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Distributed for Reaktion Books


Known as much for their pink curly tails and pudgy snouts as their low-brow choice of diet and habitat, pigs are prevalent in popular culture—from the Three Little Pigs to Miss Piggy to Babe. Today there are more than one billion pigs on the planet, and there are countless representations of pigs and piggishness throughout the world’s cultures.

In Pig, Brett Mizelle provides a richly illustrated and compelling look at the long, complicated relationship between humans and these highly intelligent, sociable animals. Mizelle traces the natural and cultural history of the pig, focusing on the contradictions between our imaginative representation of pigs and the real-world truth of the ways in which pigs are prized for their meat, used as subjects in medical research, and killed in order to make hundreds of consumer products. Pig begins with the evolution of the suidae, animals that were domesticated in multiple regions 9,000 years ago, and points toward a future where pigs and humans are even more closely intertwined as a result of biomedical breakthroughs. Pig both examines the widespread art, entertainment, and literature that imagines human kinship with pigs and the development of modern industrial pork production.

In charting how humans have shaped the pig and how the pig has shaped us, Mizelle focuses on the unresolved contradictions between the fiction and the reality of our relations with pigs.

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224 pages | 60 color plates, 40 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2011


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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“Rich in hoggish lore.”

The Independent

“[An] adept and focused history.”

Times Literary Supplement

Pig by Brett Mizelle is one of the amazing Animal series. . . . Richly illustrated with both colour and black and white historical photos and drawings, older advertisements, and just plain whimsy. . . . Compelling reading.”

Gothic Epicures

“The ruthless exploitation of the domesticated pig is amply documented in Pig alongside other more appealing chapters chronicling the many roles played by pigs in language, folklore, literature and art. . . . Informative and interesting.”


Table of Contents


1. What is a Pig?
2. A Shared History
3. Hogs in the New World
4. Meat
5. Human–Pig Partnerships
6. Goods Pigs and Bad Pigs
7. Pigs of the Imagination
8. The Return of the Repressed: Wild-living Pigs

Timeline of the Pig
Select Bibliography
Associations and Websites
Photo Acknowledgements

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