Books On Our Site May Not Be Available In-Store
Is This Book In Stock?  Be Savvy!  Check availability details beneath the blue "Add to Cart" button.

Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Logo
Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
4 on hand, as of Apr 21 7:45am

Staff Reviews

"Bronwen Dickey blew my mind with Pit Bull, weaving social and cultural history, personal interviews, and pop culture into a book that reveals that what we call a 'pit bull' doesn't even really exist. I am no longer comfortable identifying any dog by its breed, even my own, much less judging them."

— Claire

Bronwen delivers a well balanced, superlatively researched treatise on the much maligned and beloved pit bull (whatever that is)... she really does not try to convince anyone to feel one way or the other (much to her detractor's disbelief), letting the reader come to their own conclusion. a great read about a misunderstood breed...yay dogs!

— Jason M.


The hugely illuminating story of how a popular breed of dog became the most demonized and supposedly the most dangerous of dogs--and what role humans have played in the transformation.

When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate, timid pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed--beloved by Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Hollywood's "Little Rascals"--come to be known as a brutal fighter?

Her search for answers takes her from nineteenth-century New York City dogfighting pits--the cruelty of which drew the attention of the recently formed ASPCA--to early twentieth-century movie sets, where pit bulls cavorted with Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton; from the battlefields of Gettysburg and the Marne, where pit bulls earned presidential recognition, to desolate urban neighborhoods where the dogs were loved, prized--and sometimes brutalized.

Whether through love or fear, hatred or devotion, humans are bound to the history of the pit bull. With unfailing thoughtfulness, compassion, and a firm grasp of scientific fact, Dickey offers us a clear-eyed portrait of this extraordinary breed, and an insightful view of Americans' relationship with their dogs.

About the Author

BRONWEN DICKEY is an essayist and journalist who writes regularly for the Oxford American. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The Best American Travel Writing 2009, Newsweek, and Outside, among other publications. In 2009 she received a first-place Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award and a MacDowell Colony residency grant. She lives in North Carolina.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307961761
ISBN-10: 0307961761
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 352
Language: English