Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Reviews: Dogs of War and Battle Dress

A couple of months ago, I did a feature on all of the books that I was currently reading. Well, guess what? Some of those books have finally been read, and I've got the reviews to prove it. Here are my takes on a couple of sweet reads. 

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw 
Andi Davis is looking for an escape from her disorganized, dysfunctional home life, and West Point seems the only logical way out. Andi figures that given everything she has had to put up with at home, West Point will be a breeze. But nothing could have prepared her for the first six weeks of cadet training, better known as Beast. Andi is screamed at, belittled, and worn down during the long, grueling training that is designed to break cadets and then rebuild them into soldiers. The upper class cadets bark orders so fast that her head spins, and the fact that she is one of only two girls in her platoon makes things even more difficult. But Andi decides that anything is better than going home, anything.

My Review: 
An interesting read! I love learning more about the military, and West Point is particularly fascinating to me. I liked that the main character was a 17 year-old girl, rather than a boy. It's really interesting because the odds a female is up against is almost more intense than the males just because females carry around an inaccurate stereotype of being the "weaker" sex - which is touched on multiple times in the book. But instead of making it an all-out battle of the genders here, author Amy Effaw instead chooses to highlight the strengths of BOTH men and women, and shows us that in the Army, they can work TOGETHER and help kick some serious butt. It's a great message, and the main character makes an excellent role model for young women.

This was a good, clean read thats's safe for kids to read, too, which was an incredibly refreshing breath of fresh air in a YA market that seems saturated with lots of profanity.

The only thing I didn't like was a particularly long scene in the end of the book where the main characters did a LOT of talking about what they were going to do, and it took a long time to actually DO it. I skimmed a few pages there. But that's nitpicking. I definitely recommend this one!

Dogs of War by Lisa Rogak 
Military working dogs gained widespread attention after Cairo participated in the SEAL Team 6 mission that led to Osama bin Laden's death. Before that, few civilians realized that dogs served in combat, let alone that they could parachute from thirty thousand feet up.

The Dogs of War reveals the amazing range of jobs that our four-legged soldiers now perform, examines the dogs' training and equipment, and sets the record straight on those rumors of titanium teeth. You'll find heartwarming stories of the deep bond that dogs and their handlers share with each other, and learn how soldiers and civilians can help the cause by fostering puppies or adopting retirees.

My Review: 
For me, I never get tired of learning more about working dogs. While I admit that there are definitely some things about the biology of canines that I don't understand, I am filled to the brim with training techniques and K9 lifestyle information. Lisa's book is very easy to read, and full of basic information that the average person wouldn't know about military working dogs.

I loved the book - it was broken into short, easy sections and interspersed with the true stories of real military working dog heroes who have served their countries. I highly recommend it if you're looking for an interesting non-fiction read.

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