Since we talked about the songs of my chilkdhood yesterday,
I thought it pretty fitting to share this new book with you today,
as horses were a big part of my childhood!
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II
In the chaotic last days of the war a small troop of battle-weary 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 the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.
With only hours to spare, one of the Army’s last great cavalrymen, American colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.
Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.
Before I get to my review, first a look at these amazing horses:
Elizabeth Letts gives us a page turner of a tale that not only educates the reader about these amazing horses, but of the men who stood by them and defended the, to make sure that they lived on to keep performing! If you ever get the chance to see the show, you MUST see it! It is the perfect combination of artistry, sport and beauty! This tale reads like a behind-enemy-lines thriller combined with modern day fiction, as the race to save the horses, the school and breed culminates into a true tale of courage and inspiration! There is valor, sacrifice and a love for horses, that will enchant horse lovers, history lovers and those who just like great books!
For me, reading this book as an adult, gave me a fresh look at the history of these horses, as I still have my copy of Marguerite Henry's White Stallion of Lipizza, I had the Breyer model of the Lippizzan stallion (well until a certain cousin decided the horse could actually fly off a deck and broke all 4 legs...he had a proper burial. The horse, not my cousin...though I did consider it!) and I caught every showing of the Walt Disney movie, Miracle of the White Stallions (I had no idea it was on DVD- score!).
If you aren't familiar with these horses, let me give you some background:
|- Mare & Foal 3 Uploaded by sporti|
|courtesy of David Monniaux|
About the Author
Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion as well as two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning. A competitive equestrian in her youth, Letts rode for California in the North American Junior Three-Day Eventing Championships. She currently lives in Southern California.