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Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Kibble for the Soul

Lee Duncan, a corporal in the trenches of World War I France, rescued a military German shepherd and her pups during an artillery attack. Duncan, an orphan, "immediately bonded" with a pup he named Rin Tin Tin. He knew somehow that the dog would become immortal. Ninet...
Lee Duncan, a corporal in the trenches of World War I France, rescued a military German shepherd and her pups during an artillery attack. Duncan, an orphan, "immediately bonded" with a pup he named Rin Tin Tin. He knew somehow that the dog would become immortal. Ninety years later, the legacy of Rin Tin Tin is still alive in the hearts of Americans.

"He was born in 1918 and he never died." The dog that was to become a hero, an ideal, a companion and a caretaker also became a celebrity. Lee wrote a screenplay about the intimacy between a man and his dog, starring Rin Tin Tin. The dog became a favorite in Hollywood's silent movies. He rode a steeplechase horse, dove off a thirty-foot pier, and drove an aquaplane. His successors starred in movies though the years. A 1950s television show about the dog and an orphaned boy adopted by a cavalry troop during the Apache wars hit the charts. Rin Tin Tin IV starred. No matter what the format, Rinty bounded across the screen to save the day.

Although rescued in World War I, Rinty became the "spokesdog" for the United States Army in World War II. Seen as a symbol of bravery, intelligence and toughness, he encouraged many families to donate their pets to the military. His legacy would have died without the dedication of Lee Duncan, Herbert "Bert" Leonard, Daphne Herford and other owners of Rin Tin Tin descendants.

Much of the book details Lee Duncan's early years. His mother left him in an orphanage when he was six. He always felt alone and the only balm to his loneliness was his friend and companion, Rin Tin Tin. Never forgetting his early difficulties, an orphanage was always the first stop when Lee and Rinty did publicity tours.

Susan Orlean, author of New York Times bestseller, The Orchid Thief, says that her initial impetus to write Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend was her love of animals. She feels that Rin Tin Tin has character and because of that his fame has lasted through decades. Orlean spent ten years writing the book and researching in France, Texas and California. She scoured Duncan's records and interviewed people who owned Rinty dogs, obviously relishing the entire process.

Rin Tin Tin is impeccably researched and full of details of Hollywood, television and American life. Lee's war experience, the rescue of Rin Tin Tin, and the parts he played in movies are the most compelling sections of the book. It was fascinating to read about the 16 million animals deployed in World War I as scouts, messengers, carriers of medical supplies, and sentries. The insertion of the author's personal reflections detracted from the more compelling story, but is a minor flaw in an otherwise extraordinary book.

The book released in hardback, eBook and audio formats. Kudos to Marilyn Dantes who captured Rin Tin Tin's essence on the book's cover. The book's text is large enough for those who watched the 1950s TV show. The texture on the book jacket is a pleasure to feel. It is slightly sticky, but it is the story within that will stick with you long after you've finished the read.

Simon and Schuster graciously supplied the review copy for my unbiased opinion.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

posted by nyauthoress on September 27, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Not a quick read

The basis for the book is a good one. However, the author tends to drag out the story line, spending too much time on the minutae of details that aren't relevant to the storyline. The first part of the book I found to be very interesting - the original Rin Tin Tin story...
The basis for the book is a good one. However, the author tends to drag out the story line, spending too much time on the minutae of details that aren't relevant to the storyline. The first part of the book I found to be very interesting - the original Rin Tin Tin story. As the story dragged on, I'm still having difficulty plowing through this and find myself asking "when will it be over"?

posted by 357174 on October 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    "OK" but nothing special - uneven read

    Somewhat uneven writing. Parts hold your interest and other parts drag.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Interesting At First

    At first this book was so so so interesting but then it started to get boring. I dont know if I would recommend it. Susan Orlean is a talented author just needs to make it a little more interesting. Overall, I guess its a pretty good book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Mistclan

    Go to Emerald Atlas

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    recommend

    Interesting history of Rin Tin Tin. I knew only of the TV show, but learned a lot about his silent movies and the life of his owner. The book was thoroughly researched in all aspects of the Wonder Dog. Makes me wish I could see the early movies. Fascinating story of the rise and fall of the German Shepherd breed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

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    Posted October 14, 2011

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    Posted January 9, 2012

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    Posted December 28, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

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