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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals Hardcover – September 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
How rational are we in our relationship with animals? A puppy, after all, is "a family member in Kansas, a pariah in Kenya, and lunch in Korea". An animal behaviorist turned one of the world's foremost authorities on human-animal relations, Herzog shows us, in this readable study, how whimsical our attitudes can be. Why do we like some animals but not others? One answer seems to be that babylike features like big eyes bring out our parental and protective urges. (PETA has started a campaign against fishing called "Save the Sea Kittens)." Research has shown that the human brain is wired to think about animals and inanimate objects differently, and Herzog reveals how we can look at the exact same animal very differently given its context--most Americans regard cockfighting as cruel but think nothing of eating chicken, when in reality gamecocks are treated very well when they are not fighting, and most poultry headed for the table lead short, miserable lives and are killed quite painfully. An intelligent and amusing book that invites us to think deeply about how we define--and where we limit--our empathy for animals.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Wonderful. . . . An engagingly written book that only seems to be about animals. Herzog’s deepest questions are about men, women and children.” (Karen Sandstrom, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“A fun read. . . . What buoys this book is Herzog’s voice. He’s an assured, knowledgeable and friendly guide.” (Associated Press)
“A fascinating, thoughtful, and thoroughly enjoyable exploration of a major dimension of human experience.” (Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought)
“Everybody who is interested in the ethics of our relationship between humans and animals should read this book.” (Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human)
“An instant classic….Written so accessibly and personally, while simultaneously satisfying the scholar in all of us.” (Arnold Arluke, Anthrozoös)
“Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat is both educational and enjoyable, a page-turner that I dare say puts Herzog in the same class as Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis. Read this book. You’ll learn some, you’ll laugh some, you’ll love some.” (BookPage)
“Hal Herzog deftly blends anecdote with scientific research to show how almost any moral or ethical position regarding our relationship with animals can lead to absurd consequences. In an utterly appealing narrative, he reveals the quirky…ways we humans try to make sense of these absurdities.” (Irene M. Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process)
“One of a kind. I don’t know when I’ve read anything more comprehensive about our highly involved, highly contradictory relationships with animals, relationships which we mindlessly, placidly continue no matter how irrational they may be….This page-turning book is quite something—you won’t forget it any time soon.” (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Deer: Lessons from the Natural World)
“Hal Herzog does for our relationships with animals what Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma did for our relationships with food….The book is a joy to read, and no matter what your beliefs are now, it will change how you think.” (Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You)
“This is a wonderful book—wildly readable, funny, scientifically sound, and with surprising moments of deep, challenging thoughts. I loved it.” (Robert M. Sapolsky, Neuroscientist, Stanford University, and author of Monkeyluv and A Primate's Memoir)
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Reading this book provided me with some good reminders about WHY and how much I care about some of these things. It encouraged me to reconnect with some values that had become watered down in practice through years of trying to live daily life and forgetting what matters. At times I was challenged by disagreeing with the stance the author takes - when it errs on the side of prioritizing humans over other creatures. But generally he did a good job of presenting all sides of things as objectively as possible, and then stating where he falls on the matter without excessively trying to convince the reader to agree with him.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore more in depth our relationship with other animals, as well as other humans. It calls into question many things we take for granted, no matter where we fall in the animal rights spectrum.
MARZLUFF, John, and ANGELL, Tony. Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans. Free Press. 2012. 289 + xiv p., illus., bibliog., index. $25.
HERZOG, Hal. Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals. HarperCollins. 2010. 226 + viii p. $25.99.
Good science writing is hard to beat. It's crisp, provides you with new insights into the physical world, and if the writer is good, opens up new worlds to you.
Two of these three books -by Birkhead and Marzluff and Angell-- satisfy me on this level. The third -by Herzog-- does not.
The two books on birds were part of a larger packet of books I bought from Amazon to satisfy my curiosity about these animals I can't ignore but know little about. I had read one book by Berndt Heinrich, a brilliant animal ethologist, on ravens so I bought three more (one on ravens, one -a classic--on bumblebees, and one autobiographical), which I have yet to read. These two books got caught up in the web of that buying spree.
I[m just as interested in our attitudes toward animals -why are some okay to eat and others not? why do some repulse us and others not at all?--so I was looking for books on that topic too, and Herzog's popped up, along with a book by one of my favorite quirky historians, R. W. Bulliett, Hunters, Herders and Hamburgers (2005).
This digression is simply to establish that I have a serious, though not scholarly, interest in the topics of animal capabilities and personalities and on how we perceive and relate to different kinds of animals.
Birhkead's book on bird senses, and Marzluff's and Angell's on the capabilities and behavior of crows both satisfy me. The information is provides succinctly, the writing is crisp, both Birkhead and Marzluff (Angell is the illustrator) convey their passion about their subjects, and what they write about is fascinating. Both include a good deal of hard scientific information, not surprising given how much their field of studies has been enriched by the use of modern brain mapping techniques, but the hard stuff doesn't overwhelm the lay read (me). Rather, it gives what they write elsewhere credibility. The illustrations in both books are superb, and highly informative, a model of animal science illustrating. Birkhead especially is generous in detailing the contributions of past and other present day scientists in advancing knowledge in his field. Neither author claims too much for what is currently known. And if I haven't said it before, the prose in both of these books is admirably crisp.
I bought the book by Hal Herzog because (1) I found the topic fascinating and (2) both Stephen Pinker and Irene Pepperberg, scientists whose books I have enjoyed, praised it. I'll be blunt. I didn't like the book. It's fuzzy where it should be hard, and it ends its stories just about the point I want to follow up on them. In short, although the book contains a great deal of interesting though I am not sure conclusive information on its subject, it's too anecdotal and much too cutesy for my taste. I'm sure a good book could be written on the subject of human tastes for animals but when it's written, it needs to be crisp in style, skeptical in analyzing, and much more compact than this rambling and sporadically entertaining account is.
Herzog exposes the truth about our relationship with animals. A skeleton in the closet that we have picked clean on our merry way to the drive-thru at MacDonald's,
while making stunning scientific advances---but at an expense that some may not be willing to pay.
Highly entertaining, intellectually informative, deeply disturbing. This book will forever change the way we view our four-legged and two-legged friends(?).
Hal Herzog is a scientist with a heart, and an author who has his words well trained.
Most recent customer reviews
Came on time.
Only complaint is that it had extra page length sticking outside of the book.Read more