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Lives of the Monster Dogs Paperback – April 1, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Monster Dogs are the brainchild of Augustus Rank, a Prussian scientist born in 1864. From an early age, Rank was fascinated by anatomy, performing surgery on a succession of increasingly larger animals. After a particularly heinous experiment on a cow at age 13, Rank, rather than being thrown in jail or an insane asylum, instead becomes the protégé of Dr. Buxtorf, a professor of surgery at the University of Basel. Rank flourishes in this academic atmosphere, eventually drawing the attention of the future Kaiser Wilhelm II, who enlists him in an effort to create an army of fierce, aggressive and loyal super soldiers.
Rank hits on the idea of creating canine commandos, and toils for the next fifteen years on the project without success. After a disagreement with Wilhelm, Rank flees to Canada. There, he founds Rankstadt, where, over the next seventy years, his followers strive to achieve his dream, finally succeeding in 1969. The villagers are proud of their achievement, little realizing they have created the means of their own destruction. Sick of their life of servitude, the Dogs rebel, slaying their human masters.
The Dogs travel to New York City, which in their minds has come to have an almost mystical significance.Read more ›
Written with agonizing attention to detail, the story transports you to the lavish flats of the Upper West Side and down to the stinking slums of Alphabet City. The exquisite 19th Century Prussian dress of the monster dogs can almost be seen on the Bull Terriers, Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds and other canines of Bakis' tale. The characters themselves are well rounded, with complex personalities which, though only outlined to the reader in some places, are given enough idiosyncrasies as are necessary to be understood and captured.
The format of the story takes the reader through several centuries, giving them a feel for times past and present, laying the foundation for not only the character's lives, but their backgrounds as well. All of these elements lead to exotic, otherwise unbelievable, "monsters" whose lives, spirits, minds and emotions thrive in a reader's imagination, keeping them turning the pages.
Those, such as myself, whose emotions are moved by the lives, and deaths, of the heroes and heroines of this book will find a wide range of hopes, and sadness, from chapter to chapter. Though not uplifting, "Lives of the Monster Dogs" is still intriguing and gives one food for thought as the dogs explore their reason for being and their conditional acceptance based on wealth.
Driven forward by a doomsday plot, the quirky, mad conclusion made this story a 9 instead of a 10.Read more ›
I found it convincing. The city of Rankstadt, the dogs' opera, the genuinely horrifying depiction of the young Augustus Rank--I think these will stick in my mind forever.
It does not surprise me at all that the book does not work for everybody. And, yes, I thought the ending was weak.
Still, I wish Cleo and Lydia the best. I hope that Ludwig will meet "I, Claudius" in some literary Valhalla; I believe they would like each other. And I will certainly look for the ruins of Neuhundstein the next time I find myself in New York City after 2011.
Is it just my imagination, or does something about the expression and bearing of the author, as shown on the back flap of the cover, resemble that of the monster dog on the front cover?
I must admit that my personal interest both in dogs and in the New York neighborhood described so perfectly by Bakis - where my daughter lives - enhanced but did not determine the book's impact on me. Taking a dog to the dog run in Washington Square Park will never seem the same again!
The sense of impending tragedy that pervades the book should not dissuade anyone from reading it. It left me shaken but inspired.
-Richard H. Rosichan
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story even if you are not a furry. Well developed characters that draw you into their plights. Easy and fast to read.Published 7 months ago by Dennis P Garvey Jr.
This is one of my most favorite books. I read it again every once in a while because it is so creative and unusual.Published 11 months ago by Bernice
Somewhere in the miasma of personification and mysticism being concocted herein, one should have been able to find some empathetic characters or at least some titillating narrative... Read morePublished 21 months ago by BIG C
On November 7th 2008 a phone call is made to various journalists announcing that an ‘incredible monster’ would be arriving at the V.I.P. heliport in Manhattan the following day. Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by Christopher Sullivan
This is one of the most amazing books I've read in a very long time.
Well written story that is haunting, yet captivating.
I was intrigued by the idea but it was so poorly written that I was frustrated, almost angry, that the author failed to deliver. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by GK
Years ago, impossible creatures arrived in New York: intelligent dogs who walked upright and had the hands of men. Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Juushika