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

Elizabeth Letts

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

The Perfect Horse the Daring U S Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis From the New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty Dollar Champion the remarkable true story of the valiant rescue of priceless pedigree horses in the last days of World War II As the Russian

  • Title: The Perfect Horse: the Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
  • Author: Elizabeth Letts
  • ISBN: 9780345544803
  • Page: 190
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty Dollar Champion, the remarkable true story of the valiant rescue of priceless pedigree horses in the last days of World War II As the Russians closed in on Hitler from the east and the Allies attacked from the west, American soldiers discovered a secret Nazi effort to engineer a master race of the finest purebredFrom the 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty Dollar Champion, the remarkable true story of the valiant rescue of priceless pedigree horses in the last days of World War II As the Russians closed in on Hitler from the east and the Allies attacked from the west, American soldiers discovered a secret Nazi effort to engineer a master race of the finest purebred horses With the support of U.S general George S Patton, a passionate equestrian, the Americans planned an audacious mission to kidnap these beautiful animals and smuggle them into safe territory assisted by a daring Austrian colonel who was both a former Olympian and a trainer of the famous Lipizzaner stallions.

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      190 Elizabeth Letts
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      Posted by:Elizabeth Letts
      Published :2018-06-06T07:23:54+00:00

    One thought on “The Perfect Horse: the Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

    1. Margaret Sankey on said:

      To explain the five star rating: my American grandfather played polo for the Army in the 1930s (and always held that horsemanship helped curtail the career rise of assholes, since 1,200 pound animals don't take too kindly to assholes), I've seen the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the national tours of the horses in the 1980s as a preteen girl who had read Marguerite Henry books, and even though it was historically inaccurate and badly dated by the time I saw it, watched the Robert Taylor mo [...]

    2. Jean Poulos on said:

      Letts covers two stories in this book. One is the commonly known story of the rescue of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and their famous Lipizzaner stallions led by Alois Podhajsky. Podhajsky won the bronze medal in Dressage at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Near the end of the war the American Army heard from a German spy about the location of the horses. The Russian Army was closing on the location; the Russian soldiers were starving and the fear was they would slaughter the animals for food. G [...]

    3. Cheryl on said:

      In the waning days of World War II, an American Second Cavalry unit was camped out awaiting orders on the German side of the border with Czechoslovakia in southern Germany. Suddenly, a motorcar with a white flag appeared at the checkpoint. Inside was an officer of the German Luftwaffe. Claiming he had urgent information, he demanded to speak with the commanding officer. The unit’s German speaking translator attempted, unsuccessfully, to find out the meaning behind the German’s request. Seizi [...]

    4. Chris on said:

      Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley When most people hear the words Nazi and Eugenics, they only think about the Nazi view on humanity – the slaughter of innocent people and the desire to breed the perfect people. What many people don’t know is that the Nazis did try to do the same to animals. The Nazis didn’t just steal art and material possessions; they also took horses and various other animals to use in breeding programs. Elizabeth Lett’s latest book, The Perfect Horse, is a chronicle of t [...]

    5. Evelyn on said:

      What should have been a heartwarming story about the rescue of the world-famous Austrian Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna at the end of World War II, is disappointing because it is marred by errors that could have eliminated by fact checking the text and proofreading it, and by long digressions about subjects and people who are unrelated to the substance of the story. A conclusion that discusses what happened to people who were bit players in the drama, while failing to d [...]

    6. Blaine DeSantis on said:

      Looks like I am among the minority of reviewers here, but to me this book got long, overly detailed and moved as the speed of a brief cool down stroll (a bit of horse racing parlance). The title hooked me and I was impressed by all the research done by the author, but the story is really one that I think I heard before as a child when I watched the Wonderful World of Disney and they did a story on the Lippizaner stallions. Have been fortunate to have seen them perform twice and they are remarkab [...]

    7. Beth Cato on said:

      I received this early copy through the publisher via NetGalley.I was horse-obsessed as a kid. I was able to see Lipizzaners on tour once when I was 11, and it was incredible. Of course, I had read a great deal about the horses and their airs above the ground. Years and years ago, I saw the old Disney movie "Miracle of the White Stallions" about how the Lipizzaners were saved from Austria during World War II. Well, this is the real story behind that, and it's an engaging, fascinating read.It begi [...]

    8. Laura Harrison on said:

      An absolutely fascinating, well-written and researched title. Just when you think you know pretty much every horror and bizarre idea the Nazi's came up with-you find out there is more. Even the animals weren't spared from their ideology. I am not a big fan of spoilers so I will just say this is one amazing non fiction book. A definite must read for the animal lover as well as history buffs.

    9. Ms.pegasus on said:

      Today it seems inconceivable that there was a time when the Lipizzaner horses were not familiar to U.S. audiences. In 1962 their performance at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna was included in Telstar's maiden intercontinental transmission. Some may recall the Disneyfied version of their World War II rescue in the 1963 film “Miracle of the White Stallions”. As recently as 1995 the Lipizzaners figured in a tense and revealing conversation between its principal characters played by Gene Hac [...]

    10. Fredrick Danysh on said:

      Following World War I, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna was rebuilding its herd of Lipizzaners and its traditions. In Poland the government was rebuilding its purebred Arabian herds. With World War II, the Nazis took over both herds with the idea of creating the perfect military horse. Toward the end of the war the Americans with the help of some locals attempt to rescue both from the Germans and to keep the Russians from acquiring those horse. An ideal read for the horse lover.

    11. Rena Sherwood on said:

      I won a review copy of this book during a giveaway promotion. It's funny to look at a review copy since there are so many typos, no index (except "18 pages Index here" on a blank page) and what I assume was supposed to be a map but only lists place names in various size fonts. However, I assume that by the time The Perfect Horse is released properly, these problems will all be cleared up.Too bad they won't be able to make the content better. This is more of a 2.5 stars than a 3 since this was a [...]

    12. Hilary on said:

      4.5 starsElizabeth Letts has deftly woven together a true story of the famous Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, introducing us to the men who worked tirelessly and with incredible dedication to protect and save these incredible animals, highlighting a previously-unknown facet of WW II. It's compiled from first-person accounts, archival material, books and monographs, and supplemented with detailed end notes for those who wish to learn more, or to trace the source.Setti [...]

    13. Jean on said:

      If you can picture a book which covers "two continents and more than eight decades", as author Elizabeth Letts puts it in her acknowledgements, you will begin to get an idea of how remarkable a story The Perfect Horse is.Letts weaves an intricate tapestry which eloquently tells the story of how the American military manages to rescue priceless horses from imminent death at the end of World War II. These horses include the extraordinary, balletic Lipizzaner, the breathtakingly beautiful Arabians, [...]

    14. Perri on said:

      An interesting story of WWII I didn't know much about including: The Nazi's stealing valuable thoroughbreds in their drive to develop the perfect horse. The difficult compromises and nerve wracking decisions the horse caretakers made to ensure these beautiful animals stayed safe. The fate of some of those horses transported to this country as they ceased to have value in a machine driven army. However the multi- focus, the shift of settings (Europe?USA), detailed characterizations of so many peo [...]

    15. Clare O'Beara on said:

      This history is quite chilling as we follow the horse breeding schemes of the evil Third Reich. Germany is today one of Europe's biggest producers of horses. In 1936, when the tale starts, the Great War had killed millions of horses; exports of horses were demanded under reparations; the Olympic team did everything it had to do to win all the gold medals for Germany. The Second World War despite employing tanks, trains and trucks, used 2,750,000 horses from Germany alone, sixty percent of which [...]

    16. C.P. Cabaniss on said:

      *I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*I've always been interested in the history surrounding WWII and being a horse owner and lover increased my interest in this book. This was a piece of history that I hadn't ever heard much about and I wanted to know more.While I enjoyed this, it wasn't quite as powerful as I had hoped. The focus was more on the people involved in the rescue than the horses, which was a bit of a surprise. I did like reading about t [...]

    17. Lisa on said:

      I always love a good story about horses and enjoyed reading about how this special breed was saved from the devastating repercussions of the war but it was too long and too many unnecessary details that failed to make the plot or characters more interesting. It could have been almost half as long and still been a strong testament to the heroes involved.

    18. Tasha on said:

      I won this read through giveaway. I listened and read the book. The audio narration was very well done and I felt the story was very interesting.

    19. Alan on said:

      An excellent story about saving an amazing breed of horse. It was a fascinating and dangerous journey these horses endured during WWII. There were many brave individuals from both the Allies and Axis armies, who made the determined effort to save these horses. Having seen the Lipizzaners perform made the reading of this book all that more enjoyable.

    20. Leeanna on said:

      This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.==THE PERFECT HORSE is the amazing story of a daring U.S. Army mission to rescue priceless horses taken from all over Europe by the Nazis. For all the reading I’ve done on World War II, I can’t believe I had never heard of the German horse breeding program, the difficulties the captured horses endured when Germany faced defeat, or even the plight of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.The first half of the book sets everything up: introduci [...]

    21. Gobeit on said:

      Fascinating, and a wee bit nostalgic as I finished it on the anniversary of seeing the Lippizaner horses perform at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The writing seemed uneven, especially the section about the backgrounds of the Americans involved. This book is for a very specific audience of horse lovers and historians. Recommended to those folks- you know who you are. 😉

    22. Jennifer on said:

      Harrowing tale of a wartime mission that many don't know of -- the rescue of the Arabian horses at the end of World War 2. It's an incredible story that should be read by all.

    23. SUSAN *Nevertheless,she persisted* on said:

      Excellent story,fascinating. Highly recommended.

    24. Beth on said:

      I thought the narrator was rather boring, but the story was quite interesting!

    25. Mary on said:

      What an amazing story. I've been obsessed with Lipizzaner stallions since getting the book The White Stallions of Lipizza as a child (which the author also mentions sparked her interest in childhood). I got to see them in person at 17, and even got to ride one! What an incredible experience. I can summon the energy of that moment in a heartbeat! This book chronicles the astounding tale of these and other horses confiscated during World War II, devotion to these fantastic creatures surpassing eve [...]

    26. Bonnie Wilson on said:

      This is a decent read. The prose is workmanlike and the narrative coherent. That is not a criticism - workmanlike is far better than the opposite - just to say it lack vividness somehow. The tale itself IS exciting I kept thinking, "this would make a good movie." The author ignores some moral dilemmas inherent in the circumstances, and all the people are wartless, which makes them one-dimensional, and I would sometimes forget which was which. The horses though (at least a few of them) are vivid [...]

    27. Sarah on said:

      This was an very fun. The structure and manner of telling the story here was very cleverly done. The book is divided into basically three parts. The German/Austrian/Polish characters lead up to the year of the rescue, then the American lead up, then the rescue and the fallout itself. Elizabeth Letts does a great job of making you care, and keeping you hooked in. She does take some creative license with behavior thoughts, and scenes but overall it's a very engaging and rewarding reading experienc [...]

    28. Natalie on said:

      It was well researched. The many back stories of the main players was thorough and gave you a real sense of who these people were. It did get slow in the middle but, the beginning and ending rolled pretty quickly.It was educational to learn about another aspect of eugenics in the Third Reich and the role it played in Hitler's pursuit of the perfect war horse. It also illustrated how far modern military technology has come.

    29. Susan Waterman on said:

      The subject matter was appealing to me and helped carry the book. Not sure others would like it without a love of horses. It definitely got a little mired down in the middle of the book and could have used some better editing for flow. She got a bit repetitive and her verbiage got mundane one point I think she used the word "bedraggled" 16 times in 4 pages. Lol. But, I didn't know this little part of history that occurred in WWII and am glad to have learned about it!

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