Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy” as Want to Read:
Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,314 ratings  ·  151 reviews
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.--Genesis 1:24-26

In this crucial passage from the Old Testament, God grants mankind power over animals. But with this privil
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 8th 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 15th 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dominion, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Abby Yes, it is very well-researched. The author obtained lot of the information firsthand from visiting conferences and business and talking to profession…moreYes, it is very well-researched. The author obtained lot of the information firsthand from visiting conferences and business and talking to professionals. He also frequently quotes the words of experts and references published works. The Works Cited list is 20 pages long.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,314 ratings  ·  151 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
May 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: vegetarians, vegans, curious, open-minded thinkers, compassionate individuals
This book is glittering prose! I read it with a pencil or pen in hand and typically felt like underlining every word on the page! I was always scribbling things in the margins. It was great! I am amazed at how carefully Matthew Scully explains his thinking on various subjects, without being overbearing or self-righteous. I will try to quote some of my favorite passages, although there are too many favorites to include here.

"let us just call things what they are. When a man's love of finery clou
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot more before I learned the author is the speech writer for Sarah Palin. I have a hard time believing that Scully is not passionate about vegetarianism. The book is incredibly dramatic. You can tell he is a speech writer -- he writes as if he is before 100,000 people trying to enliven them for battle or something. I am a passionate vegetarian, and there were times that even I was like, okay Matthew Scully enough enough enough! So where is his inauthenticity? How can he beli ...more
Amanda Hupe
A rare DNF. The hypocrisy is strong with this one. You can say you love animals as much as you want, provide many examples of the cruelty of animals. But if you support and praise the people who vote against policies that would help animals then your words are just empty. Too preachy and the words too empty.
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well. This was a shrewdly written book. Instead of arguing for animal rights he argues that humans have neglected to exercise care for animals in their use of them. In other words modern humans have forsaken a biblical and moral vision of dominion for a quite selfish and callous use of animals for profit. In this use we ourselves are disfigured and reduced.
Most of the first half of the book is an overview of the most egregious misuse of animals in our world, focusing on the trophy hunting of a
Writer's Relief
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We’ve all seen the crammed chicken coops, the overfed, hormone-injected cow, or the shot deer hanging off the back of a hunter’s pickup. We’ve all felt something, if not a little sadness, for these defenseless animals. Then we go home and we pet our dogs and think nothing of it. So what then? In his treatise DOMINION, renowned journalist Matthew Scully explores the argument for animal rights in the modern world, and the various inconsistencies found within these debates. As the title lets on, Sc ...more
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
He has some good points and obviously did a lot of research, but he is also a conservative Republican who is aiming for reformism and wrote a speech for Sarah Palin (I discovered this as I was reading the book, sadly) which is very cringe. I also found the book to appeal to Christian morality more than anything else. Those arguments, in my opinion, were the weakest and dragged the most.
Tobias Leenaert
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the best books about animal rights i've ever read. distinguishes itself from the countless others by the quality of its prose. wonderfully written, with a very clear sensitivity for these issues on the author's part. ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a life-changer - beautifully written, compelling arguments, and altogether inspiring.

Read it even if you're sure you'll never give up your bacon. There's something in here for everyone to think about and act on.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mogo, read-in-2010
Excerpt/something to consider:

"Philosophically, one can look at it this way. Broadly speaking, for as long as people have engaged in moral thought, mankind has acted upon two fundamental beliefs: (a) It is morally permissible to raise and slaughter animals for our own consumption--a material good--because doing so is necessary for our survival and well-being--a moral good. But this very claim of moral sanction attested to the belief that there was a sacrifice involved and that (b) even in livest
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it.

"My point is that when you look at a rabbit and can see only pest, or vermin, or a meal, or a commodity, or a laboratory subject, you aren't seeing the rabbit anymore. You are seeing only yourself and the schemes and appetites we bring to the world --- seeing, come to thing of it, like an animal instead of as a moral being with moral vision" (3).

"For me it was a simple moral step of extending that vision out into the world, for what are dogs but affable emissaries from the animal kingdom
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I picked it up at the library last week because I recognized the author's name from when he was one of George Bush's speech writers. I didn't really even pay attention to what the book was about because I was in a hurry (although the cover image was captivating). The book explores the idea of man's dominion over animals, and how in modern times that has been turned into a completely unrighteous dominion. The author eloquently argues that every anim ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I think this may end up being one of my all-time favorite books. This man writes beautifully, and says all the things I feel about animals, but am too inarticulate to express on my own. I initially bought the book because I heard it was written from a Christian perspective, and that the author is conservative -- and I wanted to expose myself to a perspective that would appeal to Christians that I might encounter in conversations about animal welfare. But (a) he doesn't push the religion stuff a ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Still one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Every few years I pick it up again. Parts of it are hard to get through, but Scully is unmatched in his ability to communicate the heart and soul of this issue. He's also a unique voice in the animal advocate world, as a religious and conservative man. The argument made on a spiritual level - the true meaning of dominion and stewardship, for example - just hits me like a speeding train every time. The plain, inarguable logic and harsh truth of ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'll start by saying I had to read this for a class I was taking, and the professor had a horribly slanted view on this material. When I say slanted, imagine Rose & Jack trying to hold on to the Titanic as one end was going under. THAT kind of slanted. Ergo, my opinion of it is colored a great deal based on how she forced us to interpret it in class if we wanted to pass and the subsequent discussions that went along with it.

If you're looking for some references on this particular topic, I guess
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Some chapters in this book are captivating -- particularly the author's research into the Safari Club and the world of big game trophy hunting. Great investigative journalism. But then he juxtaposed a few of these chapters (including another good discussion about whale hunting) with discussions into animal rights which focus on an attack of Professor Singer's animal rights perspective and fail to offer his own cogent theory of animal rights or welfare. I felt that the author had several ideas fo ...more
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is really incredible. Nearly every page contains a memorable quote or idea; its almost poetic because his writing flows so smoothly. It's a true work of art and the way he delves into the world of science, animal rights, leisure and necessity is seamless. His words are extremely compelling and they have encouraged me to become a stronger vegan and really pour my efforts into the fight for animal rights. ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read other excellent books in this vein (Eating Animals, Animal Liberation, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?), so there's not much new here to a student of this topic, but what is new is the willingness to tackle the religious arguments in favor of God-granted human dominion over animals. I admire the author's courage and dogged pursuit of his case.

Some great quotes:

“Factory farming isn't just killing: It is negation, a complete denial of the animal as a living being wit
I am not what you'd call an 'animal person.' I have never had a pet, nor do I want one. Although I have moved to a largely plant based diet over the past three years, my choice to go mostly vegetarian had more to do with my health than animals. I don't think much about animals, really, except that I don't like factory farming, and think zoos are mean. Then, about a week ago, after watching the documentary Vegucated, I learned something that utterly horrified me: male baby chicks are thrown alive ...more
John Yunker
Dominion: A Christian writes about hunting, factory farming, and other sins against animals

Several years ago, I heard about a Republican, a former speech writer for George W. Bush, who had written a book in favor of protecting animals. I also heard that he was vegetarian (now vegan).

I initially wondered if hell had frozen over.

I’m joking, but only slightly. Because it was just a few months ago, at the Republican CPAC conference, that a former aid for Donald Trump warned that democrats wanted to
Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you interested in reading this book, you should read my brother Eric's review of it. He's said pretty much what I thought of the book, but more more eloquently than I could write it! Just a couple of my own thoughts - I was particularly struck by his comments about how the average person views their own animals (family pets, etc.) and would never dream of mistreating them vs. what they are willing to eat (i.e. meat from industrial farms) and use (i.e. products tested on animals). For example, ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It took me a long time to finish this book, but not because of anything inherently wrong about the book or its merits. On the contrary, the heartbreaking commentary on the suffering of animals at the hands of our fellow world citizens, and the complicity that all of us have, in one form or another, in this awful state of being, is overwhelming and heart-wrenching. I could only take so much at one sitting. I shed more than a few tears as Matthew Scully outlined the travesties perpetrated on our f ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This, like so many books about the systematic abuse and widespread slaughter of animals, was a hard book to read. The raw truth can be devastatingly painful. Matthew Scully has done an excellent job writing a convincingly powerful, and absolutely moving argument for the rights of non-human animals. I was initially shocked to learn that Scully is a vegetarian, the former speech writer for G.W. Bush, and a Conservative Republican-not things I would normally associate with a merciful position towar ...more
Jeffrey Spitz Cohan
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: veganism
More than 10 years after its release, “Dominion” still reigns one of the most important books ever written about our (disastrous) relationship with animals – for two reasons.

First, this relationship has rarely, if ever, been addressed by a writer of Scully’s skills. His turns of phrase and rhetorical flourishes are valuable contributions to the messaging of the animal advocacy movement.

If you care about animals and especially if you want to talk or write about them, reading “Dominion” is well wo
Nov 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has never considered why they eat meat or where it comes from
Shelves: class, non-fiction
After spending the past few weeks reading theory on animal rights and our moral obligations (or lack thereof) I thought I was immune to pretty much anything any activist could throw at me. Yet, here is a conservative Christian who has managed to create a compelling work that a) neatly sums up most of what I've read on the subject and b) proposes reasons for mercy and morality towards animals that is less abrasive than Singer and more, well, realistic than most.

This book kind of snuck up on me, a
Judith Spapens
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Frankly a beautifully written book, very well researched and moving. Would've given 4 stars until I arrived at the conclusion which was some weak legislation for humane meat & free range animal products. If he has no issue with meat, apparently, but just with the raising & "cruel" slaughter of animals why is he himself a vegetarian? Because there is no humane way to take the life of someone who doesn't want to die. Slaughter always involves terror & injustice, and Scully knows this. Why not prom ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review originally published on Flayrah.

Matthew Scully is an unusual proponent of animal rights, coming from the Christian-favoured, U.S. Republican party. Indeed, he speaks about people automatically assuming he is on the side of hunters and pig 'farmers' when, in fact, he has been a vegetarian for over 30 years.

While Scully does support animal rights, he makes that stand from a generally religious perspective, arguing that current treatment of animals is an abuse of god-given dominion, and disa
Mar 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I read this hoping to learn more concerning the treatment of animals in factory farms. What I got was a seemingly endless, repetitive diatribe against the mistreatment of animals in any conceivable way. The book was at least 250 pages too long full of emotional appeals. I did find several sections well written, well thought-out, and helpful. But I also flipped page after page to get past so much of the redundancy of his arguments and his endless argumentation.

I appreciate his concern regarding t
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Growing up in the WI hunting culture, I have never thought of myself as anti-hunting. However, it was interesting to read about safari game/trophy hunting in Africa by extremely wealthy Americans. I didn't realize that Safari Club International was considered a charity for tax purposes. Even if Scully doesn't change your mind, you will feel an obligation to at least reexamine and justify to yourself your positions on issues related to animals. ...more
Amanda Wareing
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was long and rambling and dense; and extremely poetic and powerful and important. I have never read a book with so many passages I wanted to copy to reread later.

This book encapsulates what has always been a meaningful question to me - What does our treatment of animals say about us as humans?

Here are some of my favorite quotes/passages from the book.

“It is true, as we are often reminded, that kindness to animals is among the humbler duties of human charity -
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant book. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

At once a shocking expose of humanity’s inhumanity directed against our fellow earthlings (difficult to read at times), a brilliant moral argument against the cruel suffering of animals at the self-justifying hands of humans, and a stirring call to mercy and justice for God’s creatures who exist for his glory not ours.

Matthew Scully’s writing is full of wit and moral clarity, his prose powerfully and artfully crafted in this thought provoking display of moral pe
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity 1 1 Jun 23, 2017 11:28PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
  • The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
  • Silent Spring
  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
  • The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
  • The Johnstown Flood
  • Animal Studies: An Introduction
  • An American Trilogy: Death, Slavery, and Dominion on the Banks of the Cape Fear River
  • Star Wars: Heir to the Empire: Behind the Scenes: An Expanded Universe is Born
  • Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language
  • There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years
  • Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility... What You Choose to Eat Is Killing Our Planet
  • The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth
  • The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
  • Vystopia: The Anguish of Being Vegan in a Non vegan World
  • Ghost Sightings
  • The Last House on Needless Street
  • Eating Animals
See similar books…
See top shelves…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
12 likes · 2 comments
“Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.” 124 likes
“When you start with a necessary evil, and then over time the necessity passes away, what's left?” 93 likes
More quotes…