From Publishers Weekly
The eminent philosopher of the animal rights movement skillfully profiles pioneering animal rights activist Henry Spira, whose organization, Animal Rights International, operating on a shoestring budget, has taken on corporate giants like Revlon, Procter & Gamble and Perdue Farms, waging influential campaigns against cruel animal experimentation, against the eating of meat, against the mistreatment of animals on factory farms. Born in Belgium in 1927, Spira, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and settled in New York with his family two years later, had no interest in animal liberation until his late 40s. Yet several formative experiences paved the way for his animal rights activism?immersion in left-wing and socialist causes in the 1950s, which led to an undesirable discharge from the Army for "subversive activities"; his work as a civil rights activist and reporter in the South in the 1960s; his militant unionism as a merchant seaman. Personal tragedies, including the suicides of Spira's father and sister, also propelled Spira's quest to give his life meaning by living according to his values and beliefs. Singer, a meticulous, empathetic biographer, is himself part of the story?Spira was his pupil in a 1974 ethics course, and in 1997 they launched the International Coalition for Farm Animals, meeting with McDonald's executives in efforts to promote more humane treatment of animals used in the firm's products. Without being preachy or polemical, this brilliant, consciousness-raising life story makes a strong case that it's time to phase out the needless suffering of animals. The strategic lessons Singer distills from Spira's career will prove inspirational to a broad range of activists fighting many different types of injustice. Photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Henry Spira has been a teacher, a guide, an inspiration to his generation and the one that is about to take over. (Roger Caras, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
One life's calling, one life's passion, one life's work of conscience and art. Here is the story of someone who dances to his own drummer, leading the revolution forward. (Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and Neither Man Nor Beast)
Henry Spira is a shining example of how to be an effective, pragmatic, and humane animal activist. In this volume, world-renowned philosopher Peter Singer, who was the inspiration for Spira's start in animal activism, has produced a marvelously lucid and insightful biography of his life and activist philosophy. (Paul G. Irwin, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States)
You cannot have an accurate understanding of what the animal rights movement has achieved these last three decades without reading what the movement's most revered philosopher relates in Ethics into Action about the movement's most tactically brilliant activist. . . . To have insight into the still-spinning web of Henry's life is to understand how compassion sensibly lived can drive humane accomplishments. (John F. Kullberg, executive director of the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust)
The name Henry Spira is synonymous with activism that makes a difference . . . and that carries with it the broad perspective that is needed. When the animal rights movement finally achieves the respect it deserves . . . Spira will be to animal liberation as King was to civil rights―and Singer, a giant himself in our field, tells his story as no one else could have. (Doug Moss, cofounder of Animal's Agenda Magazine)
Henry Spira is not a Catholic, but if he were his patron saint would surely be St. Francis of Assisi―he who loved all God's creatures. All his life Henry has fought for the helpless, but most of all for the most helpless of the helpless. Here is his story in Peter Singer's Ethics into Action, a powerful scholarly and often painful narrative, a book bristling with facts and documentation. If you are Catholic you'll put Henry Spira's picture right up there with St. Francis, and, in honor of Peter Singer, you might pass on that next sirloin steak. (Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes)
Without being preachy or polemical, this brilliant consciousness-raising life story makes a strong case that it's time to phase out the needless suffering of animals. (Publishers Weekly)
Singer has produced a clear, engaging and useful account of Spira's productive career. (The Nation)
Singer's well-written and fascinating book is essential for animal welfare and animal rights collections. (Peggie Partelo, Keene State college, NH Library Journal 1999-01-01)
inspirational to those who are working for any kind of social change, because they demonstrate that it is possible . . . (Bloomsburg Review 1999-03-15)
Singer has written an admirable biography of an individual whose life can provide lessons to us all: a man who cut through the nonsense and had a profound effect on many who knew him. But above all else, Ethics into Action demonstrates how important certain unique individuals are to political movements. (David J. Wolfson The Animals' Agenda)
Peter Singer has done well to introduce Henry Spira to a wider public. (E.S. Turner Times Literary Supplement)
Singer's story of his friend [Henry Spira] is engrossing, and will inspire moderate activists the world over. (The New York Review Of Books)
This unique book explores the way philosophical arguments on behalf of non-human animals shaped one man's life and the way that man's life subsequently shaped the strategies and activism of an entire social movement. (Political Studies Review)
An inspiring introduction to the world of animal rights, environmental ethics, social activism, and personal choice. The book flows in a lively fashion and should prove both interesting and informative to readers at all levels. (CHOICE)
Social movement scholars will enjoy reading Ethics into Action as a case study of an early animal rights activist. More importantly, this book provides an alternative view to the single-minded focus of the animal rights movement by displaying an activist whose pragmatic approach connected themes from myriad social movements. Above all, the book is a primer fro social activists who are interested how to achieve change. For those dissatisfied with simply yelling at the public, Singer has written a book that can help activists envision how activists can take on seemingly impossible opponents and win. (Social Movement Studies)