From Publishers Weekly
In an encyclopedic history, Grier describes the changing cultural sensibilities that have defined the experience of American pet owners from colonial times to the present. Grier, an expert on material culture at the Winterthur Museum (one of several museums that will display a traveling exhibition of the same title), draws on diaries, magazines, advice books, illustrations and photographs for this serious book reflecting the author's interest in the symbolic and metaphorical role pets play in our culture. Grier's definition of "pet" is broad and includes domestic animals like urban horses as well as chickens and pigs, which were routinely raised by children on farms as quasi-pets. Although she is primarily interested in human-animal relationships, Grier doesn't neglect the developing commercial multibillion-dollar pet industry (Ralston Purina, Grier relates, began as a livestock feed company, adding dog food only in 1926). Scholarly, thorough, informative and animal friendly as the book is, Grier would have made many readers even happier had she occasionally eschewed seriousness in favor of the rich satirical grounds the excesses of pet-ownership provide. B&w photos. (Feb.)
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"A welcome addition to the field."
-- American Historical Review
"Scholars of the history of human-animal relations have eagerly anticipated this book, and the result exceeds expectations."
Journal of American History
"A good social and cultural history of pet keeping in America . . . [A history] that will last us a while."
"Few scholars know more about the complex interactions between people and the animals that share their lives than Kasey Grier."
"Pets in America
is a labor of love and a delight to read."
James A. Serpell, University of Pennsylvania
"Witty, richly illustrated, and entertaining."
Joy Kasson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Grier has produced a wonderful book, full of careful scholarship and charming anecdotes."
Andrew N. Rowan, Executive Vice President, Humane Society of the United States