Summary and book reviews of The Dog Who Could Fly by Damien Lewis

The Dog Who Could Fly

The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew At His Side

by Damien Lewis

The Dog Who Could Fly
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2014, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky

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About this Book

Book Summary

An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts—ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend.

An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts - ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend.

In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man's-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends. One was an orphaned puppy, abandoned by his owners as they fled Nazi forces. The other was a different kind of lost soul - a Czech airman bound for the Royal Air Force and the country that he would come to call home.

Airman Robert Bozdech stumbled across the tiny German shepherd - whom he named Ant - after being shot down on a daring mission over enemy lines. Unable to desert his charge, Robert hid Ant inside his jacket as he escaped. In the months that followed the pair would save each other's lives countless times as they flew together with Bomber Command. And though Ant was eventually grounded due to injury, he refused to abandon his duty, waiting patiently beside the runway for his master's return from every sortie, and refusing food and sleep until they were reunited. By the end of the war Robert and Ant had become British war heroes, and Ant was justly awarded the Dickin Medal, the "Animal VC."

With beautiful vintage black-and-white photos of Robert and Ant, The Dog Who Could Fly is a deeply moving story of loyalty in the face of adversity and the unshakable bond between a man and his best friend.

One

Robert Bozdech had a horrible, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as the twin-engine warplane began its shallow dive toward earth. But for once it wasn't fear of being pounced on by one of the enemy's deadly Messerschmitt 109s that so unsettled him. In the thick fog that had blown across the landscape, they were all but invisible to any marauding German fighters.

No. It was fear of the guns that lurked below that held him in its viselike grip.

"The fog is down so thick, Pierre!" he yelled across at his fellow airman. "It is foolhardy—"

"And if we return with no photos, we will be a laughingstock," Pierre Duval, the aircraft's French pilot, cut in. "Keep your eyes peeled!"

It had been a fine morning when the French Air Force's twin-engine Potez 63 fighter-bomber had taken to the dawn skies. Stationed at the aerodrome at Saint-Dizier, Pierre and Robert had been tasked with flying a reconnaissance mission over the German front, from where the massed ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Through Lewis’s eager, almost breathless, you-are-right-there writing, the adventure between man and dog unfolds. Robert and Ant – named after a Czech Air Force aircraft, later changed to Antis – are forced to flee besieged France as the Germans roll in, board a train to Montpellier, then join a ship at Marseilles, sailing to Gibraltar. (Ant is a risky stowaway on the ship, adding to the suspense.)   (Reviewed by Rory L. Aronsky).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

This account will appeal to dog lovers and history buffs who can tolerate the florid novelization and fictionalized dialogue.

Booklist

A gripping war story and an utterly heartfelt narrative... A stirring drama of WWII that dog lovers will not be able to resist.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A thoroughly enjoyable story of heroism and true friendship, and for lovers of WWII history and animals it is not to be missed.

Good Book Guide (UK)

Uplifting... Their bond [is] testament to the relationship forged between man and dog.

The Sun (UK)

A real gem of modern history, both poignant and beautifully told.

Western Morning News (UK)

Truly epic... Reveals just how deep the bond between man and dog can be... A story of animal bravery which is unlikely to be repeated.

Lancashire Evening Post (UK)

A story of love and loyalty guaranteed to capture hearts.

Northern Echo (UK)

You'll be wiping the tears from your eyes as you read the story of this orphaned puppy... Damien Lewis has written a tearjerker to touch the heart of even the most hardened member of the anti-dog brigade.

Author Blurb Spencer Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of Dog On It
A great war story, packed with excitement and suspense. But it's the love between the two aviators, man and dog, that will linger in your mind.

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Beyond the Book

A Note to Damien Lewis

The world could use a lot more of your stories of miraculous dogs of war. Below, you'll find two other dogs, equally as brave as Antis in The Dog Who Could Fly, who I hope will spark your interest. The sooner, the better.

Sallie Ann JarrettFirst, there is Sallie Ann Jarrett, believed to be a bulldog or bull terrier, taken in by the Eleventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers in May 1861. She was named after Colonel P. Jarrett, commander of the company, and became their mascot for the Civil War.

She learned the drum rolls and bugle calls of the company and was present at drills and marches. Even after she gave birth to nine pups on March 7, 1862, she nursed them only in between military gatherings. On the battlefield, she stood guard over fallen ...

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