Bronwen Dickey is the author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) and a contributing editor at The Oxford American. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Outside, Slate, Garden & Gun, Best American Travel Writing, The San Francisco Chronicle, Southern Living, Sport Diver, World Hum, and The Independent Weekly, among other publications. In 2009, she was awarded a first-place Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award and a MacDowell Colony residency grant. She lives in North Carolina.
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, TV'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 helped spark the founding of the 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 medals, to desolate urban neighborhoods where the dogs were 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.