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War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  178 reviews
*A New York Times bestseller*

Under the cover of night, deep in the desert of Afghanistan, a US Army handler led a Special Forces patrol with his military working dog. Without warning an insurgent popped up, his weapon raised. At the handler's command, the dog charged their attacker. There was the flash of steel, the blur of fur, and the sound of a single shot; the handler
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 27th 2013)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  598 ratings  ·  178 reviews

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Anna C
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
During my senior year of high school, we were visited by a retired special forces dog named Bella. While the German Shepherd preened and sniffed around the gym, Bella's handler told us stories about her time in the military. This friendly dog saved countless lives. In Indonesia, Bella sniffed her way through a minefield to lead a group of soldiers to an Al Qaeda training camp. During a fire fight in Afghanistan, Bella attacked (and ripped off the arm) of a hidden insurgent who was about to fire ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is yet another book on dogs and how they are utilized by the military in war situations. It really is quite amazing that dogs can be trained to do incredible, life saving tasks. This book dealt primarily with the dogs themselves and their handlers. It had some really great stories of the bond between the two and the usefulness of these relationships.

While some of this was kind of tedious, overall, it was informative and it was even heart warming at times, as well as heart wrenching.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
liked it slow sad story
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was excited to be offered the chance to read and review this book. Due to my love of military themed books and dogs. The author really gives a nice in depth look into the relationship between the dogs and their handlers. Which I really liked this about this book. The psychological aspect of the handler and the dog's relationship. Honesty, as I was reading this book it was not just the military dogs that I could see having a close relationship but my own two dogs as well. I have always shared a ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anybody that wants a glimpse into what goes on with service dogs should read this book. Not only does she write about what she sees but unlike most she didn't just sit back and watch the training she lived it with them.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher.

The subject matter of this book fascinated me, so I was really looking forward to reading this. However, I felt that there was too much focus on the historical context and relationships between dogs and humans rather than the actual stories. I think the book would have been much better if there had been a single chapter on the background/history that the author wanted to relate, and then have the subsequent chapters focus
This was a book club pick for my face to face book club. It was a good book, but did not keep my interest much. I love dogs and it is hard to imagine them fighting wars. I felt the author was too historical and wasn't very personable, but again I do not know much in the way of military jargon. The book's writing was meh, textbook almost. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to just read. I give it a letter grade of C+
Dan Ward
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really did. It was something that I didn't know much about. Unfortunately this books wanders around like a dog off a leash in a park full of tennis balls. I plugged through 1/2 the book before I just gave up on it and deleted off my kindle. I would skip 30 pages at a time when a point such as 'Do handlers love their dogs' was belabored to the point of tedium. I just couldn't keep with the book and lost interest. Put this down as one I couldn't finish.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I did however have to avoid one chapter as I just couldn't break my heart. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I ended up in floods of tears either from happiness or sadness.

I love dogs and have 3 at my feet while writing this. Dogs are more human and humane than some humans, they feel everything we feel. They give us unconditional love and would die for us, I too would die for my dog...
Kirsten #gooddeedsday #momandpopbusinessownersday #vietnamveteransday
A book about dogs? YES! A book about hero dogs? DOUBLE YES!

I am unashamedly a dog person and I loved this book. Ms Frankel takes you right into the heart of the Military Working Dog program with all its heartbreak and grit. It takes a special dog to be a MWD but it also takes a special person to work with the special dog.

I loved this book.
Nick Yeager
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a dog lover, I really enjoyed this book. As a professional counselor, I really enjoyed this book. Not only does Frankel take us behind the scenes of war in this book, but she also gives us a glimpse into the close-knit relationships that we (humans) experience with our canine companions. In particular, I enjoyed reading about the therapeutic effect that dogs have had on our soldiers throughout history. Reading about this reminded me of my own dog. That said, I'd highly recommend this book to ...more
Megan Ley
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"There is something less complicated (and ironically more human) about relating to war through the story of a dog"

If you love dogs you'll enjoy this book. It was a quick easy read with lots of information and stories about the role of dogs in war. Frankel goes through some history of war dogs as well as other "jobs" dogs have (airport security, therapy dogs). The juxtaposition of a dog's love with war was something I found really fascinating throughout the book. The format of the book felt a
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A first hand experience of the training of military working dogs, as well as the history of utilizing dogs as part of our war forces. Rebecca Frankel was allowed to visit the K9 training center in the Sonoran Desert to interview military handlers and participate in their training sessions.
I thought this would be much more engaging and give more detail for the handlers and the dogs they train. It is unclear if this is a YA book, but if it is, that explains the disjointed narrative.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
5 million stars, one for every time it made me cry. Only read this book in privacy with Kleenex .
Jenny L
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this because I always enjoyed reading books about war novels and well, dogs, because dogs are cute and awesome in every imaginable way ( squeal) Anyways, this book is mainly informational, to be accurate, but it's also heart touching and heart warming in some parts ,reading about the human trainers and the dogs during the devastating war events.
nice but sad
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guernica. A pleasure to behold, but jarringly disjointed. However the masterpiece was intended to be that way while this book seems to be a product of a disorganized author and poor editor. That said, this was still a joy to read. Despite having no single thread to hold onto in this book, the vignettes of handlers and their dogs were well crafted. Mrs. Frankel does a good job of capturing both the relationships between men and dogs as well as the environments they are in together. Almost all of ...more
Joseph Idziorek
Jul 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-fun
The book is filled with many heart-warming stories of the affection that dogs and soldiers show each other. One theme that emerges is the reluctance of the dog handlers to admit that there is a love been them and their dogs. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism. With all of the stories presented, it is hard to believe that is not a mutually shared love in these unique relationships.

Another interesting point raised in the book is the cyclical nature of the utility of war dogs and then their decline.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I definitely need to have all heads up on this review for this book. Rebecca Frankel has put in our hands a fascinating look at the military dogs and how the military views programs about bomb detection dogs, canine post-traumatic stress disorder, combat and operational stress control canines and Americas Vet dogs. What a mouthful you say. But no, this book actually reads so well and easily that you wont want to put it down. Rebecca Frankel gets up close and personal with Marines as handlers of ...more
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ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

Cover: Yay

POV: 3rd Person

Review: A must-read for all dog and animal lovers out there. This book gives an in depth look at the dogs, and their handlers, who serve on the frontlines and explores the training they have to go through, the challenges that face them and what happens when the worst happens. You get to hear tales of some astonishingly brave creatures and the men and women who look after them. As you might expect from a book about service dogs,
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
When I first started reading this book I thought it would be a lot of statistics, and factual information that I wouldn't be interested in. There are statistics but they are written into the story in a way throughout that it didn't seem like I was reading a spreadsheet. I loved all the stories of the handlers and their dogs. Even though some of these stories were sad, I have a deep respect for these animals and the men who train them and go into war with them. I enjoyed reading the history of ...more
Wisteria Leigh
This book offered a view of the relationship between dog handlers in the military and their dog.
The bond that develops over time during training and ultimate deployment in action is remarkable. Rebecca Frankel has put together a collection of war dog stories that is memorable and thoughtful. Readers will no doubt take pause to reflect as each story is unique. However, a common thread exists throughout the book that ties these tales together. Each handler and his dog have an unbreakable bond.
Pamela Barrett
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
In wars throughout the centuries dogs have served in a variety of ways; from sniffing out IEDs, to carrying messages, to bringing comfort to weary soldiers: dogs have proved their usefulness. In War Dogs Rebecca Frankel gives us a brief history and compelling insight into dogs on the battleground. By reading her book I got to know these amazing courageous dogs and their handlers. She has given a captivating first hand account of the training they go through to prepare for their assignments in ...more
Tabby Shiflett
3.5 Stars
A journey through the writer's experiences with Working Military Dogs and their handlers, mostly through a training course. There's some short interlacing stories of these pairs (although I wish there were more), some during conflicts, some after, with a focus on the usefulness and skill of the dogs and the positive outcomes the animals have on people. Also, a discussion on the effects of PTSD on both. Very good read, especially if you know what you are getting. I initially thought the
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is packed with loads of great stories and information about warrior dogs. The more I read about them, the more I appreciate the service they give to all of us.

There's lots to learn and appreciate as you read this book. Everyone should read this to understand more about warrior dogs and the invaluable service they provide.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Wish that I'd read this book and not just listened to the audio. Seeing the pictures helps to make more of a connection to the dogs and their handlers.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
An interesting and informative book about military war dogs. I would not have read if not for book club selection. I love dogs. It's hard to imagine what these dogs went through.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Braedan Leary
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"First thing is you have to trust your dog. You trust your dog. You have to follow him where he goes. If you don't trust your dog, you need to rethink your situation."-Marine Corporal Eric Roethler about his dog Sirius. In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel tells real life stories about handlers and their dogs fighting in the Afghanistan war. They share their stories with there dogs, and how they got to that position in life. They also talk about their the dogs training and how they prepare the dogs for ...more
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