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Hardcover Pets in America: A History Book

ISBN: 0807829900

ISBN13: 9780807829905

Pets in America: A History

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good*

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Book Overview

Entertaining and informative, Pets in America is a portrait of Americans' relationships with the cats, dogs, birds, fishes, rodents, and other animals we call our own. More than 60 percent of U.S. households have pets, and America grows more pet-friendly every day. But as Katherine C. Grier demonstrates, the ways we talk about and treat our pets--as companions, as children, and as objects of beauty, status, or pleasure--have their origins long...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great Read

This book gives an awesome insight to the everyday meaning of pet in America from colonial times to present. I will read this book again and again.

A Useful Text For The College Classroom And Beyond

Katherine C. Grier has written a book that is both entertaining and informative. Although I don't think it was intended to be a textbook, it will be a very useful book to use in the college classroom...students will not fail to be engaged by it, which will result in good discussions and thus more learning about the way our society views companion creatures. Dr. Grier blends history and visual images in a way that supports and extends the reader's general comprehension and enjoyment of the many interesting facts in it. Beyond it's usefulness in my classes, though, I have to say that this book is probably one of the best reference works for the history of pets in America that has been written to date. It's also fun to look at the pictures. It is the work of a rare type of scholar: she "reaches the student before she teaches the student." I'm going to make this a required book in my classes next Fall. Thanks, Dr. Grier, for a job well done!Pets in America: A History

For all who have a four-legged best friend

It's true that Americans love their pets. Ask anyone at school or work and your will usually get quite a story about the family pet. Katherine Grier's Pets in America: A History is a wonderful attempt to trace the history of pets in America. It is ironic to see how the social development of Americans so closely parallels the sociological importance of our pets. This book is absolutely recommended for you or the pet lover in your life. It is filled with little pithy facts about pet ownership down through the ages. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised to read of George Washington's hounds and the level to which his personal correspondence referenced them. Pet ownership has existed in some form since the 1500s and continues to grow in popularity. I found it intriguing how much of pet inclusion is tied directly to our sociological evolution. For instance, our incorporation of pets into photographs directly corresponds to American's desire to share memories with their posterity. The modern purveyor of the digital camera doesn't even give Fluffy a second thought to being included in a photo spread. Grier also shares the realities for capitalism which increasing pet ownership brought to America. In some of these sections the minutiae will creep to the surface. You would be ill advised to sit down and read it in a few sittings. I did this and found myself absorbed in the details. Instead, read this book in small chunks. It is filled with incredible information about pet ownership - and every pet lover will find it a must have for their library. George Bernard Shaw said it best: "Animals are my friends, and I don't eat my friends." I wouldn't recommend you eat your pets - but I do recommend you read this book. Armchair Interviews says: This is a yummy book!

Pets in America: A History

Pets in America: A History, was purchased as a gift to a friend who is a pet-lover. She seemed delighted with the gift. I skimmed but did not read the book in detail.

Our "favorites"

"Pets in America", an astonishingly comprehensive new book by Katherine C. Grier, relates the history of pets as we have known them from the earliest days of our nation. In doing so, she has given us a compelling look at the evolution of how different animals became popular pets, how we treat pets as a society and what their needs are compared to ours. Grier begins by asking "what is a pet?" and then follows up with remarks about "why pets matter". She sets the stage for the reader to begin to view the animals we call "pets" (and what Americans in the nineteenth century called "favorites") in a different way than just furry little creatures that greet us upon our return home. One of the many surprises I found in reading "Pets in America" was that one hundred to one hundred fifty years ago the most popular pet to have was a caged bird. She explains part of the reason by saying that there was far less noise around then and songbirds added a cheerful level of volume that was most welcome in many homes. While Grier's book understandably covers dogs, cats, birds and fish as the most common pets to find around the house, there is also a good deal of writing about livestock animals.....horses, swine, barnyard fowl and rabbits. There are many quotes from diarists of the 1800s and the most alluring ones come from children. Being much closer to "pets as dinner" she quotes a few girls who couldn't stand the thought of losing a newborn calf or lamb, knowing that it would end up on someone's dinner table....possibly their own. There's also a charming section on "the Bunnie States of America"....a club set up in 1898 by the children of an Albany, New York couple who had rules and regulations for their club, held meetings and wrote of the happenings of their beloved rabbits. Grier takes an awful lot of time in the middle of the book describing the liberal goodness of the upper middle class and their views toward treating animals with kindness and respect. Although she presents her case effectively, it is the one place where "Pets in America" bogs down a little but she picks right up again with a chapter titled, "Pet keeping and its dilemmas". As animals moved closer to humans with their increased indoor contact, boundaries necessitated change. Understandably, at the same time, livestock became more foreign to many Americans with the advent of the automobile, as horses were decreasingly necessary for transportation. However, Grier describes in great detail what city life was like prior to that with pigs running through the streets, chickens cackling in many a backyard and the undeniable stench of horse manure. The seemy side of pet life....those who dealt in the selling, trading and butchering of pets is a terrific addition to the work. It's hard to believe, sometimes, that we are just a few generations removed from all of that. The author finishes up with a look at the twentieth century arrival (on a large scale) of pet stores, pet food and other accoutreme
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