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Raising the Peaceable Kingdom: What Animals Can Teach Us about the Social Origins of Tolerance & Friendship
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Raising the Peaceable Kingdom: What Animals Can Teach Us about the Social Origins of Tolerance & Friendship

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  94 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
“I did not want to fail, because the stakes were too high. After all, I was after nothing less than the secret of human harmony.” The challenge that bestselling author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson set for himself was formidable: to create a true interspecies peaceable kingdom within his own household. He hoped to learn if several different species–some, natural enemies–raised ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 2005)
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Livia Stone
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
The premise of this book excited me. My expectations were high. The animals didn't disappoint, but the human did.

The author throws a bunch of animals together to see if they can get along, and of course they do - predator and prey relationships are tossed aside in a situation where basic needs are taken care of and there is no need to compete for resources. The animals are adorable and their stories compelling.

As a firm believer in rescue and responsibilty, I was disheartened when the author cho
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh, man, was this book ever wacky. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson decides to conduct an "experiment" in building a peaceful community of domesticated animals. He obtains dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, and chickens for some reason. What about parakeets, Jeff? What of sheep? Pigs? Hamsters? Doesn't he know there are a lot more domesticated animals out there from which to choose? I guess not, he chooses these animals and the grand experiment is off and running! The results of it are pretty much what you wou ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals, philosophy
This is an interesting concept and idea, but I really had some unhappy feelings about the way the author executed it.

The author wanted to do an "experiment" and see if he could raise animals that are considered to be natural enemies together, and see if they could overcome their differences and co-exist, and ultimately see if it would be possible for them to actually become friends or even "soul-mates." The animals he chose were birds, cats, rats, rabbits, and dogs.

The main thing that gave me a
Jane Humane
Mar 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
I was very surprised that this book disappointed me the way it did. I read Masson's '9 Emotional Lives of Cats' before and thought highly of it.
This book came off, at least to me, as an ego driven narrative.
I wasn't happy with Masson before when I realized that he gave away 3 of his cats from another books' timeframe; but after this book's conclusion notifying readers (SPOILER)that he gave away another 4 pets/companions(at least-I had to stop before I found out about whether or not the cat stay
Chris Keefe
Jun 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Well-read, but uninspiring, and occasionally hard to get around the ego.
Kylie Stoneburner
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This book by Masson is the easiest, fastest read of the now four books of his I have read. It is a narrative stream - as opposed to the various anecdotes that usually populate his books - that makes for light, fast, easy reading. Nothing terribly earth-shattering here, but an illuminating journey nonetheless as Masson strives to find out if animals who are known to be, to some degree, "enemies" of one another can overcome that if they are raised from their formative weeks and months under the sa ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
As soon as this guy admitted he wasn't even sure what to feed some of the animals he got in this whimsical experiment, I was like, are you kidding me? He seemed to have a decent heart but very little reflective capabilities - somebody who does things wrong not because of malign intent but because they just assume they're a decent person and must be doing well. He didn't research his animals, he didn't do a good job keeping them safe, and he bought some of his animals (he makes excuses for himsel ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
Raising the Peaceable Kingdom lacked substance. The author made grand claims from a few instances that might or might not have been interpreted correctly. For example, one of the grand claims he makes is that he "has brought joy to the animals" in his experiment. I think you could argue for a better life, or contentment even, but joy? That is a stretch for me. No one can determine another's mind enough to know whether they are feeling joy. Even if they are human and tell you they are feeling joy ...more
Jan 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animalia
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson is the former director of the Freud Institute, and a psychoanalyst who is especially interested in the emotional lives of animals. In this book, he attempts to create a “peaceable kingdom” by raising animals together who would not otherwise be friends: two rats, two chickens, a dog, three cats, and a rabbit. This book is interesting because of what it shows about animals (which, though predictable, is fun to watch), but also because of the hope it holds for humans to be ...more
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
The theme of this book is amazing but I was so frustrated by how the writer conducted his "experiment". I don't use the quotation marks in the same way they are used in the book, but rather to mock the entire process by which this was executed. Maybe the "results" seemed obvious and juvenile to me because I grew up on a family farm and experienced the interactions of happy animals from childhood, but I just found myself jealous that this guy made royalties from documenting his (poorly researched ...more
Alessandro Balestra
Storia di un esperimento poco "scientifico" ma molto "umano". Possono convivere in pace e armonia animali di specie diverse? E noi esseri umani possiamo imparare dagli animali? Da profano l'approccio dell'autore non sembra molto professionale ma il racconto è comunque interessante e per nulla scontato. Carino
Tracy Canuck
Jan 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
The arrogance of this guy, tho. Could he be any more condescending to the non-vegetarians out there?
And it's an experiment in the loosest use of the term. There was no science behind it he didn't research at all before he put these animals together. He didn't even know what to feed them :-(
And supposedly this guy a "best selling author"
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I love this author and have read a lot of his books, all of which I enjoyed thoroughly. Unfortunately this is the worst of the bunch, even though the premise is fascinating. It didn't really deliver, but I sort of liked it anyway.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story - I want to recreate this experiment at my home.
May 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Interesting reading but glad when I finished. Not much substance - just interesting chit-chatty story.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
OK book for $1 at Dollar Tree
Amy Pogrebin
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very cute read---peace is possible---with patience, acceptance and time.
It is possible for animals who might normally be predatorial to each other to live in harmony and peace. Very intriguing story!
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He has written several books books critical of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychiatry as well as books on animals, their emotions and their rights.

He currently lives in New Zealand with his wife, two sons, three cats and three rats.
More about Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson