REVIEWS: Lefty’s World

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

Lefty’s World
Video documentary, Kindness Publications (Suite 135, 1859 North Pine Island
Road, Plantation, FL 33322). 40 minutes. $17.95 plus $1.50 shipping.
Nominally, Lefty’s World is a companion to Lefty’s Place, producer Lewis
Nierman’s book about the rehabilitation of an injured Muscovy duck, recommended for
school libraries in our January/February issue. But it stands alone, with little overlap.
Wolf, age three and a half, will watch Lefty’s World ahead of most of the children’s video
classics in his impressive collection. He likes to see the Muscovy ducks and other familiar
wildlife––and he understands much of Sonny Dufault’s direct, informative narration.

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BOOKS: If Wishes Were Horses: The Education of a Veterinarian

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

If Wishes Were Horses: The
Education of a Veterinarian, by Loretta
Gage, DVM, and Nancy Gage, St Martin’s Press
(175 Fifth Ave, New York NY 10010), 1992, 295 pages,
paperback $4.99 U.S., $5.99 in Canada.
Nearly everyone who loves animals has at some
point dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Loretta Gage was
one: this is her account of the reality behind that dream. With
relentless attention to detail, she and her sister describe the
process of becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine.
At times her dream seems more like a nightmare, an
endless boot camp of classes taught by insensitive instructors,
of animals sacrificed for knowledge of basic procedures.
Still, there are moments of friendship, human and nonhuman,
and Gage is impressively determined to succeed.

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BOOKS: The Serengeti Migration: Africa’s Animals on the Move

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

The Serengeti Migration: Africa’s
Animals on the Move, by Lise Lindblad,
with photos by Seven-Olaf Lindblad.
Hyperion/Disney Press (114 Fifth Ave., New York, NY
10011), 1994. 40 pages, hardcover, $15.95.
“Daddy, what’s this lion doing? The lion is eating
the zebra. But the zebra didn’t want to be eaten. The zebras
wish the lions would eat something else. But that’s what lions
do. We don’t have to eat animals.”
There’s only one gory photo in this picture-book
version of the Serengeti migration we’ve all seen on TV, but
of course it was the one Wolf zeroed in on, with a keen intu-
itive grasp of the difference between ourselves and natural
predators plus appreciation of the victim’s perspective.
What did he think of the book otherwise?
“It has buffalo in it. It has birds. It has antelopes.”
––Merritt Clifton & son

BOOKS: The Cat Who Came to Breakfast

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

The Cat Who Came to Breakfast, by
Lilian Jackson Braun, G.P. Putnam Sons (200
Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016), 1994, $19.95
hardcover.
Are there any cat lovers out there who are unfamil-
iar with Lilian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who…” series?
Fifteen titles are now in print. If you have missed them, they
are mysteries with minimal gore and victims characterized as
minimally missed. The real protagonists are not the humans
but the pet cats, usually Siamese. My preference among
them is The Cat Who Had 14 Tales, which differs in format
and style from the subject of this review.

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BOOKS: Jim Mason on the nature of unnatural acts

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

An Unnatural Order: Uncovering the Roots
of Our Domination of Nature and Each
Other, by Jim Mason. Simon & Schuster
(Rockefeller Centre, 1230 Ave. of the Americas, New
York, NY 10020), 1993. 298 pages, $24 hardcover.
“The Slave,” a powerful sculpture by Michelangelo,
depicts a man struggling to break free of the stone from which
he is partially formed. This image is repeatedly brought to
mind by An Unnatural Order, for the heart of Jim Mason’s
argument is that humankind is a coldly perverse and destruc-
tively struggling entity as a result of a futile effort to distance
ourselves from the natural and animal world from which we
evolved.

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BOOKS: Captive wildlife debate

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Zoos and Animal Rights: The Ethics of
Keeping Animals, by Stephen St. C.
Bostock, Routledge (29 West 35th St., New York,
NY 10001), 1993. 227 pages, $15.95 paperback.
Orca: A Family Story, by Peter Hamilton,
Lifeforce (POB Box 825, North Hollywood, CA
91603), 1994. 40 pages, $17.99 paperback.
Stephen Bostock, education director for the
Glasgow Zoo, fervently believes most captive wild animals
are happy, healthy, and enjoying the best of all possible
worlds. Peter Hamilton, who has spent many years cham-
pioning unhappy, unhealthy captive wildlife, believes just
the opposite, citing as example the life of the orca Corky,
in an account fictionalized to provide a happy ending: her
release after 25 years to rejoin her pod. Both Bostock and
Hamilton support their positions with a wealth of factual
detail, but both become tedious in their onesidedness.
Hamilton is merely shrill; Bostock is at times absurd, as in
citing a painting as documentary evidence of the terror a
prey species suffers when attacked by a predator.

BOOKS: Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide To Strategy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide To Strategy
by Captain Paul Watson
Chaco Press 1993 (distributed by the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society, 1314 2nd
St., Santa Monica, CA 90401), 118
pages, paperback, $13.
“There is one person who is in a
class of his own in my pantheon of heroes,”
writes Wild Earth editor and Earth First!
cofounder Dave Foreman in his foreword to
Earthforce! “Paul Watson,” he continues,
“has perhaps thought more deeply about strat-
egy than has any other conservationist…One
thousand years from now, sagas will be sung
about Captain Paul Watson, defender of the
oceans, and people will praise his name
because there will still be whales, walruses,
dolphins, and sea birds. Paul Watson is the
hero of our time…the strategic genius of non-
violent ecological defense.”

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BOOKS: Sterling references

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

The Reptile and Amphibian Keeper’s
Dictionary, by David C. Wareham. 1993. 193 pages,
hardcover, $24.95 ($34.95 in Canada).
Dolphins & Porpoises: A World-wide
Guide, by Jean-Pierre Sylvestre. 1994. 160 pages,
hardcover, $19.95 ($25.95 in Canada).
The Greenpeace Book of Coral Reefs, by
Susan Wells & Nick Hanna. 1992, 160 pages, hard-
cover, $35.00.
All from Sterling Publishing Co. (387 Park
Ave. South, New York, NY 10016-8810).

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BOOKS FOR THE MEATOUT

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

Meat: A Natural Symbol. By Nick Fiddes,
Routledge Inc. (29 West 35th St, New York NY
10001), 1991, 261 pages, paperback, $15.95. ISBN
0-415-08929-8.
Former caterer Nick Fiddes, now a social
anthropologist, has had lots of experience with social
responses to food. He has found meat especially rich in
social significance. Like many other writers, he recog-
nizes its potential as a symbol of social, economic and
sexual dominance. But most of all, he believes, meat
subconsciously represents the human conquest of nature.

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