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Beauty in the Beasts: True Stories of Animals Who Choose to Do Good (reprint) Paperback – May 13, 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kristin von Kreisler, author of The Compassion of Animals, has been a staff writer for Reader's Digest, a commentator on animal issues for numerous television and radio programs, and a board member of the international organization In Defense of Animals.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (May 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585421588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585421589
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Cunningham on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book, but found it didn't live up to the book jacket. It claims to establish that animals choose to do good, and I expected some in depth stories about various animals. Instead, the author seems to include very very very short stories (some only one sentence long) about animals, largely gathered from correspondence she received in response to her first book, the Compassion of Animals. She spends time arguing that animals have feelings - first of all, I'm willing to bet most people who choose to read this book already agree with that, so she's preaching to the choir, and it gets patronizing and old fast. Secondly, as near as I can tell, she has no particular credentials or studies or background she is drawing from to make the statements she does. I wasn't looking for "proof," since I already agree with her outlook on animals, but all the same I was annoyed at her apparant belief that all that is necessary to "prove" something is to make an assertion and then point to a number of anecdotal stories to make her point. If you take the book for what it is, rather than what it purports to be, it's a nice, easy read - one filled with stories about animals which do good things. It's similar to sitting in a coffee shop listening to people talk about things they've seen or heard about animals, like "I heard of a dog once who saved someone from a fire by dragging them out of bed by an ankle!" In all seriousness, that's what most of the book contains, sentences or paragraphs of things the author has heard about animals or experienced. Every now and then one animals' story is covered in more depth, but not a lot of depth.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I READ THIS BOOK NEARLY IN ONE SITTING. I never turned on the TV at all. The Stories In This Book Are Filled WIth Emotions, Ours And The Animals. Who Ever Says Animals Have No Feelings Has None Themselves!

217 Pages Of Stories That Will BE With You A Very Long Time.

One story about a 209- pound potbellied pig who threw herself into traffic to get someone to stop for her human who was lying on the floor in her house having a heart attack will be with me always.

The woman fell and could not help herself. This pig ran out a dog door too small for her and tried to attract attention. Not having any luck she ran back through the dog door to keep tabs on her human. She cut herself up on the dog door going back and forth several times. Finally the pig went out into traffic and threw herself in front of traffic to get someone to stop. When they did she got up and ran for the house making sure the person was following her.

The woman was saved and the pig was treated for her own wounds. Both recovered.

A horse named Beauty who just had a foal and ran to be with her companions but there was a strong current in the river that caught her foal. She ran back to get her baby when her human dove in after the foal. He was swept away and the mare dove in the waters, pushed the man close to the bank so he could get out of the freezing water. She then dove back in and got her foal to safety on an island in the middle of the river.

These stories will make you feel your own emotions, cry, laugh, and they will make you appreciate the critter you have even more.

One in my own pack is a small Rat Terrier who in his mind, thinks he is a Great Dane.
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Format: Paperback
This book is little more than a collection of "brave animal stories" sent in to the author after the success of her first book, but in repetition there is some authority.

Von Kreisler admits in the introduction that 'animal courage' stories are not the stuff of scientific inquiry -- not yet anyway. Science is still more concerned with putting animals in cages, testing them with various horrors, and then dissecting them to look for physiological changes. The idea that non-humans could share anything with humankind besides 90% of our genes is frowned upon by a deeply-conservative scientific community, which is still struggling out of biblical tree-of-life and dominion-over-earth strictures.

So if von Kreisler occasionally seems breathlessly willing to ascribe every maternal instinct to conscious intention, she can be forgiven for overstatement to make a point. And after 200 pages of amazing-if-true examples, the evidence behind her argument develops a weight which is hard to deny.
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