Richard W. Bulliet engagingly recounts the dynamic relationship between humans and animals from prehistory to the present. Bulliet explores four stages in the history of the human-animal relationship-separation, predomesticity, domesticity, and postdomesticity. He begins with the question of when and why humans began to consider themselves distinct from other species and concludes with the use of species as raw materials for various animal-product industries. Bulliet discusses the impact of social and technological developments and changing philosophical, religious, and aesthetic viewpoints and closes with a probing look at our current era of postdomesticity, in which many people remain dependent on animal products, though they have no involvement with producing animals. By considering the shifting roles of domesticated animals in human society, as well as their place in the social imagination, Bulliet reveals the different ways various cultures have reinforced, symbolized, and rationalized their relations with animals.
… Bulliet is never less than intensely thought-provoking. One can only hope that publishers will be beating a path to his door -- giving us the prospect of more food for thought.