Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs

Overview

Not all animals are created equal. For a start, pigs have it, sheep don’t; that is, that special quality of intelligence, a sense of play, and a gregariousness that make these tragically misunderstood—yet no less endearing—creatures more like us than any other animal. Best-selling author Lyall Watson takes a delightful look at the occasionally amusing, often instructive, and completely admirable qualities of pigs in this indispensable book, not only for everyone interested in natural history but also for fans of ...
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Overview

Not all animals are created equal. For a start, pigs have it, sheep don’t; that is, that special quality of intelligence, a sense of play, and a gregariousness that make these tragically misunderstood—yet no less endearing—creatures more like us than any other animal. Best-selling author Lyall Watson takes a delightful look at the occasionally amusing, often instructive, and completely admirable qualities of pigs in this indispensable book, not only for everyone interested in natural history but also for fans of Babe, lovers of Piglet, readers of Charlotte’s Web and Animal Farm, gourmands and truffle hunters, folklorists, and, of course, believers in meaningful interspecies communication.

The book is filled with both realistic and wonderfully fanciful illustrations of pigs that illuminate everything you could possibly want to know about the extraordinary family of Suids, from their origins and evolution, rich social lives, and combat strategies, to their special relationship with truffles, popularity in art and literature, and increasing use today in cutting-edge medical transplant technology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Naturalist Watson offers a worthy successor to 2002's well-received Elephantoms with an entertaining and highly informative survey of the humble pig that blends scientific fact with personal insight. Watson investigates several distinct pig types, including bushpigs, wild boars, forest hogs and peccaries (“Honorary Pigs”), and offers anecdotes about his childhood pet warthog. . . . Anthropology, biology, geography, psychology are all here in a clearly written, amiable text peppered with trivia tidbits (Josephine Baker used perfumed dancing pigs in her stage act) and lots of pictures. Even those who read but a handful of pages will find their opinion of pigs much rosier.”—Publishers Weekly

“Enlivening the text with stories from his own encounters with pigs, Watson adds a personal touch that makes all the facts read like fiction, with period illustrations, photographs, and drawings adding further charm. The extensive notes and bibliography complete what will become the sine qua non of books on swine.”—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Naturalist Watson offers a worthy successor to 2002's well-received Elephantoms with an entertaining and highly informative survey of the humble pig that blends scientific fact with personal insight. Watson investigates several distinct pig types, including bushpigs, wild boars, forest hogs and peccaries ("Honorary Pigs"), and offers anecdotes about his childhood pet warthog-"Hoover was a gentleman," he recalls fondly. With an eye to "counteract some of our misguided perceptions about [pigs] and shed some light instead on creatures a lot like ourselves," his analysis of the pig snout shows how it is "at the same time arm, hand, spade and primary sense organ"; his discussion of pigs' ears ("like radar dishes") and vocalizations offers insight into the animals' communication system; and a run down of human/pig structural similarities (and the resultant crucial role pigs have come to play in modern medicine) may put some folks off their pork and chops. Anthropology, biology, geography, psychology are all here in a clearly written, amiable text peppered with trivia tidbits (Josephine Baker used perfumed dancing pigs in her stage act) and lots of photos. Even those who read but a handful of these pages will find their opinion of pigs much rosier. 45 color illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Harold Ober. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588342164
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 11/5/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 808,952
  • Product dimensions: 7.78 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Lyall Watson was born and raised in Africa and holds degrees in geology, botany, zoology, and anthropology. He has written more than 20 books, including the bestselling Supernature, Jacobson's Organ, and Elephantoms. He lives in Santa Fe.
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Table of Contents

The Cast 8
Introduction: In a Pig's Eye 13
The First Leg: The Whole Hog 23
The Second Leg: High on the Hog 51
The Third Leg: Hog Heaven 91
The Last Leg: Hogging the Limelight 137
Conclusion: When Pigs Fly 192
Notes 194
Bibliography 199
Illustration Credits 206
Index 207
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