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One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food Hardcover – March 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087116
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Informative, entertaining.... As the man says in this terrific book, it's not about the dogs, it's about the people."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"A Fast Food Nation for dog lovers, this astute and amusing investigative report offers a ‘journey into the $41-billion-a-year world of the modern American pet.’… Reminiscent of Tom Wolfe's New Journalism essays on the sociology of pop culture.… Essential reading for anyone whose dog has become hooked on Kong bounce balls."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Combines research and great … anecdotes for … sociological insight into the obsessive world of dog ownership.”—Philadelphia Magazine

"Doggone entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews

“What makes this book so great is that it neither preaches nor rationalizes - it just explains…. He alternates easily between research and laugh-out-loud tales of his runty St. Bernard, Murphy, and cat, Amelia. And with a historical sweep, he shows us how we got to this place. Ultimately, One Nation Under Dog is not about our pets - but about ourselves.” —The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)

“In the wake of Marley mania… Schaffer explores the rapidly expanding dimensions of America's pet mania - Mr. President, a must-read before you pick the pup!”—Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"A surprising, often hilarious view of the American pet scene."—Star-News (Wilmington, NC)

"In a finely tuned voice full of wit and grace, Michael Schaffer takes an incredibly smart look at an important cultural phenomenon that too often is dismissed as a four-legged sideshow. I couldn't stop reading, except to repeat to whoever was around some stunning fact or anecdote about Fur Baby America. If you want to understand how we live now, One Nation Under Dog is essential reading."—Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar

"One Nation Under Dog is a masterwork of comic sociology: The pooch set has found its Max Weber. With witty analysis, great storytelling and a generous spirit, Schaffer has done more than provide a window into our dog obsession; he has provided a portrait of American life."—Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World

"Michael Schaffer’s terrific One Nation Under Dog is long overdue. Schaffer understands that the mushrooming love affair between Americans and their companion animals - especially dogs - is one of the most fascinating cultural phenomena in recent history, and that this shows no signs of abating even in hard times. As pets have moved to the center of our families and our emotional lives, One Nation Under Dog - well written and thoroughly reported - explores how and why they have become mirrors of our society."—Jon Katz, author of Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me and A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs and Me

"Michael Schaffer has written a thoroughly researched, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud exposé of our love affair with the pets in our lives. Go find yourself in One Nation Under Dog!"—Nick Trout, author of Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

"Simultaneously amusing and eye opening, One Nation Under Dog holds a mirror to our pet-obsessed culture, wherein even we cat lovers will see ourselves reflected.  Astutely illuminating the political, social, and economic aspects of our devotion to our animal companions, Michael Schaffer makes us chuckle – and sigh with recognition." —Kathryn Shevelow, author of For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

Review

"Informative, entertaining.... As the man says in this terrific book, it's not about the dogs, it's about the people."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"A Fast Food Nation for dog lovers, this astute and amusing investigative report offers a ‘journey into the $41-billion-a-year world of the modern American pet.’… Reminiscent of Tom Wolfe's New Journalism essays on the sociology of pop culture.… Essential reading for anyone whose dog has become hooked on Kong bounce balls."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Combines research and great … anecdotes for … sociological insight into the obsessive world of dog ownership.”—Philadelphia Magazine

"Doggone entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews

“What makes this book so great is that it neither preaches nor rationalizes - it just explains…. He alternates easily between research and laugh-out-loud tales of his runty St. Bernard, Murphy, and cat, Amelia. And with a historical sweep, he shows us how we got to this place. Ultimately, One Nation Under Dog is not about our pets - but about ourselves.” —The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)

“In the wake of Marley mania… Schaffer explores the rapidly expanding dimensions of America's pet mania - Mr. President, a must-read before you pick the pup!”—Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"A surprising, often hilarious view of the American pet scene."—Star-News (Wilmington, NC)

"In a finely tuned voice full of wit and grace, Michael Schaffer takes an incredibly smart look at an important cultural phenomenon that too often is dismissed as a four-legged sideshow. I couldn't stop reading, except to repeat to whoever was around some stunning fact or anecdote about Fur Baby America. If you want to understand how we live now, One Nation Under Dog is essential reading."—Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar

"One Nation Under Dog is a masterwork of comic sociology: The pooch set has found its Max Weber. With witty analysis, great storytelling and a generous spirit, Schaffer has done more than provide a window into our dog obsession; he has provided a portrait of American life."—Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World

"Michael Schaffer’s terrific One Nation Under Dog is long overdue. Schaffer understands that the mushrooming love affair between Americans and their companion animals - especially dogs - is one of the most fascinating cultural phenomena in recent history, and that this shows no signs of abating even in hard times. As pets have moved to the center of our families and our emotional lives, One Nation Under Dog - well written and thoroughly reported - explores how and why they have become mirrors of our society."—Jon Katz, author of Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me and A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs and Me

"Michael Schaffer has written a thoroughly researched, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud exposé of our love affair with the pets in our lives. Go find yourself in One Nation Under Dog!"—Nick Trout, author of Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

"Simultaneously amusing and eye opening, One Nation Under Dog holds a mirror to our pet-obsessed culture, wherein even we cat lovers will see ourselves reflected.  Astutely illuminating the political, social, and economic aspects of our devotion to our animal companions, Michael Schaffer makes us chuckle – and sigh with recognition." —Kathryn Shevelow, author of For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Currie Schaffer was born in Washington, D.C., but spent much of his youth shuttling between the various distant and humid and wackily-accented countries where his parents' work took the family. All the moving left him with a sense of curiosity about the zany world back home.

Schaffer graduated from Columbia University in 1995, then spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka. He worked as a writer and an editor at Washington City Paper and as a reporter at U.S. News and World Report and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Over that time, he has covered two wars, one recount, and the still-unresolved question of whether the head of the Philadelphia cement masons' union pulled a gun on a Republican mayoral candidate, or whether the candidate was just being a sissy. He has been singled out for his work by no less an authority than former Philadelphia City Councilman Rick Mariano, currently an inmate at Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution, who said Schaffer "gnawed at me for days and weeks???following me down every pathway, hovering that damn tape recorder at my neck. I usually cast a blind eye, but blindness only masks disgust." Schaffer's writing has also appeared in publications including The Washington Post, Slate, and The New Republic.

Schaffer lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Keltie Hawkins, their daughter, Ellie, and their pets, Murphy the Saint Bernard and Amelia the black cat.

Customer Reviews

No wonder people have social events built around dogs (that's in the book, too!).
K. Davis
As a dog lover ~~ I have 5 ~~ I found this books to be very insightful, thought provoking, and just an all around great read.
Kindle Customer
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs but really anyone would enjoy it.
Enrique Torres

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By knitting ninja TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is NOT just a book for dog lovers; it's also for the folks who think that people who dress their mutts up in designer clothes should be locked up somewhere. The author looks at dog culture from every angle and shows us the good, the bad and the ugly (Amish puppy mills!!!!). Surprisingly, ONE NATION UNDER DOG isn't really about dogs at all; it's about us. The book chronicles the way our society, culture and family dynamics have changed over the centuries, becoming more fragmented and solitary and how many of us have turned to pets to fill the ever increasing void we feel inside. We all "need to love" and to "be loved" and pets are increasingly becoming part of that equation.

So if you're a pet lover, read this book-you'll LOVE it! If you're not a pet lover, read this book anyway-you'll likely get a new perspective on our modern "solitary" society and it's effects on our nation as a whole.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By K. Davis on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are fond of dogs, you'll enjoy this book. It will give you lots of information, lots of food for thought, and emotion as well. It is not, to me at least, hard to bear emotionally. Instead, it may help you think about how you live with your dog or want to live with a dog.

I did choke up a little when reading the chapter on dog death, but only a little. The tone of the book is informative and explorative. But of course if you are very close to experiencing a wrenching dog loss, you might react differently. Still, that is not the book's tone.

I found the book really fascinating. Schaffer discusses so many aspects of dog ownership/guardianship including selection, veterinary care, legal issues and how they have played, services such as dog walkers, dog training, and more.

I have been involved with dog training for many years and seen many changes. I found Schaffer's words on this subject interesting and even a bit delightful!

If you are into dogs, you are likely to find this book very interesting. It's well-written, and covers a lot. It's interesting to realize as I sit here that there is so much more--no limit, really, to what we could discuss about dogs. No wonder people have social events built around dogs (that's in the book, too!).
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Just Me on March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is an interesting look at pets (mainly but not exclusively dogs) in modern American culture. This book covers a great breadth of information, but the author's knowledge is not deep. This makes the book more amusing than greatly informative. A great casual read, it's fun, but you'll have to go elsewhere for a serious look.

Chapter 1 discusses how much money is spent on pets in this country, and the vast array of products available. Chapter 2 discusses social networks and dogs. Much of this chapter relates to the material in The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Schaffer profiles one "connector" in the dog world, Ada Nieves, who hosts Chihuahua get-togethers and (for fairly significant money) dog birthday parties, among other dog-related activities. Chapter 3 discusses the conflict over leash laws and dog parks. The main case examined is the city of San Francisco, where the issue has been very hot politically. Chapter 4 discusses luxery spending on pets. Not that this hasn't been covered in the book already, and will yet be covered more (indeed, it's a major theme of the book), but this chapter focuses on it exclusively. Schaffer covers pet fashion shows and pet boutiques which sell fancy, expensive products with snob appeal. Chapter 5 covers how much money is spent on pet medical expenses. Modern veterinary medicine has opened up many options, some quite expensive, for those whose pets have medical issues. Schaffer profiles several owners spending significant amounts of money on new procedures that might buy their dogs some additional time. (Those who spend a lot of money on treatments which will likely bring about a cure are not the topic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When's the last time you saw a doghouse? You know, like the one Snoopy has in the old Peanuts comic strips. People used to have doghouses in their yards, because their pet dogs lived outside. Even the cat was put out at night, along with the empty milk bottles, like at the end of The Flintstones cartoons.

Back in the Peanuts and Flintstones days, the only pets that lived inside were the pets of the rich. Now, in a time when everyone claims to be middle class, we all spoil our pets. One Nation Under Dog author Michael Schaffer examines the many ways we indulge our pets. He's as guilty as the next pet owner. He owns a dog and a cat, and we learn that his dog eats superpremium dog food, takes antidepressants, and has his own webpage on Dogster. Murphy, a Saint Bernard, sleeps indoors, has a professional dog walker, and stays at posh pet hotels when his family goes out of town.

But as a journalist, Schaffer manages to remain objective throughout. It would have been easy to write a book that just points out all the wacky ways people pamper their "fur babies." Those of us who don't have pets would just laugh or ignore the phenomenon.

Instead, Schaffer has written about how the expanding importance of pets affects all of us. In the chapter about the San Francisco Dog Wars, he explains how unleashed dogs have taken over a local park and even the beach, to the consternation of people who prefer to enjoy poop-free grass and sand. The police, city council, and even the mayor, are reluctant to enforce the leash laws because it would be political suicide.

In another trend, people whose pets have been injured or killed, sue for emotional damages as well as for negligence. This is significant because pets have always been considered property under the law.
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