Academic journal article Language Arts

Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals

Academic journal article Language Arts

Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals

Article excerpt

Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals Written by Nancy Furstinger Illustrated by Vincent Desjardins Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 192 pp., ISBN 978-0-544-65031-2

"Henry Bergh was an enigma. . . . Although he never became a father or welcomed a pet into his family, Bergh dedicated his life to protecting children and animals" (p. 136). By the time Bergh died, he had prosecuted over 12,000 cases of animal cruelty and founded both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC). While on a political appointment in Russia, Bergh intervened in the beating of a horse, the catalytic moment for his life's work. Bergh returned to America to start the SPCA's first American chapter against daunting odds, facing criticism from his wealthy peers, the American public, and the political establishment. Furstinger deftly contextualizes Bergh's life and the world he hoped to change by interspersing this chronological biography with two-page inserts of background information-historical, political, and cultural. …

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