angle although Rowson is not very sympathetic to Dawkins either. I started it with quite high expectations, having read some enthusiastic reviews, but was rapidly disillusioned.

The ostensible point of the book is to make out a resemblance between pet-keeping, which Rowson thinks is a pointless exercise, and religion. But this idea is mostly lost sight of after the first few pages, becoming swamped by what Rowson frankly admits is a rant, directed largely though not exclusively at religion (there are some political diatribes too). I felt as if I were pinned in a corner by a slightly intoxicated fellow guest at a party, unable to escape from an endless torrent of his views on everything under the sun.

This impression is not helped by Rowson's fondness for very long paragraphs and equally long footnotes. And I was irritated by finding the Mongol emperor Hulagu rendered (several times) as Haluga and the well-known Lewis Carroll joke about believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast ascribed to the Red Queen instead of the White Queen. I have to say that I found this book, short though it is, all but unreadable.

27 March 2008

%T The Dog Allusion
%S Pets, Gods, and How to be Human
%A Martin Rowson
%I Vintage Books
%C London
%D 2008
%G ISBN 9780099521334
%P x + 143pp
%K philosophy
%O paperback

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