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)
It's unfortunate that this well-researched book won't be read by the anti-humans aka Pit Bull haters. But haters gonna hate. They speak of the violent & aggressive tendencies of an APBT as they dream of bashing them to death with baseball bats and boiling them alive an feeding them to their owners. Can we say HYPOCRITE?? But what was enlightening to me as a proud mom of an APBT is that I have a better understanding of where the hatred/fear comes from. When you've got years of media hype in your ear and so called experts, surely they can't be wrong. It's too bad the ones screaming the loudest and the longest were never asked if they had actual experience living with or handling the dog themselves. The people were and are judge/jury/executioner and you only have to see the images of the piles of dead Pit Bulls in Denver to see the evidence of this tragedy taking place in the 21st Century. I thought we'd gotten past this, America! When you're allowed to own a lion in Miami, but not a Pit Bull, that's a problem. I digress--beautifully written and researched. Proud to own the breed and my two little Yorkies that deserve a mention. After all, they just want to be dogs. But my little secret is that they'll never be just dogs to me. They'll be part of my family.
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?
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.
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!
The best audiobook I've listened to so far.
The facts as the news should be reporting the truth to the public.
Important information for anyone working with dogs (of all kinds) ... and sometimes really tough to listen to.
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