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Download Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain Audiobook, by Martha Sherrill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (332 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Martha Sherrill Narrator: Laural Merlington Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781400177264
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As Dog Man opens, Martha Sherrill brings us to a world that Americans know very little about-the snow country of Japan during World War II. In a mountain village, we meet Morie Sawataishi, a fierce individualist who has chosen to break the law by keeping an Akita dog hidden in a shed on his property. During the war, the magnificent and intensely loyal Japanese hunting dogs are donated to help the war effort, eaten, or used to make fur vests for the military. By the time of the Japanese surrender in 1945, there are only sixteen Akitas left in the country. The survival of the breed becomes Morie's passion and life, almost a spiritual calling. Devoted to the dogs, Morie is forever changed. His life becomes radically unconventional-almost preposterous-in ultra-ambitious, conformist Japan. For the dogs, Morie passes up promotions, bigger houses, and prestigious engineering jobs in Tokyo. Instead, he raises a family with his young wife, Kitako-a sheltered urban sophisticate-in Japan's remote and forbidding snow country. Their village is isolated, but interesting characters are always dropping by-dog buddies, in-laws from Tokyo, and a barefoot hunter who lives in the wild. Due in part to Morie's perseverance and passion, the Akita breed strengthens and becomes wildly popular, sometimes selling for millions of yen. Yet Morie won't sell his spectacular dogs. He only likes to give them away. Morie and Kitako remain in the snow country today, living in the traditional Japanese cottage they designed together more than thirty years ago-with tatami mats, an overhanging roof, a deep bathtub, and no central heat. At ninety-four years old, Morie still raises and trains the Akita dogs that have come to symbolize his life. In beautiful prose that is a joy to read, Sherrill opens up the world of the Dog Man and his wife, providing a profound look at what it is to be an individualist in a culture that reveres conformity-and what it means to live life in one's own way-while expertly revealing Japan and Japanese culture as we've never seen it before. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Morie Sawataishi has learned from his beloved Akitas to embrace the wild. Read this book and feel that power. Neenah Ellis, author of If I Live to Be 100

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 2/20/2014

    " I sought this book out because I own two Akitas. This book was very relaxing to read. An interesting story set in Northern Japan where time ticks by slowly and hence everything else around you becomes more beautiful and static just like an Akita puppy. These dogs are magical to begin with so this story showcases one persons love of the dog on the continent of Japan with all their cultures and customs in full gear. It's lovely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cherie | 2/17/2014

    " An interesting look at a way of life in Japan after WWII. Also interesting from a dig enthusiasts perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 2/16/2014

    " Beautifully written--if real life is this engaging, who needs fiction? ok ok, we need fiction but... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike D. Walter | 2/13/2014

    " An interesting history of the Akita breed, and the politics of the dog breeders in post--WWII Japan. The subject of the story is an unusual and interesting character. However, the same can't be said for the prose, which reads like a series of magazine articles, decopaged together, without any transition. At times information is repeated, and things that the author has already described once, get more attention as the story slips fluidly back and forth in time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 2/8/2014

    " This was an interesting book about the rebirth of the Akita breed. I enjoyed the photos more than the text and I wish there were more. This was a story worth reading, but it could have been a magazine article instead of a book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 1/26/2014

    " I'm not a hunter or a rugged mountain person, I'm a vegetarian who loves nature but doesn't want to think about all the pretty animals eating each other up out there. That said, I loved this book and was able to get past the Bambi moments (there are many, not necessarily involving deer). The human story is as fascinating as the dogs' story here. The glimpse it provides into the deep, dark snow country of Japan is priceless. The author's accounts of post-WWII Japan will make you cry. I stayed up 'til 3 in the morning finishing this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/20/2014

    " Because I enjoy living with dogs I often read books where they figure prominantly. I enjoyed reading this book which is about a Japanese man who brings the Akita breed back from near extinction in the snow country of Japan. But I appreciated it even more for the detailed discussion and discriptions of his family life, the northern part of Japan and, most of all, the portrayal of courage and ingenuity of his wife. I wondered all through my reading just how Martha Sherrill collected the facts and information. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/20/2014

    " Great book! Very interesting to anyone whose into dogs and asian culture. It made we want to to Japan and get an Akita. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betty Decker | 12/13/2013

    " Let this book tell you how one man saved Japan's Akitas. Lovely heart-breaking read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 11/29/2013

    " A bit of a yawner.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam Curtis | 11/8/2013

    " This is a truly unusual book that particularly dog lovers will enjoy and understand. In the forbidding high mountains of Japan, one man saves an entire breed of dogs, the Akita, from an ignominious extinction as fur coats for Japanese soldiers during WW II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra D | 10/3/2013

    " Beautifully-told story of a Japanese couple who were instrumental in rescuing the Akita from near-extinction, with interesting details of rural life in post-war Japan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 9/29/2013

    " Well written, beautiful story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 6/25/2013

    " Dog Man tells the story of one person's devotion to and passion for the Akita dog which was almost at extinction at the end of WWII in Japan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marybeth | 2/23/2013

    " Part of my non-fiction kick. This story made me think about war-time Japan in a way I had never considered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annabharmon | 12/19/2012

    " If you're a dog lover you will love this book. I did! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 10/11/2012

    " Very excellent worthwhile read - you will discover new aspects of Japanese culture and learn a great deal about the wonderful Akita dogs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Musgrave | 8/2/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. I don't think you have to be a dog lover to read it. This story brought me into a someone else's life and culture; the story has lots of wonderful life lessons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle | 7/30/2012

    " Wonderful story of a man and his breed, the magnificent Akita!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lianne | 7/12/2012

    " For any dog lover or student of Japanese culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bartholomew | 6/12/2011

    " Thanks V.!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 5/24/2011

    " Interesting for awhile. Only so much can be said about history of Akita dogs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ted | 5/22/2011

    " I originally thought this book would be more about the dogs, but it was more about the man and how is obsession with dogs guided his life and interactions with his family. It was still interesting and generally well written, but I prefer more of a plot driven book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betty | 5/6/2011

    " Let this book tell you how one man saved Japan's Akitas. Lovely heart-breaking read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd | 2/3/2011

    " Great book. I enjoyed it so much I am rereading it years later. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 11/17/2010

    " Interesting for awhile. Only so much can be said about history of Akita dogs. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fran | 9/9/2010

    " Basically kind of boring, way to much about the man and not enough about the dog. There were some interesting parts about how he choose his dogs and some small snipets about the different dogs but really it wa about the man and his life in the mountains that happened to include dogs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 7/25/2010

    " Dog Man tells the story of one person's devotion to and passion for the Akita dog which was almost at extinction at the end of WWII in Japan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 4/10/2010

    " I read this because of my interest in Akita dogs and Japan. You may not like it if you don't have these connections. True story, so it gives insight into Japanese life and history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace | 2/20/2010

    " This is a great story even if you are not a dog lover. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lydia | 2/19/2010

    " Did not think that the supposed hero was all that likeable. Did not get a great feel for the dogs, either. Nice descriptions of rural Japan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Autumn | 1/13/2010

    " What an interesting book about an unusual man. "

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About the Author

Martha Sherrill is a former Washington Post staff writer who specializes in penetrating profiles of difficult subjects. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Esquire and Vanity Fair, among other publications. She is the author of The Buddha from Brooklyn, a work of nonfiction, and the novels My Last Movie Star and The Ruins of California.

About the Narrator

Laural Merlington is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator with over two hundred titles to her credit. An Audie Award nominee, she has also directed over one hundred audiobooks. She teaches college in her home state of Michigan.