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Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca Hardcover – October 23, 2014
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"An eye-opening account of the job these intelligent dogs and their courageous handlers do...[a] riveting title that is filled with excitement and heartbreak." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"Whether someone likes to read "war" books or not, this story is one that transcends "war." I have read nothing that so adroitly weaves together the relationship between our young warriors and man's best friend, from Iraq to Afghanistan and then coming home in body, mind and spirit. If I could write half so well and capture the essence of things largely left unspoken, I would write letters to God!"
—Marine General James Mattis (Ret.)
"...an absolutely fascinating and an accurate portrayal of the importance of military working dogs and their handlers on today's complex battlefield. The book is extremely well written and skillfully paints the picture of the passionate relationship between military working dog and its handler. It has my highest recommendations." -- Army Lieutenant General Rick Lynch (Ret.)
"I LOVED Top Dog. With a single glance into Lucca's soulful knowing eyes, you will fall in love. Heartwarming and heart-rending until its joyous conclusion, Maria Goodavage brilliantly renders the growing love and loyalty between Lucca and her handlers -- a bond of such incredible strength it transcends war, distance, and time. Meet the amazing Lucca, and you will wish she was yours!"
—Robert Crais, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Suspect
“Maria Goodavage's Top Dog is a true war story with a heart as heroic and bold as any account ever told, only here the tale centers on a four-legged warrior, specifically one named Lucca, a courageous and stalwart war dog of incomparable bravery. This is no dry accounting of Lucca's service, but a gritty, boots-on-the-ground portrayal of what it means to share the battlefield with such a remarkable animal. Written with authority, warmth, and genuine honor, here is a story that not only needs to be told, but should be read by all. It's a new classic, one that will inspire everyone.”
—James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Kill Switch
"A masterfully told epic of one of the canine heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt many readers will finish the book with a dry eye--this veteran of 28 months in Iraq, for one, could not. Semper Fi, Lucca." —Col. (Ret.) Peter Mansoor, author of Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War
"Written like an adventure, with heart-pounding combat sequences, high tension, and suspense as well as moments of deep emotion and bonding, "Top Dog" is a must read for anyone who appreciates heroes of both the two-legged and four-legged kind." - Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs, How to Speak Dog, and others
Praise for Soldier Dogs:
“A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are an enlisted Man’s Best Friend.”
“A fascinating window into a different kind of military life.”
“A well-deserved salute to the military’s ‘paws-on-the-ground heroes.’ ”
“A must read — I say again must read — book if you have ever served anywhere they’ve had paws on the ground.”
—David Reeder, Military.com
“[Soldier Dogs] is written in an easy and entertaining style and will acquaint you with dozens of canine heroes ranging from Stubby, who fought in WWI, to Cairo, who was a member of the raiding party that took down Osama Bin Laden. It is a great read for anyone who appreciates dogs and heroes.”
—Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think
“Inspiring personal stories of the many canine allies (and their handlers) who have dramatically enhanced military command units . . . [Soldier Dogs] examines how this indelible human-canine bond often transcends the atrocities of wartime violence.” —Kirkus Reviews
“If the idea of dogs at war conjures up thoughts of harsh methods and unrelenting discipline, think again. Maria Goodavage’s revealing and engaging book exposes the unexpected trust and affection that flows both ways between dog and handler. You may already care about dogs: This book will heighten your respect for them.”
—John Bradshaw, author of Dog Sense
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
~ Deborah Scranton, award-winning film director of The War Tapes and Earth Made of Glass.
Throughout the story you will laugh, cry, and feel anger all due to the amazingly descriptive detail surrounding the training, actual work, and then warm embrace that the country gave to this wonderful dog for her commitment to protecting the US soldiers.
I highly recommend reading this account of an amazing dog!
I first learned of NY Times bestselling author Maria Goodavage because of my love for dogs (as she used to run Dogster.com). We chatted a few times by email. Not only had I written a dog-themed devotional and a series of dog rescue stories, but I was working on a novel whose protagonist was a former Marine turned single mom who was beginning a contract military working dog and police dog training business.
Goodavage’s first book, Soldier Dogs, was a must read for me and not only did I find it riveting, it also solidified some of my research and knowledge about military working dogs. So, when she announced the release of Top Dog, I knew I had to read it, too. And I’m so glad I did.
Top Dog is the story of Lucca, a four-legged warrior. Lucca is a German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix who is partnered with Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham. Their attachment goes soul-deep from training to the trenches. The two are inseparable and work in tandem amid the dangers of battle, trying with all their resources to save lives and knowing not every effort will have a successful outcome.
Goodavage’s writing connects us immediately with Willingham and Lucca. We feel the camaraderie between them. It beats like one heart as the two move through one adventure after another during two deployments. When Goodavage takes us into combat with them, the inherent danger and tension are tooth-grinding. Thankfully, she intersperses the reality of battle with brief respites of praise, recognition and fun. Never do we doubt Willingham’s commitment nor Lucca’s loyalty, obedience and drive to please.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recommend the book to people who have not read the book yet. It was such a great book.Published 19 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Best book read in YEARS - forwarded to friend in New Hampshire who will forward on to friend in Reno.
Outstanding story - well written too.
If you care about or are interested in Military Working Dogs, then buy this book. They work just a few yards from sudden surprise. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Robert
This book could be read and enjoyed by animal lovers and people who like to read about war. Although sad at times the writer makes you feel like you are there with them. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book is an absolute must read. I read a lot of books, but this one is the best I've read in a very long time! Such an insight to MWDs and their handlers. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Darlene Lewis
Great book for the patriotic dog lover. Was a real tear jerker at time but I still loved it. Enjoy!Published 26 days ago
Wonderful and inspiring story. Lucca is a true hero and proves the bond between dogs and man. You don't have tone a dog lover to enjoy this book but its even better if you are. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mamacatha
Read this book, you won't be disappointed. It is the first book I've read about these amazing heroes. I learned so much about what they do. Read morePublished 1 month ago by CiCi