Every dog has his day: now he also has his own playful but serious scientific study.

THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS

AN INQUIRY INTO THE ANCESTRY, SOCIAL CONVENTIONS, MENTAL HABITS, AND MORAL FIBER OF CANIS FAMILIARIS

A scientist tracks the evolutionary adaptation of the lone, endangered wolf into man’s ubiquitous best friend.

Budiansky covers science for the Atlantic Monthly, and has treated horses and championed domesticated animals in his five previous books, from The Covenant of the Wild (1992) to If a Lion Could Talk (1998). Here, too, the author defies the environmentalists to insist that the domesticated dog is not merely a degenerate, enslaved form of wild dog. He praises the canine wiles that have allowed our two species to get along so well, even symbiotically: in fact, he warns dog owners from being “owned” by these easily spoiled, manipulative creatures. Humans subjectively misinterpret canine submission (licking feet or smiling) and territorial instinctual displays (barking for intruders) as their dog’s devotion, but the author sees them for what they are—and loves his own dogs nonetheless. Beyond extolling the species’ uncanny abilities (“as olfactory ignoramuses ourselves, we can only begin to appreciate the sagas that reside in canine by-products”), Budiansky concentrates largely on genetics, and quotes many researchers on the physical and behavioral characteristics that persist after wolves and dogs genetically split off some 135,000 years ago. Similarly, Budiansky provides charts and statistics to explain the background, dynamics, and motives behind dog-breeding, and he offers a sometimes harsh portrayal of those who care too passionately about canine pedigrees (“crypto-fascists” is one description he offers). His account combines fun and scientific facts, deflating myth-breaking with practical strategies that enhance the dog-owning experience. With 13 pages of bibliography, this is no pet-store variety walk in the park.

Every dog has his day: now he also has his own playful but serious scientific study.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2000

ISBN: 0-670-89272-6

Page Count: 254

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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