The relationship between horses and humans is an ancient, profound and complex one. For millennia horses provided the strength and speed that humans lacked. How we travelled, farmed and fought was dictated by the needs of this extraordinary animal. And then, suddenly, in the 20th century the links were broken and the millions of horses that shared our existence almost vanished, eking out a marginal existence on race-tracks and pony clubs.
Farewell to the Horse is an engaging, brilliantly written and moving discussion of what horses once meant to us. Cities, farmland, entire industries were once shaped as much by the needs of horses as humans. The intervention of horses was fundamental in countless historical events. They were sculpted, painted, cherished, admired; they were thrashed, abused and exposed to terrible danger. From the Roman Empire to the Napoleonic Empire every world-conqueror needed to be shown on a horse. Tolstoy once reckoned that he had cumulatively spent some nine years of his life on horseback.
Ulrich Raulff's book, a bestseller in Germany, is a superb monument to the endlessly various creature who has so often shared and shaped our fate.
Horses and humans share an ancient, profoundly complex relationship. Once our most indispensable companions, horses were for millennia essential in helping build our cities, farms, and industries. But during the twentieth century, in an increasingly mechanized society, they began to disappear from human history. In this esoteric and rich tribute, award-winning historian Ulrich Raulff chronicles the dramatic story of this most spectacular creature, thoroughly examining how they’ve been muses and brothers in arms, neglected and sacrificed in war yet memorialized in paintings, sculpture, and novels—and ultimately marginalized on racetracks and in pony clubs. Elegiac and absorbing, Farewell to the Horse paints a stunning panorama of a world shaped by hooves, and the imprint left on humankind.
“A beautiful and thoughtful exploration. . . . Farewell to the Horse is a grown-up, but also lyrical and creative, history book, and I very much enjoyed it.”— James Rebanks, author of the New York Times bestseller The Shepherd’s Life