Linda Lombardi's Reviews > Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog
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Sep 20, 2011

Read on September 20, 2011

The subtitle of this book should not be "Why it's so hard to think straight about animals," which leads you to expect some kind of answer to the question. "It's so hard to think straight about animals" is more like it.

For me, as someone who's written about animals myself and has a fair amount of familiarity with the research literature, this book was somewhat disappointing. There's not that much in this book that I didn't already know. The most interesting part was about cockfighting, which is both the area that I knew least about and one that the author has done his own primary research on - most of the rest of the book relates the work of others.

On the other hand, the fact that this book is so similar to what you'd get from a brain dump of what I know about animals isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, the reason I learned all that stuff is because it is really interesting. If you don't know it, this book could be quite enlightening, at least in exposing you to stuff that you didn't know people even did research about.

As far as the publisher's description, I think you'll be disappointed if you expect the irreverent humor of Mary Roach, but relieved that you don't have to put up with anything much like the over-exposed intellect of Malcolm Gladwell. But never mind that publicity nonsense. The mix of research reports and personal anecdotes doesn't always work for me and the writing style was awkward at times (for example, why can't he make a consistent decision about whether to refer to researchers he cites by first or last names) but for me, he was a guide to this material that I felt extremely comfortable with. It was nice for a change to read a book about animals where the author is perfectly rational about the fact that basically nothing in our attitudes towards animals makes a damn bit of sense.
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