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

272p. bibliog. index. Delacorte. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525644743.
Gr 7 Up—This adaptation of Letts's best-selling work about the rescue of purebred horses highlights a little-known aspect of World War II. The book traces the movements of various groups of horses and their caretakers, often through dangerous circumstances. These animals, once bred for Austrian and Polish kings, became part of German eugenics experiments to breed the perfect warhorse. In a climactic scene, U.S. troops, at the request of the horses' caretakers and under orders from General Patton, cross enemy lines to rescue a group of horses from a farm in Czechoslovakia. While the book is well researched and includes character descriptions, a map of key locations, and helpful author's notes, the complex narrative, with frequently changing settings, groups of horses, and personnel, makes some details of the story line difficult to follow. It is also unclear if the German military personnel who are discussed had ties to Nazism; the Holocaust is barely mentioned. Letts notes that the saving of horses seems a small thing but that "it was only through individual acts of compassion that the world was able to climb out of the trough it had dug for itself and attempt to find its way into a more peaceful future."
VERDICT A fine addition to middle and high school collections where history titles are in demand.

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