A New York Times Bestseller
Amazon Best Book of the Month
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion comes 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.
A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valo
“Straight out of the cauldron of Nazi brutality and war, Elizabeth Letts weaves not just a page-turner but an achingly glorious story of grace and redemption.”
Vicki Constantine Croke, New York Times bestselling authorWinningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.The Christian Science MonitorThe Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.Culturess
“Whether you’re a history buff, a horse fan, or can appreciate how doing one positive thing can have enormous impact, The Perfect Horse is the perfect read for you.”
“Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Hard to put down…One need not be an equestrian or horse lover in order to appreciate this story.”
New York Journal of Books
“A truly fascinating chronicle…I was hooked from start to finish by Letts’s incredible attention to detail and her gripping account of the events surrounding and leading up to the rescue mission.”
Horse Nation magazine
“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses…The author’s elegant narrative conveys how the love for these amazing creatures transcends national animosities.”
“Paul Boehmer’s narration is melodic and deliberate as he outlines the background of the Nazi eugenics program as applied to horse breeding…Boehmer’s facility with Eastern European names and places is apparent…Boehmer ramps-up the drama for the flight of the horses out of war-torn Vienna and Hostau, Czechoslovakia, the nighttime ride by the son of a US senator to negotiate the animals’ safety, and the passage of the ‘orphan horses’ across the ocean to the United States.”
Paul Boehmer is an American actor best known for his numerous appearances in the Star Trek universe. Paul is a 1992 Masters of Fine Arts graduate of the Professional Theater Training Program at the University of Delaware.
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- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Genre: Nonfiction/History
- ISBN-13: 9780735285071