A sentimental tale of man and dog and their heroism under fire.




In this follow-up to Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes (2012), Goodavage gives the Marines and their canine companions equal billing.

The story begins with Marine dog handlers spending months learning about “off-leash dog handling,” a specialty of the Israeli military. The dogs would be employed to detect the IEDs being used against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The combination of a trained dog handler's ability to spot potential danger areas on the ground and the dog's prowess at sniffing explosives would prove to be formidable defense against these homemade bombs,” writes the author. The Marines and their dogs would be embedded with infantry, and due to the danger of their mission, the demands on man and dog were huge. Most important was the establishment of a trusting bond between them; any misstep or miscommunication by either could lead to a deadly explosion. The heroes of the story are Lucca, a German shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix who had been born in the Netherlands, and his two handlers. Petting, grooming, feeding, play “and just hanging out” comprised the routine in the months during which handlers and dogs developed a durable bond. An extended training period was necessary since the animals would be “follow[ing] their noses far more independently than leashed dogs.” Lucca’s first trainer and handler was Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham. When his two re-enlistments were completed, Lucca was reassigned to Cpl. Juan “Rod” Rodriguez. After a grievous injury that left him with only three legs, Lucca was released from military service but found a loving home with his first handler. “Over her career,” writes the author in this straightforward account, “she had protected untold numbers of soldiers and marines on four hundred missions with no injuries other than her own.” Lucca was awarded two Purple Hearts for her bravery in action.

A sentimental tale of man and dog and their heroism under fire.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0525954361

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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