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Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos


Contact: Diane Leigh


Author Derrick Jensen & photographer Karen Tweedy-Holmes question American's family "entertainment"

The groundbreaking book, Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos, has captured the Grand Prize in the prestigious Eric Hoffer Book Awards 2008 contest. The Hoffer Book Awards honor excellence in independent publishing, freethinking writers, and books of exceptional merit.

Published by the non-profit No Voice Unheard, Thought to Exist in the Wild, critiques one of America's most unquestioned institutions: zoos. Forty-five million American adults and children visit zoos each year, yet rarely does anyone consider what zoos really teach us about animals, ourselves, and the natural world.

About Thought to Exist in the Wild, the Hoffer Award judges comment, "How can trapped animals reveal more than a glimpse of their raw beauty and natural existence? In Thought to Exist in the Wild, author Tweedy-Holmes presents unflinching portraits of captive wildlife, while Jensen surrounds them with compelling arguments that pose 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."

California writer Derrick Jensen is the author of ten books including of A Language Older Than Words and, most recently, Endgame Volume I and II. In Thought to Exist in the Wild, he uses his well-known lyrical style to range from the global to the personal, the heartbreaking to the comical, and from horror to beauty, to examine the history of zoos and their place in our current culture.

New York City photographer Karen Tweedy-Holmes provides the visual narrative, with breathtaking and often haunting photos that portray the alienation and loneliness of animals held in zoos around the world, yet illuminate the innate beauty and dignity still retained by each animal, despite his or her captivity.

Zoos are under ever-increasing public scrutiny, especially after the 2007 Christmas Day tragedy at the San Francisco zoo, in which a young man was killed by a tiger who escaped from her cage. While concerns over safety have dominated the conversation surrounding this event, the incident has also re-awakened a more fundamental debate over the ethics of keeping wild animals captive in zoos.

Thought to Exist in the Wild is available in bookstores everywhere, or may be ordered direct from the publisher at .

Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, has this to say about the book: "Finally, someone has the courage to question zoos. Animals in zoos are not ambassadors teaching us about the natural world, they're unwilling prisoners, teaching us how we as humans seem to need to dominate every living being on the planet. This is a brave book and a much needed voice on behalf of the animals."

To request a review copy of Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos, or to arrange an interview with author Derrick Jensen or photographer Karen Tweedy-Holmes, please email

No Voice Unheard is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)3 independent publisher whose books illuminate important social issues and create unique voices on behalf of those who are unseen, ignored or disregarded by society.

No Voice Unheard titles are distributed by National Book Network.

P O Box 4171 / Santa Cruz, California 95063
phone 831-440-9574 / fax 831-479-3225

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