RANCH OF DREAMS by Cleveland Amory


The Heartwarming Story of America's Most Unusual Animal Sanctuary
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 Cruelty is disgusting, and Amory (The Best Cat Ever, 1993, etc.) paints it just so in this story of the haven he helped create for animals suffering from every rank and radius of human abuse. By now Amory is perhaps better known for his advocacy of the decent treatment of animals than for his reviews in TV Guide, and his ranch in east Texas--Black Beauty Ranch, after the book chronicling the frightful abuse of the eponymous horse--is gaining a like reputation. There, animals are allowed to do as they please in a place they feel belongs to them (though ranch hands keep a weather eye out for them). Here Amory tells the stories of various animals and how they made their way to Black Beauty; the tales are by and large horrific, though most have happy endings. Amory is a wry companion whose aristocratic humor sparkles with a biting contempt for all those who would do harm to animals, from the US Navy, which allowed rare Andalusian goats to be shot for sport on one of its shelling ranges, to the National Park Service, with its cruel treatment of burros and buffalo, and the Bureau of Land Management, equally guilty in its handling of wild horses. He also gets in good clean digs at the much-heralded San Diego Zoo, where elephants are splayed and soundly beaten with ax handles if they prove too spunky. Not all is anecdotal as Amory includes an intelligent history of the horse, an explanation of brucellosis and how it relates to the shooting of buffalo that wander out of Yellowstone Park, and additional background information that makes supposedly ``humane'' extermination of animals look barbaric. Amory's simple point--that our treatment of animals should be governed by the rules of common decency and respect--is stated convincingly, with brio and great dignity. (16 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour; TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-87762-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997