How great is this cover? I've always been an animal person. When we were little, my big brother and I read ZooBooks and Ranger Rick and My Big Back Yard and spent hours classifying and reclassifying David's ZooCards in various orders (species, location, alphabetically, etc). We also had tons of little plastic animals that we'd line up and play elaborate make believe games with. It was awesome. Also, I was a psych minor (major for two years) in college. So when I read the summary of this book about Anthrozoology, I knew I had to read it. It was one of those that I frantically emailed TLC about as soon as I saw it was available and then sat on pins and needles waiting to hear that I got to be part of the tour. And I did - so major thanks to TLC!
Ok, so Anthrozoology - not a common topic of discussion but absolutely fascinating. It's, obviously, a combination of anthropology (the study of man) with zoology (the study of animals) and, in a very abbreviated description, is all about how we as people think about other species. Why do we love kittens, hate rats and eat cows? And why do other people in the world eat things we'd never touch and worship animals we consider pests? Why is cock fighting viewed as a terrible act of violence, but we think nothing of downing chicken nuggets? And why do we kill mice in our homes with no guilt but get up in arms over the use of mice in medical or cosmetic research? Fascinating right?
And the book is SO fascinating. I wish I had my copy with me right now so I could show you - I've got about a million post its stuck in referencing studies that I want to read (working at a college is finally good for something! Yay access to Ebsco!) and books I want to look into. Herzog's reserach is excellent and his book is written in such a way that even those of us who changed our psych major to English because we were afraid of research and statistics can understand what he's talking about. The citations are flawless, although I do prefer it when there are footnotes, rather than just a list of sources cited at the end of the book - it makes it harder to find a specific reference.
If you are at all interested in animals or psychology or what makes people tick, this is a great book to read. It's well-written but also very readable. Plus, I think Hal Herzog is amazing. See the snake wrapped around his wrist? I'm pretty sure that he and I could be very good friends. Maybe he could tell me why I'm so disgusted by other people's dogs, when my own dogs can drool all over me and it doesn't bother me a bit!