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

War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love

Rebecca Frankel. Palgrave MacMillan, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-137-27968-2

Though she’s is a senior editor of special projects at Foreign Policy, Frankel’s weekly column about war dogs in the same publication is clearly where her heart lies; she shares her admiration for them in this frequently fascinating study of their role in the military. Dogs have been used in war for centuries, more often in more to take live than to save them, but their uses are many: they alert troops to danger, seek out bombs, send messages in hostile environments, and provide therapeutic comfort to veterans. Frankel explores all of these roles and more, explaining what makes dogs uniquely suited for these tasks, and shares numerous vignettes of dogs (and their handlers) in action, from training to deployment. Frankel’s stance on military’s use of dogs is far from passive. She is highly critical of the U.S. Army’s indifferent attitude to the effects of war on the dogs themselves, some of whom return from the field irrevocably changed and suffering from a canine version of PTSD. Her passion for her subject matter and deep appreciation for the dogs is heartwarming and inspiring throughout. Military aficionados as well as dog lovers will learn from and enjoy from this study of canine commandos and the service people who count on them. (Oct.)