Book Review: Space Dogs by Martin Parr

Title: Space Dogs: The Story of the Celebrated Canine Cosmonauts
Author: Martin Parr
Release: June 11th 2019

Description: This fascinating book tells the story of the soviet space dogs, illustrated with legendary photographer Martin Parr’s vintage space-dog memorabilia.

Review: 5 out of 5 Stars

This is a wonderful book for those fans of space and dogs, something to have in your dog book collection.

This story of the dogs the soviet union used to test their space ships is well written, and well presented on the pages. It doesn’t completely gloss over all the facts – such as the unnecessary medical procedures the dogs were put through and their deaths – and I even learned a thing or two.

It was also great seeing photos of the dogs and the memorabilia / merchandise created for those canines, and it was interesting to me how they were, and still are, celebrated as heroes.

I think my main issue with this book is that it feels like it excuses the testing of the dogs for the space missions for “the good of mankind”. Certainly this is how it was justified by the scientists and everyone else, too.

While it may be true that the dogs were cared for, the fact is the testing was completely barbaric and it only takes a quick internet search to see why. The dogs that died in space (or crashed to earth) would no doubt have been completely petrified on all stages of their missions. So was this really a better life for them than being street dogs?

These are just my personal thoughts of course, and doesn’t make this a bad book by any means. I just would have liked to have seen this side of the facts considered a little more than with a quote from one of the scientists sharing their regret some years later.

Overall this is a great book if space dogs are your thing

I received an advance copy from NetGalley for an honest review

Also posted on Good Reads

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