Synopses & Reviews
Dogs have been our muses, our mentors, and our playful and noble co-pilots. They’ve had a profound influence on us as healers and spiritual guides, and also as co-workers, helping to guide, hunt, herd, search, and rescue. Our bond with dogs is deep and unbreakable, and there’s no better source a reader can turn to for a richer understanding of that complex and wonderful relationship than The Bark
The Bark began as a newsletter in Berkeley, California, that advocated for an off-leash area where dogs could cavort and play. Within a few years it had become a full-fledged, award-winning glossy magazine that published work by some of the best writers in America today. And as it grew, the magazine embraced a much larger canvas: to cover the emerging phenomenon of “dog culture” that has been developing over the past decade, as dogs have moved out of the backyard and into our homes, communities, and, indeed, the very center of our lives. As editor Claudia Kawczynska writes, “The implications of integrating another species into society’s daily fabric go well beyond how we nurture our dogs. It calls for a revamping of the standard etiquette—respecting the concerns and interests of society at large. This new relationship, along with an appreciation for our rich and unbounded future, comprises what we call dog culture. This is what The Bark set out to chronicle.”
Dog Is My Co-Pilot is an anthology of essays, short stories, and expert commentaries that explores every aspect of our life with dogs. Fifty percent of the material here has never been published before. The book is divided into four sections: Beginnings explores that first meeting, “the initial murmurings when a dog-human relationship is formed.” Pack investigates the theme of “togetherness” and pays tribute to the dynamic of multiple personalities in the canine-human relationship. Lessons examines what dogs teach us, from love to enlightenment. The final section, Passages, reflects on the themes of true friendship, transformation, and loss.
Included are pieces by Lynda Barry, Rick Bass, Maeve Brennan, Margaret Cho, Carolyn Chute, Alice Elliott Dark, Lama Surya Das, Pam Houston, Erica Jong, Tom Junod, Caroline Knapp, Donald McCaig, Nasdijj, Ann Patchett, Michael Paterniti, Charles Siebert, Alexandra Styron, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and Alice Walker. In selections that are humorous, poignant, truthful, sometimes surprising, and frequently uplifting, Dog Is My Co-Pilot embraces the full experience of the world’s oldest friendship. For people who love great writing and, yes, great dogs, it’s a book to be both shared and treasured.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
andldquo;Bill Vaughn fully succeeds in making the reader feel as if he has followed along on a journey of revelation inspired by a chance encounter with a hawthorn. The book is exceedingly original and the author does an excellent job weaving together a wide range of material.andrdquo;andmdash;Todd A. Forrest, The New York Botanical Garden
andldquo;Wow! This is quite extraordinary.... I was absolutely riveted from the first paragraph. Vaughnandrsquo;s writing is often deeply literary, but at the same time, one can see the wheels of an innate environmentalist turning in intricate circles, sketching out a narrative that is by turns thoughtful, funny, informative, and even astonishing.andrdquo;andmdash;Daniel Lewis, Huntington Library
andldquo;Bill Vaughn romps through the thickets and hedgerows of biology and culture, emerging with fascinating tales about an unjustly neglected species.andrdquo;andmdash;David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen
is a delightful book about a tree that has deeply influenced European and American landscapes and cultures. Vaughn is a gifted storyteller who writes with flair and nuance.andrdquo;andmdash;Ruth Kassinger, author of A Garden of Marvels
andldquo;A fascinating exploration into how a tough, thorny tree could have so much human and personal history carved into it, from war and famine to fairy tales and founding fathers. Hawthornandnbsp;tells a story as charmingly and intricately branching as its subject.andrdquo;andmdash;Paul Collins, author of Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars
andldquo;This jack-of-all-trees story makes for a compelling read, spiced with arcane history and Vaughnandrsquo;s own anecdotes.andrdquo;andmdash;Science News
An engaging introduction to the ancient hawthorn tree and its varied roles in human history
One of humankindandrsquo;s oldest companions, the hawthorn tree is bound up in the memories of every recorded age and the plot lines of cultures across the Northern Hemisphere. In Hawthorn,
Bill Vaughn examines the little-recognized political, cultural, and natural history of this ancient spiky plant. Used for thousands of years in the impenetrable living fences that defined the landscapes of Europe, the hawthorn eventually helped feed the class antagonism that led to widespread social upheaval. In the American Midwest, hawthorn-inspired hedges on the prairies made nineteenth-century farming economically rewarding for the first time. Later, in Normandy, mazelike hedgerows bristling with these thorns nearly cost the Allies World War II. Vaughn shines light on the full scope of the treeandrsquo;s influence over human events. He also explores medicinal value of the hawthorn, the use of its fruit in the worldandrsquo;s first wine, and the symbolic role its spikes and flowers played in pagan beliefs and Christian iconography. As entertaining as it is illuminating, this book is the first full appreciation of the hawthornandrsquo;s abundant connections with humanity.
About the Author
Claudia Kawczynska is editor in chief and Cameron Woo is the creative director of The Bark
, which they cofounded in 1997. Recognized as one of the Most Notable Magazine Launches of 1999, The Bark
has garnered numerous honors, including a Folio Gold Award and Best Alternative Press Award. The Bark
is published out of Berkeley, California, where the editors live with their dogs Nellie, Callie, and Lenny, and cats Sammy, Hoagy, Bailey, Maggie, and Big Mama. Visit The Bark
From the Trade Paperback edition.