New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network November 18, 2019 Marshall Poe
Man’s best friend, domesticated since prehistoric times, a travelling companion for explorers and artists, thinkers and walkers, equally happy curled up by the fire and bounding through the great outdoors―dogs matter to us because we love them. But is that all there is to the canine’s good-natured voracity and affectionate dependency?
In his new book Dogs (Polity, 2019), Mark Alizart dispenses with the well-worn clichés concerning dogs and their masters, seeing them not as submissive pets but rather as unexpected life coaches, ready to teach us the elusive recipes for contentment and joy. Dogs have faced their fate in life with a certain detachment that is not easy to understand. Unlike other animals in a similar situation, they have not become hardened, nor have they let themselves die a little inside. On the contrary, they seem to have softened. This book is devoted to understanding this miracle, the miracle of the joy of dogs – to understanding it and, if at all possible, to learning how it’s done.
Weaving elegantly and eruditely between historical myth and pop-culture anecdote, between the peculiar views of philosophers and the even more bizarre findings of science, Alizart offers us a surprising new portrait of the dog as thinker―a thinker who may perhaps know the true secret of our humanity.
Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.