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For the Love of Animals


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About the Author

A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, Kathryn Shevelow is a professor at the University of California in San Diego. She is the author of Charlotte: Being a True Account of an Actress's Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London's Wild and Wicked Theatrical World and Women and Print Culture. She lives in Solana Beach, California.


Shevelow (Univ. of California, San Diego; Charlotte: Being a True Account of an Actress's Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London's Wild and Wicked Theatrical World), a noted scholar of 18th-century British literature and culture, has written a richly engaging narrative on the individuals and social conditions that gave rise to the animal protection movement in England. With warmth and charm, she nimbly chronicles how the work of charismatic reformers and the public's emerging concern with animal suffering gave rise to the first animal welfare legislation. The setting is London in the 1700s, a city of splendor and squalor where horrendous animal abuse was sanctioned by philosophy and tradition and highly visible because the lives of its animal and human citizens were closely intertwined. Among those who took notice and protested were the earliest animal advocates, unique characters who lend human interest to the story as they face contempt and ridicule in championing their unpopular cause. Because then, as now, indifference and selfishness were the greatest obstacles to ending cruelty to animals. Lively, readable, and unique, this is a valuable addition to the literature on animal welfare history. Recommended for all libraries.--Leslie Patterson, Chicago P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"For the Love of Animals is an absorbing, rich book - I learned much and it made me think more deeply about the relationship between humans and animals. A fresh new voice has been added to the growing literature about the complexity of the rights of animals." --Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep"This shocking book tells the story of the brave, eccentric individuals who worked to stop heartless animal abuses in 17th and 18th century England. For the Love of Animals is essential reading for people interested in both the history of legislation to protect animals, and animal ethics issues." --Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation"Richard Martin, named 'Humanity Dick' by King George IV, remains a hero to all who believe that kindness is indeed a virtue. He not only founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the RSPCA) together with William Wilberforce, but fought hard for legislation to help the poor and illiterate. It is a joy to read Kathryn Shevelow's careful examination of this extraordinary man and the other courageous men and women who worked together to radically change society with their ideas about social justice. You are left pondering the implications of their words and deeds on those around them, indeed on us all, even today." --Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA

Adult/High School-The history of the animal protection movement is not for the squeamish. Ironically, those who care most about animals must confront difficult-to-read passages filled with vivid accounts of atrocities and torture. Rare are the uplifting stories of rescues and the cessation of blood sports. Shevelow records the great strides society has made in the treatment of animals, but also notes how little some things have changed. Despite the book's sometimes dark tone, she tries to remain optimistic, and she highlights some important heroes. This title is especially relevant as readers witness a modern culture of cruelty exemplified by Michael Vick's dog-fighting hobby and inhumane puppy farms. The subject also dovetails nicely with other best-selling books about food and animals such as Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (Penguin, 2007) and Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson's Animals in Translation (Harcourt, 2006). Change in attitudes toward animals has come painfully slowly and the fight for further protection is far from finished. With this book, teens may be galvanized for a new cause.-Joy Murphy, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Shevelow (Women and Print Culture) documents the history of animal cruelty and the slow, controversial and much maligned rise of the animal protection movement in 17th- and 18th-century England. This thoroughly researched and impressively detailed account limns the atrocities committed by humans against "dumb brutes," the popularity of English "blood sports"--bullbaiting and dog-fighting--the ubiquity of bear gardens and cockpits and animals dying from overwork, beatings and neglect. Shevelow charts England's slowly evolving beliefs about animals and paints vivid portraits of the crusaders, misfits and radicals who rallied for animal protection--Margaret Cavendish, William Hogarth and Richard "Humanity Dick" Martin--and traces the foundation of the SPCA and the passage of Martin's Act, the world's first animal-protection law. This is a fascinating, often disturbing and frequently funny book, a must read for anyone concerned with the treatment of animals and a call to action for the next generation of animal rights activists. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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