David Keeton’s The Guardians of the Night (227 pp. $25, paper) was written, Keeton says, “to honor the countless canines that have served alongside GIs over the years.”
Keeton was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. In Dalat during the 1968 Tet Offensive he served as a Sentry Dog Handler with the 18th Military Police Brigade. After his discharge, Keeton worked as a deputy sheriff and then became a schoolteacher. He has published four other books about dogs.
The Guardians of the Night begins with a history of war dogs, including no less than Rin Tin Tin. The bulk of the book is devoted to stories of war dogs and their handlers in the Vietnam War. The final chapters cover 911 search and rescue dogs and war dogs in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I saw some of these dogs in Vietnam, but had never given them much thought. Learning how they served and the many lives they saved has given me a new and very respectful understanding of their capabilities and their value in warzones.
The pages of this book are loaded with pictures, poems, stories, and interviews. More than a hundred and fifty dogs and their handlers in Vietnam are highlighted, along with many more from other eras.
I found this book to be somewhat primitively put together in that most pages are physically cut and pasted, and there are editorial errors of all types throughout.
However, I also found this book to be captivating and a pleasure to read, so I give it a thumbs up. For ordering info, write to 402 Division St., Union City, MI 40904
— Bob Wartman