I wouldn't have even finished this book if it weren't for Richard Dawkins' recommendation. It's from 1961 and reads like one of those pulp sci-fi novels of that era where the writer thinks up a good gimmick (in this case, a world without light) and then inhabits it with cardboard characters, slight sense of place and regular action that has no tension. Gimmicky, that's the word that comes to mind - with silly uses of language that hammer us over the head - people curse with the word "Radiation!" and whenever one of us might shout "Oh God!", the characters instead say "Oh Light!" There are so many interesting things that could've been done with the mechanics of a world without light but the author doesn't even explain how they get their vitamin D and what the livestock live on. No one ever goes to the bathroom in the entire book -- yet they live in enclosed caves where the stench from open pit latrines would be overwhelming. Even the novel's, last sentence is weak. The concept that so intrigued Dawkins is not fleshed out and could've been better told in a short story. The previous reviewer said he was bored at times but gave it four stars. I was bored most of the time, except at the end when (not a spoiler) there's discussion of how people adjust to encountering light. One star.
I really enjoyed this discussion. It starts with an unnamed person talking about the treatment of American Indians, bringing up how they're the only ethnic group in the world that has to prove ancestry in order to claim to belong to the group. Then there's Churchill's talk plus Q&A. Some of it is moot now but it doesn't really require any knowledge of his travails at the University of Colorado to get what's going on. Basically, he wrote a 20-page essay that contained one phrase that some people objected to -- claiming that some people working at the World Trade Center were part of a Nazi-like machine devoted to exploiting and even killing people in other countries for profit. He goes back to the massacre of Indians by white Europeans near the site of the World Trade Center and how the white Europeans celebrated by using the Indians' heads as soccer balls for a game. And he brings things forward from there. One area where I think Churchill failed was when someone brought up how he wants freedom of speech to say the things he says (which many find offensive) and his protests to keep others from marching in Columbus Day parades from expressing their opinions. He cites the 9th Amendment saying it trumps the 1st Amendment. Couldn't people say the same about his opinions? Regardless, I found the whole thing very thought-provoking from the first word to the last.
Just finished this book and loved it. My wife listened to it twice and told me I had to hear it. It's riveting as well as inspiring. Basically, it's about people helping rescue animals in horrible situations.
For those who can't bear to hear about animals being mistreated, the descriptions are not lengthy or too graphic. You get just enough information to understand what's happening and then it's back to the action. It's the same with any philosophical talk about obligations toward and mistreatment of nonhuman animals. This is kept to a minimum, just enough to understand why the people are doing what they're doing in each situation.
As for Tricia's one-star review below, she clearly didn't listen to the book. For instance, she says the animals are released to the wild to face an even worse life. Homes are lined up for all of the animals saved in this book. She also calls the groups extremist. As for that, you'll have to listen for yourself. Almost all cases described here involved people working in the labs who couldn't take the cruelty anymore and sought out people who could help them help the animals. There's so much kindness and thoughtfulness in the book that the only "extreme" behavior on display is that done by those experimenting on animals. For instance, there are the dogs whose ear drums are shattered and their bodies harmed as they are forced to replicate deep-diving situations. No progress is being made on treating the mild cases of the bends suffered by Navy men and women. No progress for 40 years. Yet the dogs keep being tortured because if they aren't, the lab doesn't get its federal funding renewed.
The production values are dated but very listenable.
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