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Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir Paperback – February 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743291948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743291941
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having grown up poor and gay, with a penchant for punk rock and Lawrence Welk, Mathews, who is now campaign chief for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had a rough start. But his camp, cosmopolitan and crass memoir is like a life lesson from the Island of Misfit Toys: a study of the unwitting heroism and adventures of an outsider dedicated to a cause. Less a treatise than a picaresque tale, his book wouldn't be complete without a bit of persuasion, whether detailing the horrors of the fur industry, factory farming or animal experimentation. But he's as willing to make fun of himself as he is of his many targets—including Vogue editor Anna Wintour (who, he says, "looks as if she has constant, painful gas") and deli-meat–hurling Iowan children. Then again, this is a man who dresses up regularly in a carrot costume. Aided by humor, luck and friends like Pamela Anderson and Morrissey, Mathews makes clear there is savvy to his controversial methods. "The flair you bring to a protest is as important as the issues themselves—if you want to reach beyond the small core of whoever might care about an issue." Those at odds with Mathews's ideals are bound to find him irritating, but open-minded readers will discover a charming polemicist. (Apr. 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Animal rights activist Mathews is the exuberant mastermind behind many of the audacious, headline-grabbing protests that have made PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) such an effective and controversial organization. And just as PETA's approach to raising awareness of scientific, agricultural, and industrial cruelty toward animals involves strategic high jinks, saucy irreverence, and shock tactics, Mathews, an "agitator by nature," mixes outrageous humor with dishy anecdotes and searing revelations to create a wildly entertaining memoir and a spirited overview of a serious social issue. Openly gay and steeled by the bullying he endured as a boy, Mathews has always felt empathy for animals. Initially a receptionist for PETA in 1985, he proved to be an outside-the-box thinker and daredevil protestor, possessed of as much charm as daring and, at six foot five, impressive good looks. Mathews has enlisted the likes of rockers Morrissey and Chrissie Hynde and sex symbol Pamela Anderson in the cause, and he has advocated and been arrested all over world. The force of his convictions and his love of life electrify every page. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I started to read this book and couldn't put it down till I finished!
E. E. McCoy
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for an enjoyable way to learn how to make this world a better place.
A. Pennington
Dan Mathews presents a very entertaining, funny and thought provoking Memoir.
Laura Campbell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laura F. on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dan's book is a trip! From his lonely childhood to his liaisons with celebrities, Dan takes you to all kinds of interesting places in his writings. He has turned his passion for animal rights into a career, using his gift of gab and endearing charm to enlighten so many people to have more compassion for animals. This book is a must-read. It is entertaining and fun, full of positive and upbeat experiences. Real men are kind to animals, and in my book, Dan is the man!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tim Martin on April 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Born to a hurricane-seeking earth mother, Dan Mathews has become a force of nature, taking the world by storm with his out-of-the-box campaigns for PETA. Your take on his methods may vary, but you cannot argue with his results.

Committed is a delicious read, easy to digest with plenty of juicy nuggets, and a flavor that will linger in your gut as well as your mind. Told with an unbridled exuberance and a shameless animal magnetism, the book artfully assembles the jigsaw puzzle pieces that have naturally transformed a shy and ridiculed boy into literally the world's greatest stuntman.

From a mystery-shrouded meeting at the Vatican, to the raucous and raunchy Kid Rock's invitation to dance with him at a fancy Vienna ball, Mathews gaily takes us on a swashbuckling journey of heart, soul, courage, humor, creativity and cosmic karma. This globe-trotting veggie-bound vagabond takes the reader on a light-hearted journey that will leave you feeling the heart - and seeing the light.

Mathews doesn't apologize for his tactics; he has no need to. A Harvard case study proved that straight information is ignored, while sensationalism makes the nightly news. In our MTV sound-bite culture, Dan has found the recipe for getting the message heard - and acted upon. His personality and sincerity converted fashion icon Calvin Klein from a victim of Mathews' vandalism into a socializing buddy who has sworn off selling fur. Getting the message heard is sometimes the hardest part.

Dan uses wit and W.I.T. (whatever it takes) to get PETA's message heard, with some amazing results.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. E. McCoy on April 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I started to read this book and couldn't put it down till I finished! I loved every chapter. Dan's amazing life has been so well lived and with such courage and conviction! I hope he writes another book down the road!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Harvey S. Karten on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like any committed vegetarian (vegan during the week, a little fish on weekends), I have the usual books on my shelf: the Bible of the movement, Peter's Singer's "Animal Liberation," of course; plus "The Way We Eat," "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon," "The Food Revolution," "The Gospel of Food," Animals Rights," in other words the kinds of literature that omnivores might pass right by as holier-than-thou bores. That's where Dan Mathews comes in. He believes that the only way to get the veggie message across is to be entertaining. Didn't tens of thousands gather at Woodstock to hear the rock singers at least as much as to listen to antiwar speakers?

To persuade people to avoid fur coats, Dan Mathews-the author of the book-was committed to jail for a short time for an anti-fur demonstration. He with a small group of young men and women demonstrated in Harvard Square virtually nude, passing out leaflets for the cause amid a flurry of gawkers and TV reporters, explaining later that the only way to get media coverage is to go over-the-top: "We'd rather go naked than wear fur." No-one is interested in a peaceful demonstration of people holding dull placards and passing out brochures.

Mathews , who is campaign chief for America's best-known vegetarian organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been openly gay since he was a kid, was picked up unmercifully-had rocks thrown at him and was beaten up regularly, thereby forming the basis of his theory that animals, like people, should be treated kindly. He has dressed regularly as a carrot, as a bunny, and has brought flair to what to thinking people should safely be called a civil rights movement, one for an oppressed group that does not speak the language of human beings and cannot therefore defend themselves.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By stratolounger on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Although this book contains plenty of information about animal rights, it's really different from what you might expect: Instead of the tedious sense of indignation and moral superiority you find in many activists, Mathews is all about having fun and thumbing his nose at the corporate social order in classic punk rock style. If the book weren't so witty and entertaining, it could be a textbook on how, with zero money but abundant ingenuity and humor, one person can create staggering positive changes in the world. Whether or not you agree with everything PETA stands for, you have to admire Mathews's playful exuberance, his selflessness and his commitment to improving the lives of animals, a horribly maltreated class of beings that need people like Mathews because they can't speak for or defend themselves.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Heather Moore on April 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
He tells the funniest stories and he's always upbeat. Even though PETA deals with very serious issues, Dan is positive, optimistic, and lighthearted. His book made me laugh so hard that my sides hurt.
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