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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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on July 15, 2015
I've watched a lot of videos by Youtuber Brady Haran. I've also listed to a couple dozen episodes of his podcast with CPG Grey, Hello Internet. In fact in was in one of these podcasts that he talked about going to Vietnam with his father, Peter, to visit some of the places that his father fought in during the Vietnam War. What I found interesting is 1) there were Australian troops in Vietnam (I always thought it was a strictly American war) and 2) Peter was there as a dog handler for a tracking dog. When Brady mentioned that his father had written a book about his experiences, I was intrigued. I got the Kindle edition. Peter uses an interesting format for his writing. He provides an overarching narrative separated with short vignettes of interesting occurrences. The writing feels very honest and it's not too hard to keep track of the people involved, even though there are a decent number of them. Overall, it was an enjoyable read that found interesting and informative.

Plot: Fighting during the Vietnam war was characterized by hit and run attacks in the middle of the sweltering jungle. It was not uncommon for the enemy to simply disappear after firing on U.S. or Australian troops. In order to try to eliminate as many enemy fighters as possible tracking dogs were trained and sent over with the troops. Their job was to try to find the enemy so they could be eliminated, or their bases or strongholds destroyed. Peter Haran was an 18 year old soldier who broke the first rule of military service and volunteered for the tracking wing. After going through a year of training with two different dogs he was shipped to Vietnam and spent a year watching the hindquarters of a mutt like his life depended on it, because it did.

My personal favorites: Peter has some fun stories, and not just about trying to hunt down the enemy. His writing is free from graphic violence or descriptions of the horrors of war. He shares many of his emotions, sadness, depression, humor, frustration, anger, and joy. And exhaustion. You can't forget that. It some ways I feel that this book was a very human look at war without the visceral horror that is often used. He is honest about his own feelings and the aftermath of the war, including a rather personal assessment of the psychological scars it left on him. It was hard not to develop a respect for him and his comrade "Diggers" as I read the stories he shared.

Considerations: The only consideration that must be noted is the language in the book. Trackers is a soldier's tale written by a soldier and he is faithful in his record of what was said when. While the narrative is relative clean with only occasionally strong language, there is a lot of very strong language in the accounts of the dialog between the players.
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on February 12, 2013
Trackers, by Peter Haran is a book that describes how dogs were used on the ground in combat. The stage is 1967, in the Corps III area, southern most Vietnam. He is an Austrailian soldier deployed with his Aussie batallion. I bought this book after reading several other reviews describing what dog handler's did in the Vietnam war.

First off, the I wasn't prepared for the style and vocabulary Aussie's use. No offense, but trying to understand the terms and words Aussie's use in their normal conversation was difficult. Because of this, it slowed reading down a bit while I tried to understand. However the book does describe the training between dog and handler, the partnership in combat and how dog teams were used in war time Vietnam.

The Author does convey a sense of honor which is enjoyable and tasteful. However I felt that he also interjected too much personal dialogue throughout the book. At times it was overwhelming forcing me to skip pass it. Once pass this, he does describe several field skirmishes where he and his dog do very fine job, safely tracking down the enemy. The battle scenes he describes throughout the book are not too gory or offensive, rather light when compared to other battle harden memoirs by other authors.

I rated this book three stars because the book only enlightened me. The book really didn't' have a wow impact. Towards the end, the author focused a bit too much on PTSD. I know post traumatic syndrome is a terrible thing, and I respect the lives ruined by it. I personally think it was interesting the book just a tad too much distraction though.
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on September 7, 2013
My first dog was a Labrador retriever who though he was a Rottweiller. My heart goes out to all the dogs who do service to their country then are abandoned by their governments. The only good news here is they treat their people the same way, thats not a compliment. You can hear the lizards & smell the jungle while reading this book. Most importantly you sense a real bond between the dog & his handler. People who are not dog owners may not understand, Dog owners will sense that, People who live with there dogs understand how they all have different personalitys & moods. Most importantly they are always there for you. I hope someone high up the food chain reads this & doesn't abandon anymore of this animals after there use is gone. They deserve more & we should do more for them. The least you could do is give them to the people suffering PTSD maybe they can help each other heal & forget.
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on December 9, 2015
I have read 4 of Peter Harans books and enjoyed them all imensly.
Trackers was my first, and have now re read it another 3 times. It never fails to impress me with details of the unknown, and to raise a laugh at the Australian sense of humour. Always a tear as well after listening to the utmost respect that the author had for his dog. Still haven't worked out who gave Peter, Caesars dog tags at the Phoenician Club, back in 87. This book, and the others, are a great read.
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on April 2, 2014
I liked the book and greatly enjoyed the Australian dialect included in the dialog and descriptions. As with good war books, there are some tense sections along with some very funny moments. I thought the author did a good job of blending his personal experience of being involved in combat in Viet Nam and other soldiering activities, though with the unique aspects of handling a tracker dog. His experience was quite unique as few soldiers have been in his situation and the bonding that he experienced with his dog was clear. Overall, I enjoyed the book and Peter's story.
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on February 18, 2013
I've read many books about the Vietnam war and this is one of the better ones. Some of the Digger language threw me from time to time but eventually became second nature as I read on. This is an honest account of how it was over there. Since I am a dog lover I was saddened to see the terrible effect jungle warfare had on not only the men, but also those poor war dogs who had no choice in the matter. If you don't want to get your heart broken do not read this book. Hats off to all those who went through that nightmare...especially the tracking dogs.
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on November 10, 2015
This book is written by an Australian soldier who served with a Tracker dog named Marcus. Another angle to a stupid "war" similar to the stupid ones we are in now, sigh, "Those who ignore the past mistakes are doomed to repeat them".
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on February 16, 2015
.Good read
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on October 16, 2015
Great insight into the war from a different perspective
It is a moving account of the challenges faced by dog and man and how on returning home the battle with the thoughts continue
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on September 6, 2012
I found this book very interesting on how the Aussie trackers took part in the Vietnam war.
The dogs and training of the men I had no idea it was so hard on both of them.
We can be thankful that they saved many lives by finding the enemy before they found the patrols.
Read this book you will find it hard to put down.
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