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Dale Peterson's The Moral Lives of Animals Reviewed By Sandra Shwayder Sanchez Of Bookpleasures.com
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Sandra Shwayder Sanchez

Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections (A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one novel, Stillbird.

Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being  reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.


 
By Sandra Shwayder Sanchez
Published on May 23, 2011
 

Author:  Dale Peterson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Press

ISBN: 9781596914247



Click Here To Purchase The Moral Lives of Animals

Author:  Dale Peterson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Press

ISBN: 9781596914247

Cutting right to the chase, I highly recommend this book not only to recreational readers who care about animals but also to professors of animal behavior, anthropology,  human psychology and philosophy who upon reading this  insightful and well researched book might well want to add it to their syllabi for all those various courses of study.
 
I am a fiction writer and usually prefer to read and review fiction, but wanted to read and review this thick scientific tome because of my love for domestic pets and concern for farm and wild animals.  On the cover there is a quote from Jane Goodall that says this book “will change the way many think of animals” and that is most certainly true but I suspect that reading this book will also change in a positive way, how many people think about other people. A look at the chapter headings gives the reader an important clue even before beginning the first chapter (“words”). The author arranges information and insights around such important themes as Authority, Violence, Sex, Possession, Cooperation, Kindness and Peace among others. And as I mention these particular chapters I would like to point out that it is not necessary to read this book from the first to the last page in consecutive order but the reader might prefer to read in the book, skipping around and rereading some portions. There is a lot of factual information and many enlightening ideas drawn from that information. It is not an easy read and it deserves enough time for the reader to fully absorb all that it has to offer.
 
The author looks at human behaviors that may or may not be considered “natural” based on what occurs among wild species, and contrasts these with what social attitudes as well as the legal rules developed there-from, come from “nurture”, or culture. He examines human cultural diversity and human behavioral diversity from the perspective of alien anthropologists who have as little knowledge of our language as human scientists do of the communications among the animals they observe, so that all conclusions are formulated based on observation of behavior. This is an excellent device by which to expand our own consciousness of what could be going on in the minds of animals.   Another excellent analytical tool, a way to open up the mind to completely new ideas, is a strategy he sets up at the very beginning, which he calls  triangulation: not necessarily a compromise between two radically different ways of  analyzing an issue but a third completely different way.
 
The author quotes from Melville’s Moby Dick to open each chapter and I am looking forward to rereading that classic in light of what I’ve learned from The Moral Lives of Animals  (which I also plan to reread).  In the lingo of the sixties this book was “heavy” but in a really important and positive way.

 Click Here To Purchase The Moral Lives of Animals