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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic


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Currently reading

The Man They Wanted Me To Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making
Jared Yates Sexton
Progress: 13 %
Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding
Steven K. Green
Progress: 67/328 pages
Significant Others
Sandra Kitt
Progress: 34 %
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

It could only have been more perfect with more pictures

The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis - Elizabeth Letts

As I wrote when I started reading this book, I knew the outlines of the history.  I knew how the story ended, and therefore I didn't have to fear tragedy.  In anticipation of light, engaging read, I started turning the digital pages.


This turned out to be no child's breezy account of a miraculous rescue.  I had never seen the Disney movie -- had in fact more or less forgotten that there ever was one -- and I had never read Marguerite Henry's novel about the Lipizzan horses, so I was relying on the brief overview provided in her Album of Horses, which I still have.


The title is somewhat misleading, since author Letts never really addresses the perfection of any of the horses mentioned.  So set that whole notion aside.  The tale is more about the perfect horror of war.


The white stallions of the renowned Spanish Riding School of Vienna were not the only victims.  There were also the brood mares whose foals grew up to be the famed performers, and thousands upon thousands of other pedigreed horses in Europe, among them the Arabians of Poland.  All became victims, in one way or another, of the war.  A very precious few would survive.  That any of them did was a testament to luck and the steadfast determination of a very small group of men, some of whom would otherwise be enemies.


This wasn't an easy book to read; not all the horses survived, and the horrors they endured were, to put it simply, inhuman.  No, not inhumane.  One seriously wonders how beings that call themselves human could behave with such wanton cruelty.


There is also the suspense.  Even knowing more or less how the book ends, I felt the adrenaline rush of tension.


But it's powerfully written, with expansive portraits of the soldiers, riders, veterinarians, and horse-humanitarians involved.  Just be sure to have either a tight rein on your emotions or a healthy supply of tissues.  The ending is the same, but only after a pretty rough roller coaster ride.