Proud to be a Mammal (1942-97) is Czeslaw Milosz's moving and diverse collection of essays. Among them, he covers his passion for poetry, his love of the Polish language that was so nearly wiped out by the violence of the twentieth century, and his happy childhood. Milosz also includes a letter to his friend in which he voices his concern about the growing indifference to murder and the true value of freedom of thought, as well as a verbal map of Wilno, with each street revealing both a rich local history and intricate, poignant personal memories.
Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Born in Lithuania while it was still part of the Russian Empire, he lived much of his life in Poland or exiled in California. He was the author of one of the definitive books on totalitarianism, The Captive Mind, but also wrote with extraordinary vividness and moral authority on his childhood, his experiences under Nazism and on the tragedy of Central Europe.