The Human Animal by Don Nelson

The Human Animal

A Revelation on Hypocrisy
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Debut author Nelson offers a plea for creative ideas to solve the problems of the modern era.

In this wide-ranging, scathing critique of the human race and, especially, the modern Western world, the author espouses progressive views, although not in the usual voice of mainstream liberalism. Instead, his work is unrestrained in tone and hard-hitting in its analysis. He begins by discussing various universal laws governing human life. A recurring theme is that of the “alpha factor”—the tendency of certain people to take on roles of leadership and of others to follow them. The author sees this as a major root of all of mankind’s problems: “The alpha factor is what causes human dissension,” he asserts. He even goes so far as to advocate that trained assassins end the lives of warlike leaders (“evil bastards”). He also cites religion, particularly Evangelical Christianity in the United States, as a destructive factor. After calling most Christian teachings myths, he blames “ignorant religious bigoted hypocrites” for distorting those myths into society-ruling dogmas. Throughout his work, Nelson blames Republicans for a wide range of evils, from tangling America in wars for the sake of profit to dismantling the nation’s educational system. His rhetoric along these lines is overarching and caustic; for example, regarding Southern slaveholding, he writes, “Many right-wing evangelical fundamentalist republicans [sic] with us today who oppose any and all progress from human misery and suffering sprang from those evil roots.” Overall, Nelson raises a variety of worthwhile points for discussion here. However, his angry rhetoric and uneven prose will impede readers from having a thoughtful dialogue with his ideas. He also would have done well to get a more thorough editorial review of his work, which might have improved its readability and appearance; its missing commas, missing apostrophes, lowercase proper nouns, and other errors are detrimental to the ideas he presents.

A flawed, curmudgeonly critique of humanity.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692-51563-1
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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