Recent Books

God's Country: The New Zealand Factor
By Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison
Introduction by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA
March 21, 2011
A Dancing Star Foundation Book (published in collaboration with Zorba Press)
ISBN: 978-0-927379-99-1
Ebook edition (Format, PDF): FREE
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God's Country: The New Zealand Factor

…an Expansive Analysis of Eco-Trends of the 21st Century's 1st Decade

Los Angeles - The Dancing Star Foundation (Los Angeles, CA) and Zorba Press (Ithaca, NY) have just announced the online/worldwide release of God's Country: The New Zealand Factor by Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison, Introduction by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The book, 602 pages and more than 850 photographs, is available online as a free PDF download. The book - a mixture of Utopian prose and deeply personal supposition - provides an expansive analysis of ecological trends of the first decade of the 21st century, using New Zealand as an important paradigm for positive global change.

Far more than one more treatise on environmental change, God's Country explores the many complex issues affecting the local, regional and global ecosystems upon which all life depends and against which the human conscience is heartbreakingly at odds.


Tobias and Morrison profile this frequent collision of ethical values and personal, political and fiscal interests at every social level: from the individual choice to consume, or not to consume, animal products; animal rights, animal welfare and animal protectionist organizations; biomedical interests and factory farming; and many of the NGOs and governments around the globe in earnest disarray over the myriad causes and consequences of climate change.

The Authors note that the complexity of the issues explored, compounded by inherent cultural differences which further exacerbate global dissension and disengagement, while daunting, are not insurmountable and, indeed, underscore the interconnectedness of a world at risk.

And while this 602-page treatise is, according to the Authors and Publisher, no more than a large amalgamation of Opinions and Subjective Surmise, the Authors cite time again their sincere beliefs that New Zealand is a nation optimally situated to foment a sea-change in reassessing the human, animal, environment connection… a nation in the throes of contradiction, to be sure, but a nation where thoughtful public dialogue can drive encouraging change towards a more compassionate future.

Consider the New Zealand paradox: with its thousands of protected, covenanted areas and fourteen remarkable national parks, New Zealand has capitalized brilliantly on "eco-tourism." Yet it has also been described as one of the world's "capitals of extinction" (along with many other regions and nations) due to the tragic loss of species, principally bird species (avifauna). In addition, New Zealand's tranquil image of picture postcard scenery, betrays a less talked-about reality, namely, the slaughter of farm animals for the breakfast, lunch and dinner; a situation that exists in every country.

The very public "dialogue of conscience" in New Zealand, Tobias and Morrison posit, can serve as an expedient for change in individual choices and industrial change, alike. Calling upon both historical and contemporary sources, the authors paint both wrenching and Quixotic portraits as they examine animal suffering and habitat degradation in New Zealand and throughout the world. But beyond carefully chronicling the global crisis in these vital areas, they offer a practicable blueprint for change, enshrining a new methodology for examining the pain and cruelty meted out by humans to other species - a veritable cartography they call "pain points."

"New Zealand," Tobias and Morrison observe, "has the profound opportunity to reinvent her future in every environmentally-vulnerable sector, most notably agriculture for domestic consumption and export." In their words, "New Zealand is a country capable of anything: a new world, a revivified tenable roadmap for compassion and pragmatic idealism that could ultimately work anywhere, in every human community."

The message in God's Country: The New Zealand Factor is one of stark realism tempered by compassion and hope. In her introduction to the book, Ingrid Newkirk, President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) concludes, "Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison have a dream. The beauty of their dream is not only in the imagining, it is in knowing that it could come true.

What it would take to make that happen is for a relatively small number of human beings to decide that the world need not spin out of control and that they themselves are powerful enough to help turn what is now a dream into reality, or at least move us all closer to it."

Free online access to "God's Country: The New Zealand Factor" is available at and