Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts

Title: History is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Year Published: 2017


Genre: Adult non-fiction
Pages: 307 plus notes and index
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, USA

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money


Summary (from the back of the book): In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find--his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world's finest purebreds in order to breed an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in danger of being slaughtered for food. With hours to spare, one of the US Army's last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision--to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed's determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines to save the horses. Elizabeth Lett's exhilarating tale of adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

Review: I actually bought this in the London airport thinking I would read it on the plane home, but that didn't happen. And, confession time: I thought it was a novel! I didn't realize it was non-fiction until I went to see how many pages it was and saw the index and notes.

I was determined to read this book since I haven't read a non-fiction in quite some time, but the beginning was way too much detail for me (all about eugenics in horse breeding and how that appealed to the Nazis and the Americans in the early part of the twentieth century). Interesting, but just not in the detail that was given.

However, I did really like reading about Vienna since I studied there during my junior year of college. Reading the names of the streets and plazas brought back fun memories. And when I lived there I went and saw the Lippizaner Horses so I definitely feel a connection to the subject matter. They are incredible horses and the shows are impressive.

The next part was the lead-up to the stealing of the horses with the history of the Lippizaner horses, how they were bred and trained and a bit about the various stables throughout Poland. We also get to know the "main character," Alois Podhajsky who absolutely lives for these horses. Again, lots of detail.

The last third of the book was much more interesting to me: the Americans and a couple Germans band together to save the horses, we find out where they end up and what happens to all the humans involved. I was pleased to read that General Patton was more than supportive and helped save the horses, and I feel good about humanity that this escape/rescue happened during a horrible war. However, this book just didn't do it for me. If you love horses and/or war stories then this book is for you!
Challenges for which this counts: 


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