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The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigsby Lyall Watson
Synopses & Reviews
Not all animals are created equal. For a start, pigs have it, sheep dont; that is, that special quality of intelligence, a sense of play, and a gregariousness that make these tragically misunderstood—yet no less endearing—creatures more like us than any other animal. Best-selling author Lyall Watson takes a delightful look at the occasionally amusing, often instructive, and completely admirable qualities of pigs in this indispensable book, not only for everyone interested in natural history but also for fans of Babe, lovers of Piglet, readers of Charlottes Web and Animal Farm, gourmands and truffle hunters, folklorists, and, of course, believers in meaningful interspecies communication.
The book is filled with both realistic and wonderfully fanciful illustrations of pigs that illuminate everything you could possibly want to know about the extraordinary family of Suids, from their origins and evolution, rich social lives, and combat strategies, to their special relationship with truffles, popularity in art and literature, and increasing use today in cutting-edge medical transplant technology.
"Naturalist Watson offers a worthy successor to 2002's well-received Elephantoms with an entertaining and highly informative survey of the humble pig that blends scientific fact with personal insight. Watson investigates several distinct pig types, including bushpigs, wild boars, forest hogs and peccaries ('Honorary Pigs'), and offers anecdotes about his childhood pet warthog — 'Hoover was a gentleman,' he recalls fondly. With an eye to 'counteract some of our misguided perceptions about [pigs] and shed some light instead on creatures a lot like ourselves,' his analysis of the pig snout shows how it is 'at the same time arm, hand, spade and primary sense organ'; his discussion of pigs' ears ('like radar dishes') and vocalizations offers insight into the animals' communication system; and a run down of human/pig structural similarities (and the resultant crucial role pigs have come to play in modern medicine) may put some folks off their pork and chops. Anthropology, biology, geography, psychology are all here in a clearly written, amiable text peppered with trivia tidbits (Josephine Baker used perfumed dancing pigs in her stage act) and lots of photos. Even those who read but a handful of these pages will find their opinion of pigs much rosier. 45 color illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Harold Ober." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Watson continues his popular science books by assembling a wide range of information about wild and domestic pigs. His goal is to counteract some misguided perceptions about them and shed light on creatures he says are a lot like humans, whose most useful tools seem to be their brains. He includes many illustrations.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The bestselling author takes a delightful look at the occasionally amusing, often instructive, and completely admirable qualities of pigs in this indispensable book filled with both realistic and wonderfully fanciful illustrations of pigs that illuminate everything anyone wants to know about pigs.
About the Author
Lyall Watson was born and raised in Africa and holds degrees in geology, botany, zoology, and anthropology. He has written more than 20 books, including the bestselling Supernature, Jacobson's Organ, and Elephantoms. He lives in Santa Fe.
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