The Great Cat And Dog Massacre: The Real Story Of World War Two's Unknown Tragedy by Hilda Kean

The Great Cat And Dog Massacre: The Real Story Of World War Two's Unknown Tragedy

byHilda Kean

Hardcover | March 14, 2017

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The tragedies of World War II are well known. But at least one has been forgotten: in September 1939, four hundred thousand cats and dogs were massacred in Britain. The government, vets, and animal charities all advised against this killing. So why would thousands of British citizens line up to voluntarily euthanize household pets?

In The Great Cat and Dog Massacre, Hilda Kean unearths the history, piecing together the compelling story of the life—and death—of Britain’s wartime animal companions. She explains that fear of imminent Nazi bombing and the desire to do something to prepare for war led Britons to sew blackout curtains, dig up flower beds for vegetable patches, send their children away to the countryside—and kill the family pet, in theory sparing them the suffering of a bombing raid. Kean’s narrative is gripping, unfolding through stories of shared experiences of bombing, food restrictions, sheltering, and mutual support. Soon pets became key to the war effort, providing emotional assistance and helping people to survive—a contribution for which the animals gained government recognition.

Drawing extensively on new research from animal charities, state archives, diaries, and family stories, Kean does more than tell a virtually forgotten story. She complicates our understanding of World War II as a “good war” fought by a nation of “good” people. Accessibly written and generously illustrated, Kean’s account of this forgotten aspect of British history moves animals to center stage—forcing us to rethink our assumptions about ourselves and the animals with whom we share our homes.
 

About The Author

Hilda Kean is visiting professor at the University of Greenwich and an honorary senior research associate at University College London. Her many books include Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800 and London Stories: Personal Lives, Public Histories.
Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800
Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800

by Hilda Kean

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Title:The Great Cat And Dog Massacre: The Real Story Of World War Two's Unknown TragedyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:March 14, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022631832X

ISBN - 13:9780226318325

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Table of Contents

Chapter One
Introducing Animals, Historians, and the “People’s War”


Chapter Two
Being a Pet in the 1920s and 1930s: A Chronicle of a Massacre Foretold?


Chapter  Three
September 1939: No Human Panic.
400,000 Animals Killed in Four Days


Chapter Four
Disrupting Previous Stories: A Phony War for Whom?


Chapter Five
Building Cross- Species Experience: Eating and Food in the War


Chapter Six
Blurring the Boundaries: Who Is Going to Ground? Who Is Protecting Whom?


Chapter Seven
The Growing Strength of Animal- Human
Families and the Wartime State


Chapter Eight
Emotion, Utility, Morale on the Home Front: Animal- Human Relationships


Chapter Nine
Conclusion: Change and Continuity.
Remembering and Forgetting Animals during the Second World War


Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

Editorial Reviews

“The shocking story of why up to 750,000 animals were killed in the first week of the Second World War is the subject of a fascinating new book.”