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Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know® 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199739967
ISBN-10: 019973996X
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What Everyone Needs to Know


Who it's for:

Busy people with diverse interests, ranging from college students to professionals, who wish to inform themselves in a succinct yet authoritative manner about a particular topic.

What's inside:

An incisive approach to a complex and timely issue, laid out in a straight-forward, question-and-answer format.

Meet Our Authors

Top experts in their given fields, ranging from an Economist correspondent to a director at the Council on Foreign Relations, you can trust our authors’ expertise and guidance.

Popular Topics in the "What Everyone Needs to Know" Series

  • International Politics
  • Environmental Policies
  • World History
  • Sciences & Math
  • Religion & Spirituality
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The emotionally, legally, and morally fraught subject of animal rights is given a clear-eyed examination in this volume of Oxford’s What Everyone Needs to Know series. Using a question-and-answer format, scholar Waldau guides the reader through all of the thorny elements of the animal-rights movement. A chapter covering the animals themselves, including various classifications of animals and how they are categorized, sets the stage for discussion of the philosophical, historical, and cultural arguments for animal rights that have led to the current legal protections for animals. An exploration of political realities covers all elements of this essentially human-centered subject, while social realities, education, the professions, and the arts all provide arenas for humans to look outside themselves and make informed choices. The natural and social sciences are shown to have a role in creating levels of awareness about animals. The final two chapters introduce major figures, both familiar and unfamiliar, in the animal-rights movement and examine the future for animal rights. A chronology of important events, glossary of animal-rights terminology, and suggestions for further reading complete this compact yet rich volume. --Nancy Bent

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Product Details

  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019973996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199739967
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Paul Waldau's book charts a broad, easy-to-follow pathway through the thorny world of animal rights. As a fellow traveler in this difficult landscape, and one singled out for some attention in the book, I am especially grateful for his effort. Waldau's smooth style, engaging voice, and deep understanding of the subject matter make his book particularly useful. He discusses many important ways by which humans define their relationship to non-human animals, including science, law and philosophy, history and culture, education and the arts. These large topics are broken down into manageable size through a series of inquiries, like: "Who, what are companion animals?" "Does animal protection occur in all cultures?" "What is happening today in animal law?". Waldau addresses each question with quiet authority, focusing the reader's attention on facts, themes and contexts necessary for a broad and balanced understanding. I believe most readers will find this to be a nourishing book, one that satisfies intellectual curiosity and enlarges the boundaries of compassion.
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A missed opportunity, alas. This is the fourth book I have read in Oxford's "What Everyone Needs to Know" series, and the first that I found to be less than excellent. Vague generalities abound, with very little in the way of precise, factual information. It reads as if the author has a sort of meta-interest in discourse within the world of animal welfare, but not an interest in the nuts and bolts of animal welfare per se -- an approach that might be fine in itself, but is a far cry from "What Everyone Needs to Know." My favorite part was Chapter 10, "Major Figures and Organizations in the Animal Rights Movement," precisely because the fact-to-generality ratio was highest in this chapter. But even here, generalities are, well, general. The section "A singular commitment, a controversial organization -- Ingrid Newkirk" (concerning the head of PETA) opens with "Reviled by many, idolized by many..." and repeats the word "controversial," but the nature of any controversy is not mentioned at all.

The other books I have read in the "What Everyone Needs to Know" series leave the reader with the notion (deserved, I think) that they have a solid understanding of the main issues, ideas, and events in the topic covered; not so this book. What you are more likely to leave with is the idea that humans have a long and varied history with animals, where some of the variance is cross-cultural, and that the terms "animal rights" and "animal welfare" lend themselves to varied interpretations. I am no expert in the area of animal welfare, but I think most readers will get a lot more out of Peter Singer's classic Animal Liberation, or out of the Sunstein and Nussbaum edited volume, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, than from this tepid book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Animal Rights to be an absolute pleasure. I've read it twice and have thoroughly enjoyed Waldau's insightful prose on a highly convoluted issue. His writing is very easy to understand and his knowledge on the subject is unmatched. This is a great book for anyone new to the debate, but provides endless new points to ponder for those of us who have been entrenched for years. I HIGHLY recommend this work.
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