Why did I love this book?
Rin Tin Tin was one of the many TV animal heroes who entertained me growing up. What I didn’t know at the time was that the Rin Tin Tin rushing to the rescue on my black-and-white screen was just the latest in a line of Rin Tin Tins, and the original dog had been an even bigger star in 1920s silent movies.
Susan Orlean delves into that first dog’s history. An American soldier rescued him as a pup on a World War I battlefield in France, brought him to the United States, and trained him into international stardom.
The nostalgia factor drew me in, but Orlean makes this more than just Rin Tin Tin’s story. The book touches on such subjects as World War I, pet ownership in America, and other early dog stars, such as the now largely forgotten Strongheart, a German shepherd whose silent-movie popularity rivaled Rin Tin Tin.