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From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava (Lava #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,391 Ratings  ·  524 Reviews
When Marines enter an abandoned house in Fallujah, Iraq, and hear a suspicious noise, they clench their weapons, edge around the corner, and prepare to open fire.
What they find during the U.S.-led attack on the 'most dangerous city on Earth', however, is not an insurgent bent on revenge, but a tiny puppy left behind when most of the city's population fled before the bombin
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Paperback, 196 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Pan MacMillan Australia (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Buggy
Opening line:"I don't remember exactly when I got to the house that served as our command post in the northwest sector of Fallujah, and I don't remember exactly how I got there."

This was a surprisingly great read that held me captivated from beginning to end and I've been recommending it like crazy to all my friends. FROM BAGHDAD WITH LOVE tells the heartwarming and somewhat heartbreaking story of a starving abandoned puppy named Lava and the hardened marine who along with wartime journalists, I
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Donna
The parts about the dog rescue were sweet. This little dog was adopted and taken care of by American soldiers when they discovered he had been abandoned in a building. He looks like such a cutie. The account given about the soldier, Kopelman, was not so sweet. He was a little on the socially awkward side. But I appreciated his love for his dog and how he managed to bring him home.
Darcy
Like the everyone around Lava I found myself sucked into him. I get how the puppy won over the hard Marine, how the dog helped everyone keep a little sane and a sense of home when doing a horrible job. I was glad to see this one have a happy ending.
Rachel
Sep 30, 2010 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
I read the first half of this a month ago and then, what with one thing and another, couldn't seem to get back to it. I was thinking this meant that it wasn't terribly compelling, but earlier today when I was sitting in a waiting room with nothing to do finally finish reading it, I had to try not to cry in great big heaving sobs, even though it would have given all the people who forgot to bring a book something to look at.

Jay Kopelman was a Marine colonel on active duty in Iraq in 2004 when his
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Laura
Feb 24, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly heart wrenching, hopeful, and disturbing.

What the military has done to our soldiers to prevent them from feeling compassion for even animals is disgusting. I understand the need to keep soldiers able to kill other people for the sake of a country's safety and security, but to actively kill animals that some servicepeople have grown attached to is just beyond awful.

Even though this story has a happy ending for Lava the puppy found in Fallujah, Iraq, the author, a Lt. Col.
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Connie Faull
Sep 08, 2011 Connie Faull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book 4 stars. Although the military brass and the hordes of brains and suits at the Pentagon don’t like military members in combat to adopt animals ,they say it’s against regulations for “health reasons,” actually it’s because they don’t want them to feel normal human compassion when their jobs require them to kill the enemy. You let a little compassion slip in and what might happen when you’re in the field and instead of acting on your training you start to think.

But what the Penta
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James
This is a beautiful story about people in bleak and soul-poisoning situations trying to find something life-affirming that will help them hold up and keep going. People who are surrounded by war, grinding poverty, disasters, and personal tragedies all have these needs in common - like the rest of humanity, just more so.

This is a memoir by a Marine, then-Major Jay Kopelman, of how his unit adopted an abandoned puppy they came across in the middle of the battle of Falujah, one of the worst in term
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Rebecca
I absolutly melted at the cover and wasn't disappointed by the story. It's about a US Marine who's company finds a dog in an abandoned house in the middle of a war zone (Iraq) starting in 2004. What attracted me was not necessarily the story of man and dog but of living in the war itself - it was told in the most beautiful way and gives human meaning behind the pictures we see and articles we read around areas of war, you could feel emotion and the atmosphere.

The simple comment of why not save a
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Marissa
Jun 23, 2015 Marissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So often, the stories we hear from the War on Terror are centrally about heartache and sadness, and the frailty of human kindness and courage. This one is a small and steady light, pouring through all that darkness. Little Lava's story is impossible not to love. It works down into the squishy parts of your heart, and you can't help but feel like you understand Jay Kopelman's desire to save Lava, even though you really don't. You have no idea what he and the thousands of other armed servicemen an ...more
Shahine Ardeshir
This is the story of a US marine who, in the middle of an excruciating posting in Iraq, stumbles upon a little puppy. A puppy who, despite regulations prohibiting it, he decides to adopt, and eventually take home to the US with him. It is as simple - and heart-warming - a tale as that.

I loved how honest, gritty, disturbing, warm and humane this story was. It told the tale of a war zone in a sad but open manner, and I learned a lot about the country and the conflict that I didn't know. The fact t
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Kurk Harris
Oct 30, 2008 Kurk Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers and iraqi war veterans
Recommended to Kurk by: Nathan Rave
This book is a heart-warming tale of a Marine's self-appointed mission to rescue a stray puppy from war-torn Iraq. It is a fast, easy read that will pluck your heart strings, and maybe even bring a tear to your eyes.

I absolutely recommend this book to three groups.
1)Anyone who loves dogs.
2)Anyone who loves someone who has been to Iraq in the military.
3)Anyone who has been to Iraq.

For those who have been to Iraq, you will recognize in Jay Kopelman the intense loneliness that everyone there experi
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Cassy
Nov 10, 2009 Cassy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dog lovers, Americans who are curious about the situation in Iraq
Recommended to Cassy by: Jennifer Strait
Oh man. I should not have read this book right now! I am currently in delicate negotiations with my husband about getting a puppy. And this book only heightens my I-want-a-dog-now fervor. See, dear husband – dogs are great! Even in the middle of war-torn Iraq, a U.S. Marine grew attached to a rambunctious puppy named Lava and undertook the arduous process of getting Lava to the U.S. If Kopelman can fall in love with a dog in those dire circumstances, you too can fall in love with a new puppy in ...more
Tempo de Ler
{Blog} http://tempodler.blogspot.pt/2012/06/...

Li este pequenino livro na praia, no espaço temporal de um dia. E sim, é isso mesmo que eu vou para a praia fazer - ler! Isso e praguejar contra as pessoas que vão para lá dormir e, consequentemente, ressonar sonoramente...e contra os miúdos que vão para lá correr, guinchar, e levantar a areia toda...e contra a minha irmã, que ainda não percebeu que se eu quisesse saber os últimos mexericos sobre o alegado jet7 português eu própria pegava no raio da
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Lara
Jun 08, 2013 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lara by: Megan Spooner
Megan loaned me this book like two years ago (Maybe three now? Jeez...) and I've put off reading it until now because I knew it would probably make me cry. And it did.

While the writing is not all that great, Kopelman is very honest about what the situation was in Baghdad and Fallujah during the war; it actually kind of surprised me that at times he's pretty critical of certain policies and about U.S. military thinking, although never in a way that sounds overly bitter or angry. Some of that may
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Jennifer
Kopelman keeps it 'real' about the war in Iraq and the things highly trained soldiers go through, mentally, physically or otherwise. Saving Lava kept him from completely losing his humanity. Kopelman offers a laugh-your-butt-off commentary about the dog's antics, cliffhanger worry about whether or not Lava's story will end well, and a big picture of Lava's healing power and the hope that there are a lot of good people out there willing to offer a helping hand. I found myself laughing, I found my ...more
Heidi
Dec 01, 2008 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves animals.
I just finished reading this book last night. I would recommend it to anyone who loves animals. The military jargon at times was confusing. At times it was also difficult to read about the atrocities to animals and humans. I appreciated his honesty in the book. I also found the use of animals in the military to be interesting but shocking. I was appalled at what the soldiers over there witness and know they will never be the same. Although I don't think the writing was that good, it was interest ...more
Samantha
Apr 23, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, favorites
Loved it!!

From Baghdad, With Love is a true story about a Marine and a puppy that he finds abandoned in Iraq. His unit takes the puppy in even though it is against the rules and care for him. They know they are breaking the rules but can't help but love him anyway. They know that he may be taken and killed because that is the policy but Lava gives them something to believe in. It takes their focus away from the fighting and fear and gives them something to focus their attention on.

Very fast read
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Pamela

A story of compassion and hope; a bright spot amid the crazy darkness of war.

Lava is the epitome of puppy, mayhem cuteness. Everything centering around that ball of furry energy was wonderful to read. He touched the hearts of so many people. And I was astounded by just how complicated it was to "legally" extract one little (big) puppy from Iraq. Lava, and all those who loved him enough to rescue him from war, are the bright spots of this story.

On the flip-side: portions of the story bleeding in
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Marialyce
This book is a quick read, but one that is quite worthwhile. It is essentially a story about a boy and his dog and how even war and its heinousness can't stop a man from loving and caring for his dog, even if that man is a tough marine. It is well worth the read.
Wendy Kendall
Nov 02, 2014 Wendy Kendall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The power of love in unlikely places will surprise you and touch your heart. Puppy love can melt men’s hearts, and move bureaucracies to action. This is the true story of how one lost puppy touched the hearts of an unexpected coalition of people, and continues to touch many more lives in the telling . . . this book is not to be missed. It is 177 pages that I inhaled in two days; it’s a story that will stay in my soul forever.

First Battalion, Third Marines – known as the Lava Dogs – were on the e
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Leo S14
Nov 02, 2014 Leo S14 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In "From Baghdad with Love" a novel by Jay Kopelman A Marine unit is in Iraq and the protaganist Jay finds a dog and he names the dog Lava. He gets attached to this dog but there is one problem, the UCMJ (uniform code of military justice) forbids any attachment to any animal.But this dog was meant for him. He tries to send him home and has to overcome many setbacks but eventually does get him back to the states.

In this novel my favorite character has to be Jay because he did our country proud b
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Stefani
Jan 02, 2013 Stefani marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Found this using the nifty little GR feature I didn't know existed called the GR Random Book Generator...*shrug* who knew? I must say, just the cover melted my heart a little.
T.K. Lukas
Aug 31, 2015 T.K. Lukas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava had me at "Marine" and "dog." Married to a retired Marine who loves dogs as much as I do, I just had to read this memoir. It tells the story of (then) Maj. Jay Kopelman who risks his career to save the life of an abandoned puppy. War-torn Baghdad on the streets of Fallujah is no place for a puppy, even if he's found temporary shelter. The puppy may not be much safer in the care of the military fighting men who've rescued it, given ...more
Kristin
"Why wasn't my time spent helping people instead of a puppy? I don't know, and I don't care, but at lease I saved something."

I'm not going to lie, I cried at the end. After reading about Lava's struggle to make it out of Iraq, it was hard not to. This isn't simply getting a cute puppy out of a foreign country. There's a protocol that guys over there do not feed/care for the wildlife out there. So there are a handful of cases where dogs and cats are killed in the book because military members wer
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Shirley
Jun 08, 2014 Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, thank you Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman for your service to our country.

This gripping and suspenseful personal account captures the reader from the first pages of the prologue. I will never forget the click, click, click heard as Kopelman and his fellow Marines entered a building with rifles drawn. Was it a sniper? Was there a bomb?

Kopelman explains how in war-torn Fallujah "Discipline overrides everything between Heaven and earth . . . including hunger, exhaustion, fear, homesi
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aoi aka
Feb 07, 2014 aoi aka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
How can you not be sucked in by the picture on the cover. If only all puppies were this quiet when awake, I'd have a puppy. I have a bratty cat instead.

Just from looking at the cover and the title, I knew this would have me in tears. There were times when I had to close the book because I would start tearing up and I knew my face would hurt from crying hard.

This is about a stray puppy found in Fallujah during a Marine reconnaissance mission. It is against military rules to harbor animals/pets in
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Sandy
May 06, 2009 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian
Apr 16, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very touching memoir even without the addition of a puppy into the mix. What I loved most were the latter chapters and how Kopelman directed his mind away from the stress of war (through his commitment to saving the life of a dog). I've read many military memoirs and this one particularly touched me because it was the story of Lava up front and the war going on in the background. A different perspective and excellent read!
Lee
Lt. Colonel Jay Kopelman is a Marine serving in Iraq. The surroundings are dangerous with terrorists behind some of the most innocent of places and the men must constantly be attuned to their fellow marines and their surroundings. There are stray animals everywhere, many traveling in dangerous packs, and the dogs are put down on the spot. It is against all regulations to keep a pet in their quarters. Then a puppy is discovered by Marine Kopelman who finds it impossible to leave the little animal ...more
Chrissytina Marie
This is such a good book. It's a great beach book. A very quick read, written in every day language. You feel like Jay is sitting next to you telling you the story in person. The fact that it's a true story makes it that much better. Any animal lover should read this book right away.
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Other Books in the Series

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“When you spent your entire career on the fringes of violence, the dogs helped remind you that you were still human” 8 likes
“Why wasn't my time spent helping people instead of a puppy? I don't know and I don't care but at least I saved something.” 5 likes
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