ANGEL IN TOP HAT by Zuima Steele


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The biography of Henry Bergh, the man whose life was bound up with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and its side issue (for him) of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. An exhaustive (and somewhat exhausting) study of a man who emerges as a fanatic, a bore, important only because of all the credit due him as a pioneer in his field. Son of a well-to-do shipbuilder, he inherited no taste nor aptitude for his father's career, and was labelled a dandy, a fop. He traveled luxuriously through Europe; he occupied a diplomatic post in Russia; and then returned to New York and a life work instigating reforms in treatment of animals in the teeth of hostile business men and a satiric press. There is a gruesome picture drawn of the conditions of animals in service -- the street car horses, the slaughter house, stray cats and dogs. The founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was more or less forced upon him, but he never put his heart into it as he did into his own pet hobby. There is interesting material here, but the handling strips it of the vitality it might have had.

Publisher: Harper