Rated Reads

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

by Susan Orlean

Rated: Moderate

Although this book contains the complete life story of the original Rin Tin Tin, it also includes much more concerning the legend, which is probably appropriate. The original dog was born near the end of World War I and passed away a number of years before World War II started, yet his essence continued well into the end of the 20th century.

In fact, the stories of the men who were completely smitten by both the dog and the legend are almost more interesting than any other part of the book. Many times while I was reading I had to keep telling myself that this was all real, that it was not a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy centered around the life and legacy of a puppy found in a bombed-out kennel near France.

Sad to say, but the lives of many of the people involved in the sometimes desperate pursuit of trying to maintain a canine brand were indeed tragic. Even sadder still is the obvious evidence that the ideals and convictions of Lee Duncan (the man who found, trained and introduced Rin Tin Tin to the world) were fully and completely destroyed as everyone clamored to get a piece of the pie before the public finally grew weary of the phenomenon.

The good news (as far as I am concerned, anyway) is that even though all of the humans managed to self-destruct, all of the dogs that bore the Rin Tin Tin moniker over the decades were well cared for, developed healthy relationships with young people and had a great time running, jumping, performing and just plain being dogs.

Rated: Moderate. A single f-word and a handful of other mild to moderate profane terms.

— Reviewed by Craig Smith

Craig Smith is chief medical officer of Tacoma Cat Hospital. In addition to providing book reviews on Rated Reads, he podcasts about feline health issues through iTunes and www.tacomacat.com.

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  • Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
  • by Susan Orlean
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: