So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, 1998 - Nature - 267 pages
7 Reviews

At least until cloning becomes the order of the day, Rene Dubos contends that each human being is unique, unprecedented, unrepeatable. However, today each person faces the critical danger of losing this very humanness to his mechanized surroundings. Most people spend their days in a confusion of concrete and steel, trapped "in the midst of noise, dirt, ugliness and absurdity." So begins the essential message of the work of one of the great figures in microbiology and experimental pathology of this century.

Is the human species becoming dehumanized by the condition of his environment? So "Human an Animal "is an attempt to address this broad concern, and explain why so little is being done to address this issue. The book sounds both an urgent warning, and offers important policy insights into how this trend towards dehumanization can be halted and finally reversed. Dubos asserts that we are as much the product of our total environment as of our genetic endowment. In fact, the environment we live in can greatly enhance, or severely Hmit, the development of human potential. Yet we are deplorably ignorant of the effects of our surroundings on human life. We create conditions which can only thwart human nature.

So "Human an Animal "is a book with hope no less than alarm. As Joseph Wood Krutch noted at the time, Dubos shows convincingly "why science is indispensable, not omnipotent." Science'can change our suicidal course by learning to deal analytically with the living experience of human beings, by supplementing the knowledge of things and of the body machine with a science of human life. Only then can we give larger scope to human freedom by providing a rational basis for option and action. Timely, eloquent, and guided by a deep humanistic spirit, this new edition is graced by a succinct and careful outline of the life and work of the author.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: So Human an Animal: How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events

User Review  - Danielle - Goodreads

We are still struggling with the same issues: moving away from our natural roots, living in congested cities, uncontrolled pollution. No wonder people are losing it in the 21st Century. Read full review

Review: So Human an Animal: How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events

User Review  - Nathaniel Weiner - Goodreads

While it seems mainstream now, all the concepts of environmentalism must have been earth shattering when it came out 40 years ago Read full review

Related books


The Unbelievable Future
Mans Nature and Human History
Biological Remembrance of Things Past
The Living Experience
The Pursuit of Significance
The Science of Humanity
Reference Notes

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

References from web pages

So Human an Animal by Rene Dubos
The overall picture presented in So Human An Animal is pessimistic in its diagnosis of the ills of contemporary Western civilization. ... jfpp/ joan/ essays/ dubos.html

So Human an Animal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events, written by René Dubos and published by Scribner in 1968. [1] It won the 1969 Pulitzer ... wiki/ So_Human_An_Animal

So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped By Surroundings and Events ...
A Smorgasbord of Systemic Succulence and Dynamic Delicacies 2004/ 05/ so-human-an-animal-how-we-are-shaped-by-surroundings-and-events/

So Human an Animal (Dubos, René) -- Bibliography (issues) Online
So Human an Animal (Dubos, René) -- Bibliography (issues) Online by the Union of International Associations (UIA), an international non-governmental ... db/ x.php?dbcode=re& subject=1334& go=e& id=13477000

In 1969 Dubos won the Pulitzer Prize for So Human an Animal (1968). ... So Human an Animal is an attempt to address this broad concern, and explain why so ... dubos.htm

René Dubos : Of Human Nature (1968)
From Chapter III of "So Human an Animal." In common usage, the phrase "human nature" refers chiefly if not exclusively to the psychological and moral ... dubos/ humannature.1968.html

So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events ...
So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events (Scribner Library of Contemporary Cla) by Rene Jules Dubos → See this at ... item/ view/ 66444

Dubos, René Jules: Biography and Much More from
In his later years his interest shifted to the relationship of humans to the natural environment; his So Human an Animal (1968) won the Pulitzer Prize. ... topic/ dubos-ren-jules

Dubos, René Jules - MSN Encarta
Among his books are Health and Disease and Man Adapting (both published in 1965); Man, Medicine and Environment (1968); and So Human an Animal (1969). ... encyclopedia_761572673/ dubos_ren%C3%A9_jules.html

Rene Dubos and Jared Diamond dream of Dutch polders -- Mackenbach ...
He received the 1969 Pulitzer prize for his bestselling So Human an Animal, in which he argues how man is profoundly shaped by his environment.2 ... cgi/ content/ full/ 16/ 6/ 575

About the author (1998)

René Dubos was professor at The Rockefeller University in New York. He was a celebrated microbiologist and experimental pathologist. He was the first to demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining germ-fighting drugs from microbes. Among his many writings are So Human an Animal, The Torch of Life, and The Unseen World.

David Mechanic is director of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and René Dubos University Professor at Rutgers University. Among his books are Mental Health and Social Policy, The Truth About Health Care, and Policy Challenges in Modern Health Care.

Bibliographic information