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From Baghdad, With Love by [Jay Kopelman, Melinda Roth]
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From Baghdad, With Love Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 220 ratings

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Length: 187 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
Language: English

Product description

Amazon.com Review

In From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava, Jay Kopelman tells a story that is both tender and thought-provoking--candidly portraying the ugly conditions in wartime Iraq, while also describing his (and his fellow Marines') growing attachment to a scruffy stray puppy.
Here Jay Kopelman answers a few questions about his aspirations as a writer, and the effect his book has had on readers.

Questions for Jay Kopelman

Amazon.com: Before you met Lava and had this experience smuggling him out of Iraq, did you ever have ambitions to write a book?

Jay Kopelman: Yes, I'd considered writing a book previously and have started--but not finished--a novel. Not surprisingly, it's a military murder mystery. And I'm still hoping to get it published. I've also been offered a deal by my publisher to write another book. So I guess I'm now officially an author.

Amazon.com: How has the military responded to it given that you broke a number of rules during your adventure with Lava?

Jay Kopelman: I've actually not had any real feedback from the military establishment. In fact, mostly I only get the good-natured ribbing from my contemporaries about how much money I'll make or about who will play me in the movie. When the story first broke a year and a half ago, one of the generals jokingly asked me for an autograph, and I've given the previous commanding general for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force a signed galley. So, thus far, there’s been nothing "official" to which I've had to respond. We'll see what happens now that the book is released and there's going to be a media blitz surrounding the book. What you have to remember, though, is that I really didn't use military assets to get Lava home. Nor did I ever endanger anyone in the military while doing so.

Amazon.com: In the book, you say that you would like it if it can bring hope to people who've lost loved ones in Iraq by showing them how something positive can come out of a brutal situation. Have you heard from people that your book has made them feel better?

Jay Kopelman: I've not yet heard from anyone who’s lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I have heard from a counselor who works with the returning Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who said she finds the story so very positive and helpful. She's planning to come to the book signing there. I also got an e-mail from a Marine who said that while her unit was in Iraq, they adopted a puppy and tried to bring it home, but he was ultimately put down. She says that the Marines "remember how Charlie the dog helped us. Charlie will always be loved. During a time when we were far from home that dog made us smile." So, I suppose Lava's story does help people remember and gives them hope. I’ve also heard from people who appreciate my candor describing the conditions in Iraq.

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From The Washington Post

War turns decent men into unflinching killers and compassion into a liability. So when Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman, a Marine in a hellish corner of Iraq, decided to adopt an abandoned puppy, he was breaking every rule in the book.

The pair met after a Marine patrol checked out an empty house in Fallujah and found not an insurgent but a helpless mutt. Back at the command post, Kopelman fell for the pup, now named Lava. In his year-long mission to spirit the dog to America, Kopelman encountered a thicket of military and logistical obstacles. But an array of conspirators, from veterinarians to journalists, helped deliver Lava to safety.

Kopelman's tale is not just a seasonal heart-warmer. It is a provocative examination of an issue that resonates deeply in the wake of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay: Do "softer" values, such as mercy for the weak, sabotage military morale or strengthen it?

At Kopelman and Lava's first meeting, the exhausted, trigger-happy Marine glimpsed a ball of fur and instinctively reached for his rifle. But soon Lava won over his unit, reducing "elite, well-oiled machines of war" to baby talk. This was strictly verboten. Their job, Kopelman writes, was to "shoot the enemy, period, and if anything close to compassion rears its ugly head, you better shoot that down, too." But Kopelman and his battle-mates could not bear to kill the puppy or abandon him in a place where dogs survive by gnawing at corpses. Instead, they began plotting Lava's escape -- and found a bit of salvation in a soul-numbing war.

Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.


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