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Customer Review

on 2 June 2010
I read this book when it was initially published back in the early 1980's (the inclusion of the Hyde Park Nail Bombing forms a excellent introduction to the chapter on horses in war) and have been putting off buying this edition since it was updated and republished to raise monies for the Animals in War memorial, now in existance in Park Lane, London (I think).
With a chapter each for horses, dogs, mules, elephants, camels and even one for the Home Front listing cats and dogs far from the Front Line, this is an excellent book and a great introduction to lead to further reading.
Most moving for me, after the horses, is the chapter on mules. Or perhaps the camels. I can't decided! Yes, they kick, and swear and smell and aren't in the least romantic to ride or perch atop of. But the humble mule allowed himself to be dropped like so much cargo from the back of a transport plane into the Asian jungle battlefields of WW2 to continue service as pack animals. They endured having their vocal chords cut so they wouldn't give vital military positions away. They carried wounded men, ammunition, morale and the best wishes of the troops when they did to the senior officer what the men would like to so. Camels, well, yes, they bite. And spit. And are notoriously canktanterous (I may have spelt that wrong, forgive me!). But Lawrence of Arabia rode one and won the hearts of the Arab tribes to rise up and see off the German and Turkish armies in the Middle East and the Holy Land in WW1. They carried men, whole and injured, to and from battlefields. They delighted their riders when they they raced in informal Sweepstake races held out of line, and won the hearts of the men when the females camels gave birth to 'anthills on stilts' who toddled about during breaks in manouveres.
The chapter on the Home Front is no less moving - cats and dogs giving their owners early warning of air raids in both World Wars, police horses refusing to go down streets where incendury bombs drop moments later, even the parrot who, rescued from a bombed out East End house, declared in ringing tones 'This is MY night out!!'.
Many stories, some funny, some sad, some heartwarming. All make you think - read and enjoy!
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