When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate, timid pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed - beloved by Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and TV's Little Rascals - come to be known as a brutal fighter? Her search for answers takes her from 19th-century New York City dogfighting pits - the cruelty of which drew the attention of the recently formed ASPCA - to early 20th-century movie sets where pit bulls cavorted with Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton; from the battlefields of Gettysburg and the Marne, where pit bulls earned presidential recognition, to desolate urban neighborhoods where the dogs were loved, prized, and brutalized.
Whether through love or fear, hatred or devotion, humans are bound to the history of the pit bull. With unfailing thoughtfulness and compassion and a firm grasp of scientific fact, Dickey offers us a clear-eyed portrait of this extraordinary breed and an insightful view of Americans' relationships with their dogs.
©2016 Bronwen Dickey (P)2016 Tantor
"This [is] exceptional, thoroughly researched, and expertly written work." (Library Journal)
If you're not the lead dog, then the view from behind never changes
I LOVED this book! Not only for the content, but for the narration as well.
Randy Kaye did a marvelous job narrating this book. Her voice just flowed with the reading. Everything was precise and she was so easy to listen to. I will look for more books she has narrated.
The author did a a wonderful job with the investigation for the content of this book. It was all so interesting and eye opening.
We have a dog that is least partially Pit Bull, as we know her mother was a Pit. Her name is Simba as she looks just like the lion on The Lion King. She is the most wonderful, loving, athletic, strong, smart pet that I have ever known. So for me, the book was personally gratifying as the words in this book verified what we all along had thought about having a Pit bull.
We live in a subdivision where it is in our covenant's that you can't have a dog that is 50% pit bull or more. We have had her for 4 yrs now and haven't been run out of town yet! Probably because she is so friendly, loving and just so darn cute!
Buy this book whether you have a Pit or not. You will be glad you did!
This book is an impressive piece of reporting, with important information for anyone concerned about animal welfare in the United States. It not only presents a thorough description of the history of pit bulls and pit bull prejudice in this country, but it also describes a thought provoking connection between racial discrimination, social equity, and pit bull type dogs. Fascinating, well written and engaging!
Easily one of the best of the genre. Rightly emphasises the inseparable link between what these dogs have come to symbolize in our culture and the people perceived to own them.
This is a meticulously researched and fascinating look at the social history of the "pit bull" (which isn't an actual breed). As a dog lover, I found parts of this book heartbreaking, but finished it with a newfound respect for all dogs and the people who protect them. I especially appreciated the discussion of how these poor dogs have borne the brunt of racism. I'm now signing up to volunteer for one of the organizations described in the book.
Important information for anyone working with dogs (of all kinds) ... and sometimes really tough to listen to.
Loved this book, so interesting and important to learn how enmeshed in history the story of these dogs is.
great testament to our loving companions. explains the depths of our stupidity as humans in portraying one group or another as "less than" keeps repeating for centuries. when will we as a species learn that only when our kin have what they need, then we will have plenty?
I enjoy listening to books rather than reading them, especially when the narrartors are good, like this one.
This book teaches so much about many dog breeds, and how the relationship between dog and humans has evolved over centuries. She explains how dogs have been used to serve people, labeled, persecuted, and even killed unnecessarily by ignorant hysterical people. It was obvious this author did her homework. She clearly demonstrates, with facts, how the prejiduce against certain breeds more often than not, is not fact driven. instead it is highly emotional resulting in too many breeds that have been labeled as "dangerous" without considering all of the actual facts. Bad (ignorant) owners should be held accountable for producing "bad" dogs. Sure, on occasion there are dogs that are untrainable, but this is rarity. Additionally, we all know the press and news stations can capture and maintain a steady audience by keeping them fearful. In reality most, 99.9% would be my best guess, cases of "bad" dogs are a direct product of their environment and "bad" owners.
There is no favorite section of this book. I enjoyed the entire thing.
Understanding Pit Bulls
I bought this book during a daily deal in high anticipation of a great read, but was extremely disappointed in what I bought for my four dollars.
The author clearly came to the conclusion that there is no greater danger posed by the pitt bull terrier than by other dogs, then cherry picked data to support that hypothesis.
If Brownen had simply stated that Pitt Bulls pose no more danger than other large dogs bred to guard and fight then I would have no problem with her conclusions. Instead she denigrates people who are concerned with PBs as alarmists who have no proof of their danger save for anecdote. Then in the next breath she uses an anecdote to show how sweet these dogs are.
The book has several instances of truth distortions i.e. the only factor that determines the strength of a dogs bite is its overall size when in reality the width of a dog skull and muscle attachment is pertinent.
There are also contradictions in the book that invalidate her arguments i.e. in the opening chapters of the book she implies that PBs only cause damage because of their irresponsible owners and then in the closing chapters she applauds the PFL which is a group that provides free vet. care and basic supplies like collars and leashes for poor dog owners who cannot afford them(these are the irresponsible people of whom she spoke in her former chapters).
The most infuriating thing about the book is that the author constantly cites race(the human kind) as one of the predominant reasons that PBs are so universally maligned. She backs up this assertion with anecdote, hearsay, and wild supposition. The entire epilogue is basically a non sequitur about Michael Brown that is bizarrely twisted to fit her narrative.
In short this could have been a great book that explored the merits of the breed, the dangers of the breed, and interesting facts about PBs and canines in general. Instead you get a biased look at PB behavior that often bizarrely diverges into identity/racial politics.
PS I own a pittbull mix who is the gentlest dog that I have ever owned but I understand that their temperament, like all dog breeds, can vary wildly.
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