In 2010, while working as an editor of Foreign Policy magazine, Rebecca Frankel came across a photo of members of a Marine battalion and their bomb-sniffing dogs "kicking back" at a camp in Afghanistan. The "unfamiliar sense of contentment radiating from these Marines and their dogs" amid war struck her, and that led to her popular column for the magazine, "Rebecca's War Dog of the Week," and then to her new book, War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love.
In it, she writes about the long history of military dogs and their deployment by the United States. Some 10,000 dogs served during World War II, and in Vietnam, U.S. scout dogs were so effective that the Vietcong put $20,000 bounties on their heads.
But Frankel focuses mainly on the many roles of dogs in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both on the battlefield and off, and back at home, where they help soldiers wounded in body and mind. It is, of course, a story not just about dogs but about their bonds with humans — and how these dogs, she notes, walk out in front, where the danger is.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor