"Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn is a philosophical novel that explores humanity's relationship with the environment and the impact of civilization on the planet. The story is narrated by a telepathic gorilla named Ishmael, who engages in a Socratic dialogue with a man seeking answers about the ecological and cultural issues facing the world.
Ishmael is one of those books that changes how you see the world and human history. That was the case for me, at least. Quinn brilliantly tells the story of humanity via a conversation between a man and a giant, talking gorilla. You read that right. Though the plot is sparse, the content of the discussion between the man and Ishmael, the gorilla, reflects Quinn’s perspective on why the world is the way it is: careening off the edge of a cliff to a disastrous end. Quinn starts us 12,000 years ago when man learned agriculture up until today, growing our understanding of why our society is the way it is along the way.