Monday, August 22, 2016

The Thrilling Story of the Lipizzaner Stallions During WWII

When the Nazis took over Europe, they were not just interested in breeding perfect Aryan people, they also wanted to breed prefect horses. To this end the priceless horses throughout Europe were transferred to the Nazi breeding farms.

For much of the war the Lipizzaner Stallions escaped the breeding program because of their value in performing. However, as the Allies reconquered the territory captured by the German Armies, the stallions were no longer safe in Vienna. They were moved several times and finally, in a daring rescue, the American forces moved the stallions into their sector to prevent the Russians from killing them.

Although this is a historical book, it reads like a novel. The characters from Alois Podhajsky, the senior trainer of the stallions, to Gustav Rau, the head of the German breeding program, and Hank Reed, the American Colonel who saved the horses, the men are presented as complex characters. The horses, too, are beautifully described especially Podhajsky's mounts. The story is exciting with midnight rides through the woods and plots to get the horses out of danger, but none of the historical detail is sacrificed. 

For me the most impressive part of the book was the way the people sacrificed for the horses. It was a truly moving part of the story.

I highly recommend this book. It is an unforgettable adventure.