So begins Susan Orleanâs sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tinâs journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker who has been hailed as âa national treasureâ by The Washington Post, spent nearly ten years researching and reporting her most captivating book to date: the story of a dog who was born in 1918 and never died.
It begins on a battlefield in France during World War I, when a young American soldier, Lee Duncan, discovered a newborn German shepherd in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel. To Duncan, who came of age in an orphanage, the dogâs survival was a miracle. He saw something in Rin Tin Tin that he felt compelled to share with the world. Duncan brought Rinty home to California, where the dogâs athleticism and acting ability drew the attention of Warner Bros. Over the next ten years, Rinty starred in twenty-three blockbuster silent films that saved the studio from bankruptcy and made him the most famous dog in the world. At the height of his popularity, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywoodâs number one box office star.
During the decades that followed, Rinty and his descendants rose and fell with the times, making a tumultuous journey from silent films to talkies, from black-and-white to color, from radio programs to one of the most popular television shows of the baby boom era, The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin. The canine heroâs legacy was cemented by Duncan and a small group of othersâincluding Bert Leonard, the producer of the TV series, and Daphne Hereford, the owner of the current Rin Tin Tinâwho have dedicated their lives to making sure the dogâs legend will never die.
At its core, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. It is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship. It spans ninety years and explores everything from the shift in status of dogs from working farmhands to beloved family members, from the birth of obedience training to the evolution of dog breeding, from the rise of Hollywood to the past and present of dogs in war. Filled with humor and heart and moments that will move you to tears, Susan Orleanâs first original book since The Orchid Thief is an irresistible blend of history, human interest, and masterful storytellingâa dazzling celebration of a great American dog by one of our most gifted writers.
About: A New Yorker staff writer and author of The Orchid Thief chronicles the rise of the iconic German shepherd character while sharing the stories of the real WWI dog and the canine performer in the 1950s television show, in an account that also explores Rin Tin Tin's relevance in the military and popular culture.
About: One of the most acclaimed nonfiction books of 2011, Susan Orlean’s New York Times bestseller Rin Tin Tin is “an unforgettable book about the mutual devotion between one man and one dog” (The Wall Street Journal).
About: Nearly ten years in the making and perfect for the holidays, Susan Orlean’s first original book since the celebrated bestseller The Orchid Thief is the publishing event of the season: a sweeping, surprising, and powerfully moving work of narrative nonfiction about the dog actor and international icon, Rin Tin Tin.
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