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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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1 Beaverton Pets- Dogs General

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What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend

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What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

John Homans adopted his dog, Stella, from a shelter for all the usual reasons: fond memories of dogs from his past, a companion for his son, an excuse for long walks around the neighborhood. Soon enough, she is happily ensconced in the daily workings of his family. And not only that: Stella is treated like a family member—in ways that dogs of his youth were not. Spending humanlike sums on vet bills, questioning her diet and exercise regimens, contemplating her happiness—how had this all come to pass, when the dogs from Homans’s childhood seemed quite content living mostly out in the yard?

In What’s a Dog For?, Homans explores the dog’s complex and prominent place in our world and how it came to be. Evolving from wild animals to working animals to nearly human members of our social fabric, dogs are now the subject of serious scientific studies concerning pet ownership, evolutionary theory, and even cognitive science. From new insights into what makes dogs so appealing to humans to the health benefits associated with owning a dog, Homans investigates why the human-canine relationship has evolved so rapidly—how dogs moved into our families, our homes, and sometimes even our beds in the span of a generation, becoming a $53 billion industry in the United States in the process.

As dogs take their place as coddled family members and their numbers balloon to more than seventy-seven million in the United States alone, it’s no surprise that canine culture at large is also undergoing a massive transformation. They are now subject to many of the same questions of rights and ethics as people, and the politics of dogs are more tumultuous and public than ever— with fierce moral battles raging over kill shelters, puppy mills, and breed standards. Incorporating interviews and research from scientists, activists, breeders, and trainers, What’s a Dog For? investigates how dogs have reached this exalted status and why they hold such fascination for us. With one paw in the animal world and one paw in the human world, it turns out they have much to teach us about love, death, and morality—and ultimately, in their closeness and difference, about what it means to be human.

Review:

"In his first book (inspired by his faithful canine companion, Stella), longtime New York magazine executive editor Homans examines the humble domestic dog, taking us on a trip that ranges thousands of years into the past and across the globe, examining how we shaped dogs and dogs shaped us. The competing models of how the partnership between human and dog was forged are presented, as are speculations on what exactly, if anything, is going on behind the friendly eyes of a dog. Homans ponders whether canines are as cognitively simple as Thorndike claimed or whether Darwin's naïve anthropomorphism is closer to the mark. Writing in an engaging, straightforward manner, Homans combines great personal charm with an intense interest in his subject matter. Although the book is quite brief, Homans manages nevertheless to provide an impressive overview of his chosen subject." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

As dogs take their place as coddled family members and their numbers balloon to over 77 million in the United States alone, its no surprise that canine culture is undergoing a massive transformation. Now subject to many of the same questions of rights and ethics as people, the politics of dogs are more tumultuous and public than ever—with fierce moral battles raging over kill shelters, puppy mills, and breed standards. Incorporating interviews and research from scientists, activists, breeders, and trainers, Whats a Dog For? investigates how dogs have reached this exalted status, and why they hold such fascination for us humans.

About the Author

John Homans has been Executive Editor of New York magazine since 1994, and previously worked at Esquire, Details, Harpers, and the New York Observer. He lives with his wife, son, and dog, Stella in Manhattan. This is his first book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594205156
Author:
Homans, John
Publisher:
Penguin Press
Subject:
Dogs - General
Subject:
PETS / Dogs / General
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20121131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594205156 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his first book (inspired by his faithful canine companion, Stella), longtime New York magazine executive editor Homans examines the humble domestic dog, taking us on a trip that ranges thousands of years into the past and across the globe, examining how we shaped dogs and dogs shaped us. The competing models of how the partnership between human and dog was forged are presented, as are speculations on what exactly, if anything, is going on behind the friendly eyes of a dog. Homans ponders whether canines are as cognitively simple as Thorndike claimed or whether Darwin's naïve anthropomorphism is closer to the mark. Writing in an engaging, straightforward manner, Homans combines great personal charm with an intense interest in his subject matter. Although the book is quite brief, Homans manages nevertheless to provide an impressive overview of his chosen subject." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
As dogs take their place as coddled family members and their numbers balloon to over 77 million in the United States alone, its no surprise that canine culture is undergoing a massive transformation. Now subject to many of the same questions of rights and ethics as people, the politics of dogs are more tumultuous and public than ever—with fierce moral battles raging over kill shelters, puppy mills, and breed standards. Incorporating interviews and research from scientists, activists, breeders, and trainers, Whats a Dog For? investigates how dogs have reached this exalted status, and why they hold such fascination for us humans.
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