Thought to Exist in the Wild:

Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos
by Derrick Jensen, photographs by Karen Tweedy-Holmes


Awards & Honors:

Independent Publisher Book Award (Silver)
Eric Hoffer Book Award (Grand Prize)


Reviews & Endorsements:

Andrew Hurley, drummer, Grammy-nominated band Fall Out Boy:
"Derrick Jensen lays bare the reality of zoos: prisons for the wild creatures whose worlds we have utterly destroyed with our ‘progress'. He makes apparent the repression and alienation that zoos represent… Yet, there is the glint of the unbreakable spirit of life in each of these beautiful living beings' eyes, and Jensen infuses us with hope for something better. He gives us the courage to do whatever it takes to reclaim a wild, pure and interconnected life with the natural world."

John Robbins, author of Diet For A New America, The Food Revolution, and Healthy At 100:
Thought to Exist in the Wild is a great book. It’s beautiful; it’s true; it’s visionary; it’s clear; and it’s going to have an immense impact on the consciousness of anyone who reads it.”

Edward Hoffer Book Award (Grand Prize Winner): “…Tweedy-Holmes presents unflinching portraits of captive wildlife, while Jensen surrounds them with compelling argument that poses the question: What purpose does a zoo really serve? Any viable civilization must reach the conclusion that man is the dominant species – not the superior one – and that mere curiosity is hardly justification for what we have done and continue to do to wildlife. In the end, a zoo says more about us as a society than about the animals themselves.”

“An impassioned argument for the dissolution of zoos and a return to a lifestyle that enables man to live in equal relationship to his animal, plant, and inanimate neighbors in nature… an intelligent, well-organized debate… written in a conversational tone that engages the reader while tackling a subject encompassing psychological, social, and environmental issues… (Jensen) writes with a conviction that leads readers to think deeply about what their own beliefs are about zoos.”

Library journal:
“This sensitive and thought-provoking volume raises more questions than it answers but compels nonetheless. Are we our brother's keeper? And, if so, just who (or what) is our brother? The book is not about conditions in which animals are held captive; instead, it explores the question of why animals are held captive at all…. Its strength and objectivity comes from Tweedy-Holmes's photographs that depict animals as contained, confined, and imprisoned. A beautifully constructed if polemical work.”, From the Stacks:
“…the distinguished environmental author inveighs against zoos. These symbols of humanity's false sense of superiority over nature, Jensen argues, imprison more than they educate or protect. The accompanying photos by Karen Tweedy-Holmes provide a heartbreaking look into the reality faced by animals in many zoos… a wholesale condemnation of these false and confined ‘habitats.’ “

Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Author of
Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good: “Jensen provides a poetic text written from the heart… his criticisms are piercing. Tweedy-Holmes’s black and white photos show the dignity and grace of animals despite their artificial surroundings. The images are poignant without any hint of being manipulative. This book will change your next visit to a zoo, if you decide to go at all.”

“…Jensen writes in a deliberately polemical style, challenging the reader with language that is in turn sarcastic and poetic but always urgent and angry… Tweedy-Holmes’ photos, in stark black and white, are views of animals in obvious incarceration… A good choice for presenting the other side in the moral debate about zoos.”

Midwest Book Review:
“A protest against human environmental destruction of wild habitat, and especially, the incarceration of wild animals in zoos. The compelling black and white photography poignantly illustrates the passionately charged essays in this thought-provoking manifesto.”