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RIN TIN RIN: THE LIFE AND THE LEGEND by Susan Orlean

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Uploaded on May 17, 2011

"He believed the dog was immortal."

So begins Susan Orlean's sweeping, powerfully moving story of Rin Tin Tin's journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. From the moment in 1918 when Corporal Lee Duncan discovers Rin Tin Tin on a World War I battlefield, he recognizes something in the pup that he needs to share with the world. Rin Tin Tin's improbable introduction to Hollywood leads to the dog's first blockbuster film and over time, the many radio programs, movies, and television shows that follow. The canine hero's legacy is cemented by Duncan and a small group of others who devote their lives to keeping him and his descendants alive.

At its heart, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. But it is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship and the changing role of dogs in the American family and society. Almost ten years in the making, Susan Orlean's first original book since The Orchid Thief is a tour de force of history, human interest, and masterful storytelling—the ultimate must-read for anyone who loves great dogs or great yarns.
For example: Did you know that at the first-ever Academy Awards, Rin Tin Tin earned most votes for Best Actor? (In response, the Academy re-tallied its results and awarded the most popular human instead.) Or that the name of the first dog in a feature film was "Rover," which singlehandedly explains why a hundred years later, Rover remains the archetypal dog name in America?

A few weeks ago, I visited Susan at her home north of New York City. We shot several hours of footage, much of which will be released in the months leading up to the October publication of Rin Tin Tin. Here, to begin, is an introduction, starring the author and her Welsh springer spaniel, Ivy.

P.S. Booksellers and other publishing folks, note: Susan will be signing advanced copies of Rin Tin Tin in the Simon & Schuster booth at Book Expo America on Wednesday, May 25th from 2-3 p.m. This video will be available there, as well.

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