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The Perfect Horse: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped During World War II

Review

The Perfect Horse: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped During World War II

In THE PERFECT HORSE: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped During World War II, author Elizabeth Letts shares the true-life story of how American soldiers helped rescue and save the finest purebred horses in Europe during World War II. They had been stolen by Hitler and secreted away to keep them safe from advancing Russian troops who would either send them into battle as desperately needed mounts or slaughter them to feed their starving troops. When some American soldiers captured a German spy, they learned about the horses. Their leader, Colonel Hank Reed, who was a horse lover, decided to take a daring chance and rescue these magnificent animals, risking his life to do so.

"This story is fascinating, but it is a bit hard to follow along at times....However, the story is still a fascinating one and still a very important one."

The rest, as they say, is history. Today, the famed Lippazaner horses and some thoroughbreds owe their very existence to the efforts of American soldiers during World War II. Many of the magnificent animals were lost for good, but enough of them were saved so they could be bred to produce the horses that live today.

This story is fascinating, but it is a bit hard to follow along at times. The action takes place on different continents, simultaneously, and spans more than a decade. The author goes from one continent to another and from one time period to another, going back and forth, in order to provide the necessary backdrop for the historical events. At some points, this makes it difficult to keep up with all that’s going on.

However, the story is still a fascinating one and still a very important one. The author got interested in the story when she discovered that the horses were being bred in such a way as to eliminate all unwanted traits, hence the title, THE PERFECT HORSE. This system of breeding, called eugenics, was then later transferred to Hitler’s program of eliminating anyone from society who didn’t fit a very narrow scope of desirable traits. Letts includes an extensive bibliography listing all the sources used for the narrative.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on February 26, 2019

The Perfect Horse: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped During World War II
by Elizabeth Letts