Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon

By Bronwen Dickey   |   Published On: May 10, 2016
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Get to the bottom of the most infamous breed around with Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon. When author Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no trace of the infamous viciousness in her loving and affectionate pit bull. And so she was led to wonder—what caused this breed, beloved by Helen Keller and Teddy Roosevelt, to become known as a brutal fighter?

Her search for answers took her everywhere from 19th century New York dogfighting pits to early 20th century movie sets, and from the battlefield of Gettysburg to struggling urban neighborhoods. In this New York Times best seller, Dickey shares the illuminating story of how a popular breed became demonized—and what role humans have played in the transformation. Offering an insightful view of American’s relationship with their dogs, Dickey does a beautiful job of getting to the heart of this often controversial dog.

About the Author

Bronwen Dickey is an essayist and journalist who writes regularly for the Oxford American. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The Best American Travel Writing 2009, Newsweek, and Outside, among other publications. In 2009 she received a first-place Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award and a MacDowell Colony residency grant.

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  • Item Number
  • Dimensions
    9.5 x 6.8 x 1 inches
  • Weight
    1.55 pounds
  • ISBN-10
  • ISBN-13
  • Pages
  • Format
  • Subject
    Dog Breeds
  • Dog Breed
    Pit Bull (American Pit Bull Terrier)
  • Author
    Bronwen Dickey
  • Publication Date
    May 10, 2016
  • Publisher
    Penguin Random House
Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations ix

Breed Glossary x

Author's Note xiii

Prologue 3

Chapter 1 Pariah Dogs 9

Chapter 2 The Keep 29

Chapter 3 In the Blood 49

Chapter 4 America's Dog 68

Chapter 5 Dogs of Character 84

Chapter 6 Tooth and Claw 109

Chapter 7 A Fear Is Born 130

Chapter 8 The Sleep of Reason 147

Chapter 9 The Phantom Menace 160

Chapter 10 Known Unknowns 172

Chapter 11 Looking Where the Light Is 196

Chapter 12 "Don't Believe the Hype" 219

Chapter 13 Training the Dog 240

Chapter 14 Different Is Dead 266

Chapter 15 For Life 295

Epilogue 309

Acknowledgments 315

Notes 319

Selected Bibliography 357

Index 363

Illustration Credits 381

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  • 5 out of 5 stars

    Fantastic and informative!

    By on

    I really enjoyed reading this book and I have learned so much! It really helped create an easy to understand picture for the reader. Even knowing what I do, I've often struggled to separate the blurred lines of fact and fiction surrounding this topic. Whether it be well intentioned advocates for the breed, or overly cautious "anti-pitty" people, it can be difficult sometimes to discern truth in the well muddied waters. I think this book is just what our culture needs to sort out all the truth from the nonsense fueling pit bull stigma.

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