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

(Lava #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  6,918 ratings  ·  601 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 bombi
Hardcover, 196 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by The Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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4.11  · 
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 ·  6,918 ratings  ·  601 reviews

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When the group of Marines discovered the abandoned puppy during a mission in Fallujah, Iraq, they named the 5-week-old pup Lava – against regulations and every rule in the book, they adopted him; and every one of them fell in love with the adorable scrap of mischief.

Jay Kopelman was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps – tough, strong and deeply into the Marine brotherhood, nevertheless, he was damned if he was going to let anyone shoot his puppy! The rescue attempt by Jay and
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
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
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
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.
Dara S.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, own, box-2
It was a heartwarming dog story, written by a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines. Since this takes place in Iraq during the war, it is not all sweetness.
Connie Faull
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dog lovers.
Recommended to Dawn by: I bought this through a book club.
A very emotional story. The bond between the Marine and Lava was touching and the efforts made to bring the dog to America were heroic. It is very sad to read about how dogs and other animals are treated over there, but then not surprising since humans are not treated much better.
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.
Carol Storm
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Powerful story of Marines in combat and the dog they rescue from certain death.
Dawn Hough
An amazing story - a lot of "war detail" which I found hard to stay engaged with and the only reason for my lower rating but for those who have served or are interested in the detail of war, I'd imagine it would be a very different story. The amazing thing for me was the length that so many people went to, to get this dog to the U.S. - it was inspirational and nothing short of phenomenal. The story highlights the incredible hold that these beautiful animals have on us... not called "man's best f ...more
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Kurk Harris
Oct 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Shahine Ardeshir
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jordan Larsen
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring story of love, bravery and friendship in one Marine's gripping and heartfelt memoir "From Baghdad With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava." Here, the War on Terror has reached a perilous state as U.S. and Coalition Forces push into Iraqi Dictator Saddam's backyard in an effort to stop his reign of terror and his twisted pursuit of biological and chemical weapons. In the middle of all this insanity is a little puppy who serves as a four-legged refugee in the world's most d ...more
Connie G
When a group of Marines storm an abandoned house looking for insurgents, they hear strange noises. That's when they discovered a little puppy that had survived the bombing in Fallujah. Although there is a regulation forbidding the Marines from keeping pets, the little dog won the hearts of the tough Marines, especially Jay Kopelman.

This is the story of Jay's attempt to bring the puppy, Lava, back to the United States with him. The book also tells the story of the military in Iraq in 2004-2005 ar
Dec 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2011
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
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I love dog stories, love love love them Im a total sucker. So why am I calling this book just OK? The first half is great, its about humanity in war, brought out by a goofball puppy and his hijinks. Marine falls in love, etc. WONDERFUL!

Second half of the book is basically every detail of the logistics. Who's going to watch him, how will we get him his shots and how will we get him out. Every e-mail, phone call, dead end. Its probably a lot like war. Mostly boring, tons of red tape and a second o
Jan 02, 2013 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.
Winter Sophia Rose
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deeply Moving, Fascinating, Honest, Informative, Riveting & Inspiring! An Awesome Read! I Loved It!
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book 5 stars because of it's raw edginess that portrays what our military has endured in Iraq and the Near East. It reveals the bleak reality of how the military, journalists, and civilians survive on adrenaline 24x7 in these war torn countries and it isn't pretty.

This story depicts how emotionally poisoning war is to people, to animals, to earth and yet through the disaster of war here is this story of compassion. It's about people hanging on to a piece of goodness by focusing
Gilda Felt
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Being a dog lover, I was immediately drawn into Lava’s story and the measures taken to get him out of Iraq. And even though I knew they were ultimately successful, I was on the edge of my seat through every setback.

The author does veer off onto other subjects from time to time, but, given the circumstances, I think he can be forgiven. An all-around satisfying story.
Wendy Kendall
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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Lava (2 books)
  • From Baghdad to America: Life Lessons from a Dog Named Lava
“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.” 6 likes
More quotes…