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The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery 3rd, Revised & Expanded Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0962449338
ISBN-10: 0962449334
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Spiegel, executive director of the Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness, has revised her 1989 book to present an in-depth exploration of the similarities between the violence humans have wrought against other humans and our culture's treatment of animals. Using considerable scholarship, she makes a strong case for links between white oppression of black slaves and human oppression of animals. Her thesis is not that the oppressions suffered by black people and animals have taken identical forms but that they share the same relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. These comparisons include the brandings and auctions of both slaves and animals, the hideous means of transport (slave ships, truckloads of cattle), and the tearing of offspring from their mothers. Her illustrative juxtapositions are graphic, e.g., a photograph of a chimpanzee in a syphilis experiment beside a photo of a black man in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. As Alice Walker writes in the preface, "This powerful book...will take a lifetime to forget." Chilling yet enlightening, this provocative book is vitally important in our efforts to understand the roots of individual and societal violence. It belongs in all libraries. [The book received a special award from The International Society for Animal Rights.?Ed.]?Eva Lautemann, DeKalb Coll. Lib., Clarkston, Ga.
-?Eva Lautemann, DeKalb Coll. Lib., Clarkston, Ga.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Fascinating..." The New York Review of Books

"An extremely important book honest and fearless...Marjorie Spiegel has said the single most important thing there is to say about animals. I love this book." Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Author of The Hidden Life Of Dogs

"This powerful bookwill take a lifetime to forget." Alice Walker, Author of The Color Purple, from her foreword to "The Dreaded Comparison"

"This book belongs in all libraries." Library Journal

"THE DREADED COMPARISON: HUMAN AND ANIMAL SLAVERY by Marjorie Spiegel...executive director of the Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness compares the exploitation of human slaves and of animals, as well as explores the putative justifications of those who profit." Publishers Weekly

"Marjorie Spiegel ...has written a deeply provocative book." David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History, Yale University

"THE DREADED COMPARISON is a wonderful and important book...I loved it. I urge everyone to read it." Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Author, When Elephants Weep

THE DREADED COMPARISON should be placed in schoolrooms across the universe. Gordon Parks, Photographer and Author

Spiegels book is a powerful and important statement about oppression and violence in Western culture. The author writes "To those who would be master, what matters is not so much who their slaves will be, but that there are slaves to be had". This work is accessible to all adult audiences, and would be suitable for college courses at any level in sociology, philosophy, or peace studies, or examing issues of oppression in contemporary animal issues. Multicultural Review

"...eerie parallels between slavery and dominance over animals are well described in this provocative book. We know that slaves have been treated like animals; Spiegel asks us to consider why we treat animals like slaves." Tom Hayden, California State Senator

"...Fascinating and beautifully concise." James Merrill, Author, The Changing Light at Sandover

"...this book is all the more powerful for the testimony of slaves and descendants of slaves who have voiced their empathy strongly with the rest of oppressed creation..." The New Scientist

"[An] invaluable contribution...Marjorie Spiegels extraordinary book, The Dreaded Comparison, with its judiciously chosen quotations and stunningly juxtaposed illustrations...packs a huge punch." Boston Book Review

"[A] gem..." Choice

THE DREADED COMPARISON is essentially a consciousness-raising exercise..." The Womens Review of Books -- Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Books/IDEA; 3rd, Revised & Expanded edition (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962449334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962449338
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an unforgettable and powerful book, by an author who has captured the essence of violence; and shows how violence towards non-human animals holds the key and ultimate solution to the creation of a violence-free society. Alice Walker, who writes the Foreward says that once this book is read, it will take a lifetime to forget. Others say it should be required reading in our schools and homes. It provocatively reveals the similarities between the violence humans have wrought against other humans, and our treament of non-human animals. It is brief (128 pages) but is a chilling testament, well illustrated with photos and sketches, and altough a small book it speaks volumes to the pain and suffering we have created as a result of so-called human progress.
Majorie Spiegal is a documentary photographer and author of several books. Her fields of study include biology, philosophy, environmental studies, history, nutrition and medicine. In 1989, she founded IDEA (Institute for Development of Earth Awareness), a non-profit educational organisation whose mission synthesizes three areas of concern: environmental, human and animal issues.
In this startling book, Spiegal gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, and points out the 'dreaded comparison' between the pain felt by abused human beings and the pain felt by abused non-human beings, recognising it as the same pain. Why is it unacceptable to treat humans 'like animals', but it is considered a proper manner in which to treat non-human animals? For some, this book my be too challenging to their most closly-held beliefs, but it is truly a consciousness-raising exercise. Most people would say they are against slavery, yet animal slavery is alive and well even in the most 'civilized' society.
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By A Customer on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book compares human and animal slavery in a way you can never ever forget. The words and pictures are unforgettable. You will feel the feelings of those humans and those animals who are used (and being used now) as slaves.
Read this book, and change your life! (it really helps) Many thanks to Amazon.com for recommending this book to me...
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Format: Paperback
Marjorie Spiegel has captured the essence of violence - domination and control. She presents an accurate portrayal and case that violence towards non-human animals holds the key and ultimate solution to the creation of a violencefree society. Her ideas and images run deep and should be required reading in our schools and homes. This brief, but to the point manuscript speaks volumes to the pain and suffering we have created as a result of so called human progress.
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Format: Paperback
- it is short and therefore quickly finished
- it presents information simply, in both written and pictorial form
- it does not preach at you, but simply presents documented evidence
- it opens one's eyes to what is all around, but rendered invisible by custom
- it might just transform your attitudes (like it did mine!!)
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Format: Hardcover
THE DREADED COMPARISON provocatively presents the first in-depth exploration of the similarities between the violence humans have wrought against other humans, and our culture's treatment of non-human animals. Marjorie Spiegel's examination of power and the source of oppressive behavior is essential reading for anyone interested in psychology, history, African-American studies, or animals. This highly original book is at once chilling and enlightening, and vitally important to our efforts to understand the roots of individual and societal violence.
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The author makes an excellent case for comparing human and animal slavery as the title suggests. The roots of our problems as a society stick deep and the solution will be more inclusive than merely expanded human rights. As humans we are part of the earth, not above it.
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Format: Paperback
I curiously picked it up in the library last night and finished in a few hours. It is really well researched and smoothly written. I really enjoyed all the quotes it is filled with and the pictures are well chosen.
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I really liked this book. It's short, with concise chapters. It will be very useful for me as I advocate between animal rights and other social justice groups.

I loved the text on p. 30, "For when we prioritize [the victims] we are in effect becoming one with the "master." We are deciding that one individual or group is more important than another, deciding that one individual's pain is less important than that of the next." This clarified for me the position I run up against all the time among people actively working for social justice for humans.

In talking to someone else (a vegan social activist) who suggested some might find this book offensive, I realized that anyone who tries not to be racist but is speciesist (which is almost everyone) will assume the book is racist. Because if animals are less valued than humans (speciesism) and a group of people is compared to animals (this book), then logically that group must be lower than human (racism). The book explains itself, but if we start talking about the book to others without first explaining speciesism, we will have a problem.

After agreeing with pretty much everything Ms. Spiegel said, things fell apart in the last chapter on Power. I'm not sure I can agree that the original master is metaphorically diminished when the victim turns on a lower victim. It seems more like the original victim is soothed (unhealthily) by exerting the dominance he could not have in the original relationship. Nitpicking perhaps, and I may be wrong, but it came up a lot and made the chapter difficult for me to follow. Also I don't believe she proved her assertion that all vivisectionists are sadists.
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