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Book Review: From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava, by Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth. Lyons Press, 2006.

The news from Iraq keeps getting grimmer, but Iraq veteran Kopelman and journalist Roth (The Man Who Talks to Dogs) tell a tale of radiant joy about Kopelman’s efforts to safely transport Lava, the stray dog his Marine unit found in the wreckage of Fallujah, back to the U.S. Kopelman’s nagging qualms about keeping the dog in violation of military orders throw into relief his efforts to repress his guilt over working so hard to save a dog amid so much human suffering. Most bracing are the frank descriptions of the war’s moral vacuum, where terrified men and women–like the dogs that Iraqi insurgents strap with bombs and send charging into the enemy–are driven to commit unspeakable acts they cannot possibly understand. The story of Lava’s journey out of Iraq is exciting, but it’s to Kopelman and Roth’s credit that it’s not nearly as harrowing as the story of what the dog left behind. (Publishers Weekly). A wonderful read.

by: Ellen Lindenfeld

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