Chelsea Green Publishing

Dreaming of Lions

Pages:320 pages
Book Art:Full color insert
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586399
Pub. Date February 23, 2016

Dreaming of Lions

My Life in the Wild Places

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
February 23, 2016

$17.95

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent a lifetime observing other creatures and other cultures, from her own backyard to the African savannah. Her books have transported millions of readers into the hidden lives of animals—from dogs and cats to deer and lions. She’s chronicled the daily lives of African tribes, and even imagined the lives of prehistoric humans.  She illuminates unknown worlds like no other. Now, she opens the doors to her own.
 
Dreaming of Lions traces Thomas’s life from her earliest days, including when, as a young woman in the 1950s, she and her family packed up and left for the Kalahari Desert to study the Ju/Wa Bushmen. The world’s understanding of African tribal cultures has never been the same since. Nor has Thomas, as the experience taught her not only how to observe, but also how to navigate in male-dominated fields like anthropology and animal science and do what she cared about most: spending time with animals and people in wild places, and relishing the people and animals around her at home.
 
Readers join Thomas as she returns to Africa, after college and marriage, with her two young children, ending up in the turmoil leading to Idi Amin’s bloody coup. She invites us into her family life, her writing, and her fascination with animals—from elephants in Namibia, to dogs in her kitchen, or cougars outside her New England farmhouse. She also recounts her personal struggles, writing about her own life with the same kind of fierce honesty that she applies to the world around her, and delivering a memoir that not only shares tremendous insights, but also provides tremendous inspiration.

Dreaming of Lions, originally published in hardcover as A Million Years With You, is slightly updated and includes a powerful new afterword by the author.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Library Journal-

"Naturalist Thomas (The Harmless People) transports readers into animal culture and behavior in this new version of her 2013 memoir A Million Years with You. The author travels to Africa, where she joins her parents in observing the indigenous tribes of the Kalahari Bushmen; Uganda, where she witnesses the brutality of former president Idi Amin; and New Hampshire. Looking back at her journeys in the Kalahari Desert in the early 1950s, Thomas beautifully describes her surroundings and the early connections she made with the wildlife. She also notes her observations of human interactions and how situations are different based on gender or status. She recalls stories of humility, learning and growing from others’ experiences, recounting her youth through adult life, and engages with the reader in joy and sorrow, which creates a deep connection that leaves you feeling like an old friend. VERDICT: This educational and heartwarming book is a ­suggested ­purchase.”

Booklist-

"'Since a choice between God and dinosaurs seemed unavoidable, I decided to believe in dinosaurs.’ Thus, the youthful Thomas (The Hidden Life of Deer, 2009) set her feet firmly on the path to biology. Beginning with what she learned in the New Hampshire woods, the author and naturalist slowly absorbed what science she could, but the fateful decision by her engineer father to take the entire family to the Kalahari gave her the lens through which she saw the world. Thomas reflects on her being forced to major in English in college, then her first several books (in anthropology, as people were considered more appropriate to study than animals). She talks of dark times: her recurring alcoholism, both her children’s serious accidents, and her husband’s ALS. But she also writes of the joy of discovery, of following a streetwise dog to see what he did all day, of studying elephant communication, and of getting to know local deer. Thomas has had a wonderfully eclectic life, thanks to her fascination with animals, writing, and the anthropology of the everyday.”

Shelf Awareness-

"From an early age, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has been enthralled with the natural world and she shares her keen observations from a lifetime of study in her memoir Dreaming of Lions. She carefully intertwines memories of her African experiences as her family followed the ways of the local Bushmen, or Ju/wasi, who lived near various waterholes in the Kalahari, with her adult life in the U.S. with her husband and children, their own journeys to Africa and their interactions with the Dodoth tribes. On these later trips, she encountered elephants and lions, hostility for being a woman and the violence of Idi Amin's regime.  Thomas deliberately doesn't follow a timeline as she tells her life's story, grouping by subject matter and themes rather than chronologically, which gives readers an interesting perspective on how this woman's creative mind works.  From microscopic waterbears living in a drop of swamp water to the leopards that prowled next to her as she slept near a waterhole to the cougar that killed a doe in her yard, Thomas shares her awe of nature with readers, providing insight into the ways of animals that is obtained only after years of careful scrutiny. Candid revelations about her own struggles with alcohol and the medical traumas endured by her family round out this undeniably powerful narrative of life that is reminiscent of The Flame Trees of Thika and Out of Africa.

Kirkus Reviews-

"A novelist and bestselling nonfiction writer's account of her life and how she became a respected observer of the natural world. Thomas (The Hidden Life of Deer: Lessons from the Natural World, 2009, etc.) grew up a city girl in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. From her engineer father, she came to love the wonders of the sky, and from her anthropologist mother, she learned that all creatures 'were on earth to be cared for.’ Direct experience with nature came from weekends and summers spent in rural New Hampshire. But thanks to the observational skills her parents encouraged her to hone, Thomas also learned about nature while watching the family's cats and dogs. As a teenager, she traveled with her parents to the Kalahari to study the Ju/wasi people where she learned about 'the rules that evolution set out for each species.' Though she longed to study biology in college, Thomas majored in English instead in part to prepare to be an articulate 1950s wife able to 'enhance her husband.' Even as she fulfilled social expectations for marriage and motherhood, her experience with anthropological fieldwork brought brilliant opportunities for research. A Guggenheim fellowship allowed Thomas to study the Dodoth people of Uganda. Later, the New Yorker gave her funds to travel to Nigeria, where her research into tribal life was interrupted by the start of a devastating civil war. Yet the good fortune and privilege that also allowed her to study lions in Namibia and wolves on Baffin Island did not render her immune from the vagaries of life. The author also battled alcoholism and contended with tragedies that left her daughter paralyzed and her son with a brain injury. Both wise and witty, Thomas' book celebrates nature as the best tonic for the ‘poison' that inevitably infiltrates even the most comfortable of human lives. A candid and humane memoir of a fascinating life.”

"We are lucky to have shared some time on Earth with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Like a shaman of words, she connects us as if by magic with other worlds hidden on our own planet. And she is the last best writer to have deeply witnessed with her own eyes the people at the cradle of humanity. Reading her is like looking through a telescope and realizing that the brightness you see actually happened long, long ago, and has taken all this time to reach your own eyes.”--Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"Dreaming of Lions is as mesmerizing as its title. It's filled with lions, elephants, hyenas, and wolves; hunter-gatherers, tribal shamans, and African despots; death-defying escapes, dazzling victories, and personal struggles—and always-glorious prose. Staggeringly original and bluntly honest, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has written a book about a life lived fearlessly and fiercely—a life that not only forever changed the way we view other peoples but also transformed the way we understand the rest of animate creation."--Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus and The Good Good Pig 

"Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's affirming, finely observed memoir recounts a life in the process of being fully and unapologetically lived; a gift from someone with an endlessly curious mind and more than eight decades on the planet. But perhaps the greatest gift of Dreaming of Lions is Marshall Thomas's signal talent: it leaves the reader feeling far less alone in the world, and much more deeply connected to it.”--Alexandra Fuller, author of Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

"It would be a gross understatement to say that Dreaming of Lions is a stunning book. Thomas is confronted by Idi Amin in Uganda; she digs roots with women gatherers in the Kalahari. In Ibadan, Nigeria, she witnesses tribal violence, religious sacrifice, and resistance to western medicine. She is a keen observer of lions, hyenas, and wild wolves. All this is interwoven with her own personal history to form a memoir of extraordinary power.”--Maxine Kumin, author of Where I Live, and former United States Poet Laureate

"Elizabeth Marshall Thomas writes with all her sense of a lifelong love affair with our planet and its astonishing life. She is a meticulous observer of human diversity and the hidden ways of animals, responding with empathy and reminding us to look with wonder.”--Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

One of the most widely read authors on anthropology and animals wild and domestic, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has observed dogs, cats, elephants, and human animals during her half-century-long career, all of which was inspired by her lengthy trips to Africa as a young woman. Her many books include Dreaming of Lions, The Hidden Life of Dogs, The Social Lives of Dogs, The Tribe of Tiger, The Old Way, and The Hidden Life of Deer. She lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

AUTHOR EVENTS

July 08, 2018

Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas at Monadnock Lyceum

Monadnock Summer Lyceum, Peterborough, NH | Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas will speak as part of the Monadnock Lyceum Summer Speaking Series on July 8.

See all Events by this Author

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Walking with the Great Apes

Walking with the Great Apes

By Sy Montgomery

2017 is the 50th anniversary of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda.

Three astounding women scientists have in recent years penetrated the jungles of Africa and Borneo to observe, nurture, and defend humanity's closest cousins. Jane Goodall has worked with the chimpanzees of Gombe for nearly 50 years; Diane Fossey died in 1985 defending the mountain gorillas of Rwanda; and Biruté Galdikas lives in intimate proximity to the orangutans of Borneo. All three began their work as protégées of the great Anglo-African archeologist Louis Leakey, and each spent years in the field, allowing the apes to become their familiars--and ultimately waging battles to save them from extinction in the wild.

Their combined accomplishments have been mind-blowing, as Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas forever changed how we think of our closest evolutionary relatives, of ourselves, and of how to conduct good science. From the personal to the primate, Sy Montgomery--acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and The Good Good Pig--explores the science, wisdom, and living experience of three of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century.



Available in: Paperback

Read More

Walking with the Great Apes

Sy Montgomery, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Paperback $24.95

Tamed and Untamed

Tamed and Untamed

By Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Extraordinary new insights into the minds and lives of our fellow creatures from two of the world’s top animal authors, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Sy Montgomery.

"In their writing and in their lives and in their remarkable friendship, Liz and Sy break down false barriers and carry us closer to our fellow creatures.”—from the foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company

Tamed and Untamed―a collection of essays penned by two of the world's most celebrated animal writers, Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas―explores the minds, lives, and mysteries of animals as diverse as snails, house cats, hawks, sharks, dogs, lions, and even octopuses.

Drawing on stories of animals both wild and domestic, the two authors, also best friends, created this book to put humans back into the animal world. The more we learn about what other animals think and do, they explain, the more we understand ourselves as animals, too. Writes Montgomery, “The list of attributes once thought to be unique to our species―from using tools to waging war―is not only rapidly shrinking, but starting to sound less and less impressive when we compare them with other animals’ powers.”

With humor, empathy, and introspection, Montgomery and Thomas look into the lives of all kinds of creatures―from man’s best friend to the great white shark―and examine the ways we connect with our fellow species. Both authors have devoted their lives to sharing the animal kingdom’s magic with others, and their combined wisdom is an indispensable contribution to the field of animal literature.

The book contains a foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of the bestseller Elephant Company.

Prior praise for Sy Montgomery, author of Soul of an Octopus and Good, Good Pig and finalist for the 2015 National Book Award:

“Equal parts poet and scientist.”—The New York Times

“Part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.”—The Boston Globe

“Sy Montgomery has insight into the Others that every nature writer on this continent envies." —Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf

Prior praise for Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs and Tribe of Tiger:

"We are lucky to have shared some time on Earth with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Like a shaman of words, she connects us as if by magic with other worlds hidden on our own planet."—Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"Thomas has a magical feel for the patterns of the natural world . . . ."—Publishers Weekly

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Tamed and Untamed

Sy Montgomery, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Vicki Constantine Croke

Paperback $17.95

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Sex and the River Styx

Sex and the River Styx

By Edward Hoagland

Called the best essayist of his time by luminaries like Philip Roth, John Updike, and Edward Abbey, Edward Hoagland brings readers his ultimate collection. In Sex and the River Styx, the author's sharp eye and intense curiosity shine through in essays that span his childhood exploring the woods in his rural Connecticut, his days as a circus worker, and his travels the world over in his later years.

Here, we meet Hoagland at his best: traveling to Kampala, Uganda, to meet a family he'd been helping support only to find a divide far greater than he could have ever imagined; reflecting on aging, love, and sex in a deeply personal, often surprising way; and bringing us the wonder of wild places, alongside the disparity of losing them, and always with a twist that brings the genre of nature writing to vastly new heights. His keen dissection of social realities and the human spirit will both startle and lure readers as they meet African matriarchs, Tibetan yak herders, circus aerialists, and the strippers who entertained college boys in 1950s Boston. Says Howard Frank Mosher in his foreword, the self-described rhapsodist "could fairly be considered our last, great transcendentalist."

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Sex and the River Styx

Edward Hoagland, Howard Frank Mosher

Paperback $17.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.


The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.


"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

By Les Leopold

A CIA-connected labor union, an assassination attempt, a mysterious car crash, listening devices, and stolen documents--everything you'd expect from the latest thriller. Yet, this was the reality of Tony Mazzocchi, the Rachel Carson of the U.S. workplace; a dynamic labor leader whose legacy lives on in today's workplaces and ongoing alliances between labor activists and environmentalists, and those who believe in the promise of America.

In The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi, author and labor expert Les Leopold recounts the life of the late Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union leader. Mazzocchi's struggle to address the unconscionable toxic exposure of tens of thousands of workers led to the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and included work alongside nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood. His noble, high-profile efforts forever changed working conditions in American industry--and made him enemy number one to a powerful few.

As early as the 1950s, when the term "environment" was nowhere on the political radar, Mazzocchi learned about nuclear fallout and began integrating environmental concerns into his critique of capitalism and his union work. An early believer in global warming, he believed that the struggle of capital against nature was the irreconcilable contradiction that would force systemic change.

Mazzocchi's story of non-stop activism parallels the rise and fall of industrial unionism. From his roots in a pro-FDR, immigrant family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, through McCarthyism, the Sixties, and the surge of the environmental movement, Mazzocchi took on Corporate America, the labor establishment and a complacent Democratic Party.

This profound biography should be required reading for those who believe in taking risks and making the world a better place. While Mazzocchi's story is so full of peril and deception that it seems almost a work of fiction, Leopold proves that the most provocative and lasting stories in life are those of real people.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

Les Leopold

Paperback $39.95

One-Straw Revolutionary

One-Straw Revolutionary

By Larry Korn

One-Straw Revolutionary represents the first commentary on the work of the late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka (1913 – 2008), widely considered to be natural farming’s most influential practitioner. Mr. Fukuoka is perhaps most known for his bestselling book The One-Straw Revolution (1978), a manifesto on the importance of no-till agriculture, which was at the time of publication a radical challenge to the global systems that supply the world’s food, and still inspires readers today. Larry Korn, who apprenticed with Mr. Fukuoka in Japan at the time, translated the manuscript and brought it to the United States, knowing it would change the conversation about food forever. The One-Straw Revolution, edited by Korn and Wendell Berry, was an immediate international success, and established Mr. Fukuoka as a leading voice in the fight against conventional industrial agriculture. In this new book, through his own personal narrative, Larry Korn distills his experience of more than thirty-five years of study with Mr. Fukuoka, living and working on his farm on Shikoku Island, and traveling with Mr. Fukuoka to the United States on two six-week visits.  

One-Straw Revolutionary is the first book to look deeply at natural farming and intimately discuss the philosophy and work of Mr. Fukuoka. In addition to giving his personal thoughts about natural farming, Korn broadens the discussion by pointing out natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming. At the same time, he clearly distinguishes natural farming from other forms of agriculture, including scientific and organic agriculture and permaculture. Korn also clarifies commonly held misconceptions about natural farming in ways Western readers can readily understand. And he explains how natural farming can be used practically in areas other than agriculture, including personal growth and development.

The book follows the author on his travels from one back-to-the-land commune to another in the countryside of 1970s Japan, a journey that eventually led him to Mr. Fukuoka’s natural farm. Korn’s description of his time there, as well as traveling with Mr. Fukuoka during his visits to the United States, offers a rare, inside look at Mr. Fukuoka’s life. Readers will delight in this personal insight into one of the world’s leading agricultural thinkers.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

One-Straw Revolutionary

Larry Korn

Paperback $19.95