Blood Horses by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Notes of a Sportswriter's Son

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...the book really sparkles when Sullivan reminisces on his father and his own experiences as a sports-indifferent child, dragged around the stadia and racecourses of the American south.
-Guardian

Synopsis

One evening late in his life, veteran sportswriter Mike Sullivan was asked by his son what he remembered best from his three decades in the press box. The answer came as a surprise. "I was at Secretariat's Derby, in '73. That was . . . just beauty, you know?"

Sullivan didn't know, not really: the track had always been a place his father disappeared to once a year on business, a source of souvenir glasses and inscrutable passions in his Kentucky relatives. But in 2000, Sullivan, an editor and essayist for Harper's, decided to educate himself. He spent two years following the horse-both across the country, as he watched one season's juvenile crop prepare for the Triple Crown, and through time, as he tracked the animal's constant evolution in literature and art, from the ponies that appeared on the walls of European caves 30,000 years ago, to the mounts that carried the Indo-European language to the edges of the Old World, to the finely tuned but fragile yearlings that are auctioned off for millions of dollars apiece every spring and fall.

The result is a witty, encyclopedic, and in the end profound meditation on what Edwin Muir called our "long-lost archaic companionship" with the horse. Incorporating elements of memoir and reportage, the Wunderkammer and the picture gallery, Blood Horses lets us see--as we have never seen before--the animal that, more than any other, made us who we are.

 

About John Jeremiah Sullivan

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John Jeremiah Sullivan is an editor at Harper's and a former editor of The Oxford American. This is his first book.
 
Published April 1, 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 277 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Sports & Outdoors, Science & Math, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Blood Horses
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Lewis on Mar 30 2013

...the book really sparkles when Sullivan reminisces on his father and his own experiences as a sports-indifferent child, dragged around the stadia and racecourses of the American south.

Read Full Review of Blood Horses: Notes of a Spor... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Theo Tait on Mar 21 2013

It shows him working on the techniques that he would later perfect; it's a good, funny, moving book, not as assured as his later essays, but consistently interesting nevertheless.

Read Full Review of Blood Horses: Notes of a Spor... | See more reviews from Guardian

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