2 thoughts on “Donkey: The Mystique of Equus Asinus”

  1. Donkey: the surprise book of 2006 I was skeptical when I was handed this book by one of my fellow lawyers in the office. Why on earth would I be interested in a book about, of all subjects, Donkeys, unless it happened to be about the Democratic party? But the images throughout the book were so enticing I decided to invest my time and read this book. Well, what a surprise! I had no idea of the rich history, elogence, complexity, culture and travails of what I had always perceived of as the simple, stupid donkey. And perhaps the most interesting fact of all: if you are referred to as a donkey, (or its more popular pseudonym), is that it is actually a compliment, not an insult! Turns out that donkeys are really smart. Who knew? I would highly recommend this book if you want a fun, interesting, and eye-opening read. How Michael Tobias got on to this subject is baffling; what he did with his “tail” will enchant you.

  2. Don’t Miss This Book! There are many great things about the book. The images – photos and artwork are outstanding. There are lots of surprising facts about donkeys, mules, and the history of civilization. There is beautiful writing – weaving between the personal and the universal. There is rigorous, careful scholarship, a treasure trove of careful citations to explore. The book has a majestic sweep and keen attention to detail and accuracy. Any one of these aspects of the book would make it worth the modest price. But The truly wonderful thing about this book and the beast it describes, is that it makes you think. The book nudges the reader into unanticipated realms of philosophical reflection. It is deep and rich and wise, but like the burro, humble, sensually centered and honest. You are, for example, reading along – facts about donkeys – and then, all of a sudden, you get something like this: “What do we really know about animals? What can we say with accuracy about ourselves?” Chew on that a while! The book has dozens of such moments, opportunities to step out of the crazy, violent, acquisitive struggles of our historical moment to consider some fundamentals of the mammalian and human condition. It’s a great book about a great animal and our connection to the animal world. I own two burros and have long looked to them for council. This book is utterly accurate in its portrayal of the species. It’s affectionate and respectful, happliy missing the kitsch and anthropomorphism that most writers bring to books about their favorite animals. Don’t miss it.

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