carolcody, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by carolcody)
More than a portrait of the original and legendary Rin Tin Tin, Susan Orlean discusses early Hollywood, the cult of a movie star (albeit a canine one), the love between a human and a noble dog, and the admirers, fans and dog lovers alike, who have kept Rinty's legend alive over the decades of silent film, talkies, radio dramas, and television adventure shows. Orlean's humor, research, and sensitivity to her subject are all present in this book, which I would recommend to those interested in American popular culture as well as anyone who treasures a relationship with a special dog, even if the dog in question existed only in the movies.
aussiegail, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by aussiegail)
Rin Tin Tin is a joy to read because of the excellent writing and the thoroughly enjoyable subject matter. It's almost a pity that the title is the name of a dog, albeit it a famous one, because I fear that many people will think that it belongs only with literature about animals. The is book equally an historical account and commentary on American culture as well as the fascinating story of Rin Tin Tin and the man who found and trained him. In short, you don't have to be a dog lover to love this book.
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Simon & Schuster -
by The New York Times Book Review,
“Fascinating....The sweeping story of the soulful German shepherd who was born on the battlefields of World War I, immigrated to America, conquered Hollywood, struggled in the transition to the talkies, helped mobilize thousands of dog volunteers against Hitler and himself emerged victorious as the perfect family-friendly icon of cold war gunslinging, thanks to the new medium of television....Do dogs deserve biographies? In Rin Tin Tin Susan Orlean answers that question resoundingly in the affirmative....By the end of this expertly told tale, she may persuade even the most hardened skeptic that Rin Tin Tin belongs on Mount Rushmore with George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt, or at least somewhere nearby with John Wayne and Seabiscuit.”
by San Francisco Chronicle,
“Remarkable...Orlean’s pursuit of detail is mind-boggling....The book is less about a dog than the prototypes he embodied and the people who surrounded him. It is about story-making itself, about devotion, luck and heroes....Ultimately, the reader is left well nourished and in awe of both Orlean’s reportorial devotion and at her magpie ability to find the tiniest sparkling detail."
by The Wall Street Journal,
“Deeply moving....An unforgettable book about the mutual devotion between one man and one dog.”
by Chicago Tribune,
“Dazzling....Susan Orlean has fashioned a masterpiece of reporting and storytelling, some of it quite personal and all of it compelling. Animal-related books have always peppered best-seller lists — Seabiscuit comes quickly to mind — and this one will top such lists. It deserves to, and also to work its way into millions of hearts and minds....[Carl] Sandburg called Rin Tin Tin ‘thrillingly intelligent’ and ‘phenomenal.’ The same can be said for this remarkable book....Spectacular.”
by USA Today,
“Epic....Heartfelt....An enormously satisfying story about a dog and the man who believed in him.”
by The Boston Globe,
“Stunning....A book so moving it melted the heart of at least this one dogged Lassie lover....Don’t let the book’s title fool you. Calling Rin Tin Tin the story of a dog is like calling Moby-Dick the story of a whale. Orlean surfs the tide of time, pushing off in the 1900s and landing in the now, delivering a witty synopsis of nearly a century of Rin Tin Tins and American popular culture. The result is a truly exceptional book that marries historical journalism, memoir, and the technique of character-driven, psychologically astute, finely crafted fiction: a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.”
by Los Angeles Times,
“A story of magnificent obsession. Nearly a decade in the making, combining worldwide research with personal connection, it offers the kind of satisfactions you only get when an impeccable writer gets hold of one heck of a story.”
by NPR’s Weekend Edition,
“Susan Orlean has written a book about how an orphaned dog became part of millions of households, and hearts, in a way that may reveal the changing bonds between humans and animals, too....One of the many pleasures of this book is the historical breadth of the story.”
“An improbably fascinating tale of one of the first canine celebrities, the times that catapulted him to fame, and the legacy that endures.”
He believed the dog was immortal. So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from abandoned puppy to movie star and international icon. Spanning almost one hundred years of history, from the dog’s improbable discovery on a battlefield in 1918 to his tumultuous rise through Hollywood and beyond, Rin Tin Tin is a love story about "the mutual devotion between one man and one dog" (The Wall Street Journal) that is also a quintessentially American story of reinvention, a captivating exploration of our spiritual bond with animals, and a stirring meditation on mortality and immortality.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.