Until the advent of steam and later the internal combustion engine, the fortunes of man and beast were intimately and essentially bound together. Animals were fundamental partners in a range of human work and leisure activities such as transport, agriculture, industry, warfare, sports, and recreation. But their importance to human progress has become overshadowed by technology and greatly overlooked in our now largely urbanized society, from which the animal world has become ever more remote.
Arthur MacGregor, in Animal Encounters, seeks to renew our appreciation of the diverse ways in which human and animal lives have been and remain interlinked. Drawing on his lifelong interest and expertise in the fields of art history, topography, archaeology, history, and archaeozoology, MacGregor provides a compelling overview of the evolving relations between the human and animal populations of the British Isles from the Norman Conquest to World War I.
In this very readable, informative, and well-illustrated narrative, MacGregor explores the animal kingdom from bees to horses, and a wide range of human activities, from pigeon-breeding to bear-baiting, showing just how interdependent the animal-human relationship has been. Animal Encounters will stir a new sympathy for and an interest in the not-really-so-remote world of animals.