Diligently researched and relevant to canine owners and animal scientists alike; a serious addition to dog health literature.

Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma

THE SILENT EPIDEMIC KILLING AMERICA'S DOGS AND THE NEW SCIENCE THAT COULD SAVE YOUR BEST FRIEND'S LIFE

A debut book explores the dog obesity “epidemic.”

Schulof, whose recreational participation in endurance sports attuned him to body fat’s impact on athletic performance, wondered how he could keep his own dog fit and healthy. His research revealed that “at least half of the dogs in America today are overweight,” which led him on a quest to determine how best to fight canine obesity. This rather remarkable study veers from Schulof’s personal experiences into a weighty scientific treatise about obesity—to some extent, both human and canine. The author approaches the challenge much like an investigative journalist. He does exhaustive research that examines the ancient connection between dogs and wolves, digs into the similarities and differences between human and canine obesity, explores the role of carbohydrates in human and canine diets, and uncovers the seemingly sinister influence of giants in the pet-food industry. Schulof’s keen observation that there is virtually no obesity in wolves while domestic dogs suffer from it is just the tip of the iceberg; the real revelation is that wolves consume a high-quality natural meat diet while most dogs are fed a regimen high in carbohydrates by their owners. The author discovers that the science of canine obesity tracks closely with that of human corpulence; the latest research suggests that carbs, not fat, are to blame: “The most glaring finding that emerges from the literature on canine metabolism is the same one that comes out of studies conducted on human subjects: drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, or eliminating carbs altogether, brings blood sugar and insulin levels crashing back down to earth.” The second half of this strong book is perhaps more eye-opening and potentially scandalous, as Schulof exposes the carb-focused leanings of the pet-food industry, which, in a nod to big pharma, he labels “Big Kibble.” Even the nebulous nature of pet-food labeling is suspect. Quite a bit of this work is technical and scientific but nonetheless intriguing and current. Exhaustive notes and an extensive bibliography make the book all the more impressive.

Diligently researched and relevant to canine owners and animal scientists alike; a serious addition to dog health literature.   

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-76840-2

Page Count: 348

Publisher: Present Tense Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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