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

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If at all the book falters, it is in Lett's unquestioning take on the motive behind the US army's equine rescue operation...But this is a tiny dent in the scheme of things...An important addition to the slim catalogue of wartime animal stories,
-DNA

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, 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 U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, 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 valor.

Praise for The Perfect Horse

“Winningly 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 Monitor

“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.”—Culturess

The Perfect Horse is an enthralling and moving story that I could not put down. This is a riveting and unique perspective on World War II.”—Molly Guptill Manning, author of When Books Went to War

“Passionately told and dazzling in scope, The Perfect Horse charges headlong into an unforgettable tale of World War II, when good men were given a final mission—to save beloved horses—at an hour when no one wanted to die. In Elizabeth Letts, the saga of World War II’s white stallions has found its perfect guardian.”—Adam Makos, author of A Higher Call

“Elizabeth Letts’s beautiful prose, woven together with meticulous research, takes you for a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.”—Robin Hutton, author of Sgt. Reckless
 

About Elizabeth Letts

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Elizabeth Letts is the award-winning author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and one children's book, The Butter Man. Quality of Care was a Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Books-A-Million Book Club selection. An equestrian from childhood, Letts represented California as a junior equestrian, and was runner-up in the California Horse and Rider of the Year competition. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Baltimore, Maryland.
 
Published August 23, 2016 by Ballantine Books. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, War, Science & Math. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 25 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Perfect Horse
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on May 25 2016

The author’s elegant narrative conveys how the love for these amazing creatures transcends national animosities.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Thomas McClung on Aug 22 2016

Although it is trite to say that this is a real page turner and a book that is hard to put down, it is so.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski on Aug 26 2016

...to history buffs, THE PERFECT HORSE provides a totally fresh look at WWII that can’t be found anywhere else.

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DNA

Above average
Reviewed by ROSHNI NAIR on Oct 16 2016

If at all the book falters, it is in Lett's unquestioning take on the motive behind the US army's equine rescue operation...But this is a tiny dent in the scheme of things...An important addition to the slim catalogue of wartime animal stories,

Read Full Review of The Perfect Horse: The Daring...

https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Deborah Hopkinson on Aug 23 2016

Letts does an excellent job of bringing the various players to life, and The Perfect Horse includes a helpful list of characters, as well as an epilogue detailing what happened to some of the men and horses in the postwar years...

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