Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quickie Book Review: Ethics into Action

I've written a bit about this book already, and I'm pretty sure I'll write about it again, but today I'm going to focus on giving it a quick review.

Peter Singer's Ethics into Action is not only worth reading, but should be required in Animal Activism 101.

The book serves to give an overview of the life and activism of Henry Spira, and I have to admit, I'd never heard the name before. However, he is without doubt a key figure in the animal rights movement not only because of his campaigns and victories, but because of his methods and attitudes.

The first chapter gives a brief history of Spira's life prior to his involvement in animal rights. It's easy to see how his early life experiences shaped his methods of dealing with people and his early political activism helped him to be effective in spearheading animal campaigns. Singer goes on over the next few chapters to outline the major campaigns Spira undertook, explaining the reasoning, methodology, tactics, and materials used to create change.

The final chapter serves to direct the animal activist. Though the reader may glean considerable wisdom throughout the book, Singer distills much of it into 10 ways to make a difference. Even if you only read this chapter, you would have much to gain. Singer closes by addressing the meaningful life, a concept that pops up in a lot of activist literature, but it's Spira's meaningful life that is the focus of these final pages.

Knowing the history of a movement you care about is important, as is knowing about the people who made a difference. Not only can you learn from the successes and mistakes of your predecessors, but you can better understand why things are the way they are now. The animal rights movement would not be what it is today without the work and influence of Henry Spira. His innovative way of approaching animal rights shaped the movement for the better.

Ethics into Action is informative and inspirational. Henry Spira is a man I wish more people knew about and his work became the model for effective change. Read the book, and you'll feel yourself getting wiser.

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