(scan by Rev. Byrd | Cited Edition)

Subtitle: Pets and Their People in the Western World

Author: Kathleen Szasz

Edition Cited in The Compleat Witch
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc.
City: New York
Year: 1968
Pages: 263
Binding: Hardback
Size: 5.75″ x 8.5″
Front/Back Dust Jacket Flap Copy
by Kathleen Szasz

“Another woman divorced her husband because of his love for a five foot boa constrictor. He insisted that his pet sleep in the bed with them, usually coiled around his body, and when his wife, who was afraid of the snake, protested, he abused her and sometimes even hit her.  While he was at work, the boa rested in a large wicker basket with a closed top, but he would bring it with him to the dinner table, coiled around his neck and shoulders.  When he began to feed the snake live mice while he and his wife were having dinner, she decided she had had enough. She was granted a divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty, and his only comment was: ‘Good riddance.’  He acquired another boa and is now impatiently waiting for them to produce children.”

“Petishism,” our mounting obsession with pet animals, has become, in all its many forms, an alarming social phenomenon. This book takes the lid off that phenomenon.

Pets as status symbols, pets as surrogate children, husband, you name it.  Pets as a cause (and the expensively equipped humane societies that proliferate while people starve), pets over people, pets on their way to church, pets as heirs, pets at the opera, pets in analysis, pets at pet tea-parties.  Pet cosmetics, birth control pills, horoscopes, pension and insurance plans, cook books, travel and hotel accommodations, greeting cards, jewelry, special clothes to match your own and funerals.  The industry follows the trend and now grosses several billion dollars a year.  A green and gold stucco home, complete with gold drinking fountain and red velvet cushions, for a pet dog.

This is a stunning, horrific book.  Mrs. Szasz goes behind the specifics to find that no longer capable of loving one another, we have anthropomorphized our pet animals to such an incredible degree that many of us prefer pet relationship to those with human beings.  She is all in favor of pets as long as they are loved for the animals they are, but she believes that the extravagance of our affection for undemanding pet animals is symptomatic of our anxiety, that we must be returned to the primary concern for other human beings if we are to survive.  Her book must be read.

Born in Budapest, Kathleen Szasz has been known primarily for her translations from Hungarian, German, French, and Spanish.  Her research for Petishism took her all over the United States and Europe, but she has lived in London or the past twelve years.

Table of Contents
Introduction  xi


1  The History of Pet Keeping   3
2  Pets – and the Potential Adults   18
3  Pets and the “Expendables”   44
4  Pets as a “Cause”   70


5  Pets and the Yahoos   97
6  Pets and the Taboos   116
7  The Jet-Pet Set   145
8  Pets as Status Symbols   168


9  Pet Power   191
10  Pet Power by Proxy   221

Conclusion   235
Selected Bibliography   244
Index   249

Online Resources GoodReads Google Books LibraryThing
OpenLibrary Project Gutenberg Wikipedia WorldCat

(arranged by year)

(Scan by Rev. Byrd)

Title: (if different)
Subtitle: (if different)
Year: 1968
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc; New York
Pages: 263
Binding: Hardback
5.75″ x 8.5″
Cover Price: $5.95
ISBN: (SBN) 03-066230-3
LoC: 68-24753

(Internet Source)

Title: (if different)
Subtitle: (if different)
Year: 1968
Publisher: Hutchinson; London
Binding: Hardback
Cover Price:
Notes: UK edition
Additional Photos/Images
(Sample Illustrations, Cited Edition)

Misc. Quotes
(Interesting or pithy quotes from the book)
“The rejection of human beings and their replacement by pet animals can take several forms, depending on the conscious or unconscious causes of the rejection and the measure of ‘hatred, disgust and contempt’ experienced.

An extreme example was that of Adolf Hitler, who had millions of human beings murdered and countless of his own followers assassinated if he suspected them of treason, but was so attached to his dog, Blondie, that he would, even during the last weeks of the war, come out from his ‘bunker’ at the risk of his life to let Blondie run around in the fresh air for at least fifteen minutes each day.  However, one does not have to be a mass-murderer to cause the destruction of one’s fellows.  An infinite number of ordinary people who expend all their positive emotions on animals contribute, by their hatred, contempt, or mere indifference, to the oppression and physical or psychological annihilation of human beings.”

Due to the obscurity of some titles, the contents of The Compleat Witch Illustrated Bibliography Project may contain information that is inaccurate or incomplete. We encourage readers to submit corrections and pertinent addenda like images, quotes, or other information, either as a Comment on the appropriate post or via The Compleat Witch Illustrated Bibliography Facebook page.


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