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The Dog Allusion: Gods, Pets and How to Be Human [Paperback]

Martin Rowson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Mar 2008

'As with dogs, so with gods - by and large, you should blame the owners.'

A particular trait, common to all human civilisations, is the worship of non-human entities with followings of devotees who claim that their reverence can transport them to transcendental heights of complete and unfettered love.

Do we mean God? No - we mean Dog. Dogs and other pets we've been keeping and loving since we began walking on two feet. But why do we love God - and pets - so much when their capriciousness sometimes suggests that they don't love us back?

In this wise, witty and highly topical book, celebrated cartoonist and novelist Martin Rowson argues that rationally, the whole enterprise of religion is a monumental and faintly ridiculous waste of time and money. But then again, so is pet-keeping.

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The Dog Allusion: Gods, Pets and How to Be Human + F*ck: The History of the World in 65 Unfortunate Incidents + Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, The
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099521334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099521334
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 599,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Cheeky [and] irreverent" (Scotland on Sunday)

"An erudite, entertaining, informative and sometimes spectacularly rude rant" (New Scientist)

"Learned, intelligent, outrageous, fruitful and funny" (Tribune)

"He is a sensitive writer, capable of great subtlety" (Guardian)

Book Description

A funny and insightful book about what our attitudes to dogs and deities can tell us about ourselves, by rapier wit and celebrated cartoonist, Martin Rowson.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more than a puerile analogy. 18 Mar 2008
The cover cleverly plays off Richard Dawkin's recent best seller yet it alludes to something far less seminal; furthermore, the synopsis does no justice to the content.
This book is an extremely interesting and well based macro-view of social, cultural and political human behaviour, with numerous humourous narratives and anecdotes, providing additional substance to enjoy.
In short, it provides a wealth of thought provoking material and possibly even engenders answers to the meaning of life!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Do disregard the Telegraph quote guys - this wee book really has sod all to with loving or hating dogs. It is rather a very witty guide the nature of belief, with much interesting digression for a bonus: few of us, know, for example, that the English were once renowned for their cruelty to animals.

Mr Rowson is of course one of our finest ever cartoonists - this book shows he is also a very fine writer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Rowson sans rage 23 Jun 2012
I've long thought of civilisation as a by-product, or, as Rowson puts it (p17) a 'long.. suicide note' or Gaia's equivalent of a bad cold. The whole preposterous experiment, since the Industrial Revolution in particular, is a vast morality tale; Rowson, neither historian nor philosopher* though a highly intelligent man who can also tell jokes, is here its detached observer. Too detached - and I can't say I share his empathy with pets, whose enforced dependency (rent-a-friend!) infantilises and demeans both them and us (I make an exception of hens, whom I class as wild and who like certain breeds of dog make themselves useful). This slight, meandering confection should really have been five fifteen-minute talks on the radio (it originated as a talk to Lewisham humanists, jokes and all) but I suppose the title was thought too good to pass up. Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great is loads more fun

*The best thought is probably from Rowson's son Fred and his mate Rory on page 122. The animal noises in Appendix D are quite a handy resource too - though I'm pretty sure a Brazilian duck goes quoing quoing (who was your informant, Rowson?)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars book good condition poor 4 Nov 2013
I do not like buying books that have their previous 2nd hand labels half torn off especially when they are for less than the asking price - for this reason the book was not in great condition - covers scorched and mired by stickers
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars woof what a good read 22 April 2013
Yes the cover blatantly rips off Dawkins' `The God Delusion' and yes for that matter the title does too, it is even written in the same sort of fun, accessible, conversational, almost magazine style that ensures even the layest lay person can understand the arguments put forward. The links to Dawkins are more a marketing choice though because the content is good enough that a blank cover would have sufficed, still if the link gets it into even more hands than it would have done in our style over substance market led world then you can't really begrudge it because this book really does deserve to be read.

Rowson argues well for the need to move away from the word `better' which has mistakenly been tied to evolution where evolution has been mistakenly defined as a linear engine of `progress'. This issue is well highlighted in his `air conditioning unit' analogy.

Rowson differs from Dawkins mainly on the point that for Rowson religion isn't really a big problem. Rowson just wants us all to get along in a live and let live way. Let there be fairies he cries, as long as those fairies don't interfere with anybody else, what's the problem. Words to live by perhaps but it ignores the fact that while it may be live and let live for some what happens to the school that pushes religion as a given? How do we deal with that?
While Richard Dawkins produced an all out attack on a dangerous enemy, Rowson takes a more relaxed, maybe even more idealistic view of the world; what he essentially does is wipe the strength of religion out in one fell swoop by simply stating in fact that actually religion doesn't even matter. Religion isn't a big deal and at the end of the day why fight something that is so obviously fantasy anyway?
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