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Monday, February 17, 2020

SERGEANT STUBBY: HOW a STRAY DOG and HIS BEST FRIEND HELP WIN WORLD WAR I and STOLE the HEART of a NATION (audiobook) by Ann Bausum



Published in 2014 by Blackstone Audio.
Read by Pam Ward.
Duration: 5 hours, 12 minutes.
Unabridged.


Sgt. Stubby wearing his medal vest (left), marching in a parade (upper
right) and wearing his special gas mask (lower right).
During the quick basic training for American forces heading for France in World War I, a stray dog found its way into a Connecticut National Guard training camp at Yale University. The unit was sprawled all over the campus and this Boston Terrier mix wandered around making friends all over. His friendly nature guaranteed a lot of table scraps. He marched with the men, learned the commands and blended in as well as a dog can. Somewhere along the way, someone taught him how to salute and hold the salute until it was returned.

When it came time to board a ship and head to France, the soldier that he spent the most time with, Corporal James Robert Conroy, hid him under his coat as others provided a distraction. Once aboard, Stubby ensured he got to stay with his friends by saluting any superior officer that questioned his presence and all resistance melted away.

Stubby stayed with his friends in France. He served several months in the trenches, participated in 17 battles, was wounded by a German hand grenade, was wounded by German poison gas, helped locate wounded soldiers in the "no man's land" between the trenches, single-handedly captured a German spy (he grabbed his pants with his mouth and made a ruckus until human soldiers came) and won admirers everywhere he went.

The title of this book exaggerates the importance of Sgt. Stubby to the war effort. He was immensely important to Conroy and their circle of friends, but the title makes it sound like Sgt. Stubby turned the tide of the war or something.

The book is equal parts a biography of Sgt. Stubby and a history of the era in which he lived. It's also a pretty serviceable history of World War I and includes discussions of movements in American history like the suffragette movement, the anti-alcohol campaigns that resulted in Prohibition and the rise of the FBI.

The audiobook was extremely well read by Pam Ward. I hope to come across other audiobooks read by her.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: SERGEANT STUBBY: HOW a STRAY DOG and HIS BEST FRIEND HELP WIN WORLD WAR I and STOLE the HEART of a NATION.

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