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In Defense of Hunting: Yesterday and Today Paperback – September 1, 1995


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In Defense of Hunting: Yesterday and Today + A Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport + Beyond Fair Chase:  The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062512374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062512376
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Environmentalist and psychologist Swan (Sacred Places) here presents hunting as a near-mystical experience, a test of skill, an opportunity to commune with nature. He stresses that the modern sport has not exterminated any species, and that it is heavily monitored, with restrictions on species, seasons, weapons, methods and locations. The author asks, "What is the difference between an animal hunting and a human hunting?" He urges animal-rights groups and hunters to find common goals: habitat restoration, preservation of endangered species, an end to poaching. Many will argue with Swan's contention that "hunting is one of the few areas of life where the experience of modern man is still in tune with our ancient ancestors."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

To whom does one defend hunting? Swan says that the hunter is an endangered species, besieged by animal rights supporters and hence declining in number. Drawing on solid credentials-he has a Ph.D. in the natural sciences, background in psychotherapy and native culture research, and a track record in publishing as author of six books (e.g., Nature As Teacher and Healer, Random, 1992) plus many environmental articles-Swan argues that understanding why people hunt involves understanding humankind's fundamental nature. Hunting is a spiritual ritual, he claims, an ancestral tie to our human history. He advocates seeking common ground with animal welfare activists in areas such as habitat development and antipoaching. There is much of value here, but some of it is buried in self-help ideas and pages on the feminine side of hunting. For a more personal yet more tightly written philosophy, see Ted Kerasote's Bloodties (LJ 6/15/93). Those who are against hunting might reject this on the title alone; supporters may find it difficult to get through it all. For comprehensive nature collections.
Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Former college professor and psychologist; James Swan has been a writer-actor-media producer since mid-1980's. He was a Senior Columnist for ESPNOutdoors,com, from 2001 to 2011 when ESPNOutdoors.com folded. James is a Co-Executive Producer for the WILD JUSTICE TV series on National Geographic Wild TV, that is produced by Original Productions.

James is the author and/or co-author of 10 non-fiction trade books, including two Book of the Month Club selections -- Sacred Places and The Sacred Art of Hunting -- Nature As Teacher and Healer that was named "One of the Best Environmental Books of the Last Five Years" by the Sustainable Futures Society; and In Defense of Hunting, named "One of the Best Books In Print" by the New York Review of Books. His most recent book, War In The Woods: Combating International Drug Cartels On Our Public Lands, is co-authored with Lt. John Nores. It came October 5, 2010 from Lyons Press and has been in the Top 100 books in "Crime," "Organized Crime" and "Law Enforcement" on Amazon.com nearly every week since.

As an actor, James has appeared in 20 feature films including MURDER IN THE FIRST, and JACK; three dramatic series MIDNIGHT CALLER, JESSE HAWKES, and NASH BRIDGES, and over 30 commercials, industrials and print ads. He has consulted/written for NOVA, ANCIENT MYSTERIES, MODERN MARVELS, SIGHTINGS, ESPN, ENGEL'S OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE (won 2002 Golden Moose Award)BUSHNELL'S SECRETS OF THE WILD, and SPORTS AFIELD TV -- over 100 shows; and does script analysis and doctoring for documentaries and dramatic films and TV, and consulting on media strategies.

James is CEO of Snow Goose Productions, a full-service audio-visual production company that has produced documentaries, pilots for series, and promotional videos about conservation and outdoor sports topics for a number of organizations. In 2009 SGP produced a 66-minute documentary "Endangered Species: California Fish and Game Wardens" narrated by Jameson Parker.(see www.jamesswan.com for details) "Endangered Species" is a primary inspiration for the WILD JUSTICE series. Snow Goose productions currently has several documentaries and a feature film in development.

James is also a Research Adjunct professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he works with students doing research on the psychological aspects of performance and environmental psychology.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This book is the best I have ever read on the subject on hunting.
Joe Dickens (Rivertrol1@aol.com)
Beautifully written, with a prose style that is always elegant and occasionally poetic, as well, Dr. Swan's work is also profoundly intellectual.
Outdoors Gal
Swan does a wonderful job explaining why hunting is as important to our culture today as it was when we were subsistence hunters.
R. Dufresne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joe Dickens (Rivertrol1@aol.com) on December 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is the best I have ever read on the subject on hunting. It is interspersed with various quotes, sometimes from individuals quoted by the anti-hunting movement, and hard facts. On the surface, it is a thoroughly logical rebuttal of the anit-hunting movement and explanation of moden hunting. However, it also contains a window into the hunter's soul, powerfully speaking to those of us who have hunted. It explains the seemingly strange and paradoxical love for nature that so many hunters possess and, in as eloquent and thorough a way as can be done within the constraints of language. This book corrects many common misconceptions about hunting, and provides plenty of food for thought. There is a clear call to action for hunters and non-hunters alike. Anyone who plans to attack or actively defend hunting should first read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Schreiner on October 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
A great book that examines hunting from an economic, cultural, and philosophical perspective. As a hunter it made me question my sport and left me with a deeper appreciation of the outdoors. As a nonhunter and member of various "animal rights" groups, I was told by my sister that it helped her to understand why I hunt and that she enjoyed the book even though she remains a nonhunter. An excellent book regardless of your agenda.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By teachr2@pathway.net on August 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
Dr. Swan's book, In Defense of Hunting, offers a true insight into what for many is a way of life. Although few if any in our society hunt by neccessity, many are drawn to hunting with a passion that exceeds the kind of feelings typically held for other leisure activities. Dr. Swan delves into the reasons and meanings behind these strong bonds. In addition to offering sound defenses for hunting, he offers, insight into the issues that surround hunting in a modern society. His ability to merge the pschological, historical and social aspects of hunting with today's political environment is valuable reading for anyone who loves the sport and hope to see it survive through future generations
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Todd on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Finally there is a book that gives an honest look at the hunt, hunters and why we hunt. No question that the most ardent guardians of our world and our environment are the hunters. This book explores the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind hunters. It also discusses the unfair judgements placed on hunters by the anti-hunting and animal rights movement. By the time the reader finishes this work, they are given a much greater understanding of the hunter and the hunt. A must read for all who hunt and all who love the outdoors.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Cork Graham on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
A journalist and book reviewer in the Bay Area, I was one of the first receive this book. I was immensely impressed by the level of research Mr. Swan had put into this book. For those of us who actually did our own research, too, it was good know that a book of this quality and accuracy was available, one that paints an honest picture of animal rights group agendas, and puts hunting in its proper light. It's a sad fact that something as basic, and inherent to the human condition as hunting, and true wildlife conservation(not something as unnatural as preservation), has become politicized by groups that seek only to fill the coffers and pay the rent of organization's leaders in New York and San Francisco (all while living off the good intentions of young college kids, who by their misplaced idealisms are paid cheaply): ever wonder why all these organizations pop-up mainly trying to save soft and cuddly animals--completely ignoring much more endangered, but ugly, creatures; and ever wonder why those animals hardly ever get off the endangered list? You'll learn not only about this sham put on the public, but also how these groups efforts are leading to the extinction of those truly endangered: The mountain Lion Foundation (MLF) has legally prevented the California DFG from taking measures to prevent the heavily overpopulated California mountain lion from decimating a herd of desert bighorn sheep in Southern California. According to leader of the MLF, the bighorn sheep isn't worth saving: so much for looking out for wildlife, eh? And as for those two reviews with the one star, I hope that you're not diswayed from purchasing this book them, as this is one of the many tactics used by anti-hunting organizations to misinform the unknowing public.Read more ›
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By rbebow@voyager.net on December 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book presents a view of hunting not only from a hunter's standpoint, but from a biological and environmental standpoint. I think all kids should read this book, or read it with mom or dad, to really understand the necessity of hunting.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Through recounts of simple experiences afield, Dr. Swan relates, hopefully, to the nonhunter why many of us take to the field. He explores the hunter's instinct and the spirituality of the hunt in a manner all of us can easily read and "chew on" to decide if we are being true to ourselves in how we conduct our lives in a world driven by money and controlled by nature. He teaches us the hypocrisy of some extremist anti-hunting organizations and the irony surrounding their unsound characterizations of hunters. Dr. Swan's analyses and experiences allow a better understanding of these organizations and a better understanding of ourselves as consumptive users of wildlife, so we may all begin to get our message across to America that we as hunters are answering the instinctual call of the hunt, take pride in our activities afield, and in fact are the most experienced and dedicated stewards of the land
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