The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey through Human History
|Author:||Susanna Forrest (Author)|
Man has always been fascinated by Equus caballus, recasting horse power into many forms: a hunk of meat, an industrial and agricultural machine, a luxury good, a cherished dancer, a comrade in arms and a symbol of a mythical past. From the wild tarpans sought by the Nazis to jade-laden treasure steeds in Ancient China, broken-down nags recycled into sausages and furniture stuffing, stallions that face fighting bulls and brewery horses that charmed the founder of the Sikh Empire, The Age of the Horse knits the history of the horse into that of humans, through revolution, war, social change and uneasy peace. It also uncovers new roles for the horse in the twenty-first century as a tool in the fight against climate change and as a therapist for soldiers damaged in unwinnable conflicts.In this captivating book, Susanna Forrest takes a journey through time and around the world, from the Mongolian steppes to a mirrored manege at Versailles, an elegant polo club in Beijing and a farm, a fort and an auction house in America, exploring the horse's crucial role and revealing how our culture and economy were generated, nourished and shaped by horse power and its gifts and limits.
Susanna Forrest is the outstanding writer at the erudite end of horse madness... Forrest, a social anthropologist by training, heart truly pierced, has written a profound historical love story.... Her book is original, cerebral and from the heart. Thinking jodhpur-wearers will love it. -- Melanie Reid * The Times * From Xenophon to Hitler via Chinese polo and the battle of Waterloo, this extraordinary work demonstrates how much better world history looks with a horse in the foreground. -- Meg Rosoff Whether describing the splendours of the haute ecole, the miseries of the American horsemeat trade, or the horse-thronged streets of 19th century London, Forrest writes with a fine descriptive vigour. Her essayistic approach allows for an exhilarating blend of the historical and the personal, with lively digressions -- Jane Shilling * Evening Standard * A richly informative, lively and elegantly written overview of the horse in human culture and history... Anyone with even the slightest interest in horses and their past, present and future as human companions, allies or victims should be sure to read it and learn from it. -- Peter Mitchell, Fellow in Archaeology, University of Oxford No animal more deserves a rigorous and deep investigation of its place in human life, and no one is better positioned to provide it than Susanna Forrest. She approaches her subject with both love and lucidity, with a sharp awareness of the limits of what we can know about horses. -- Justin E. H. Smith, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Paris The Age of the Horse surprises and delights at every turn. This thoroughly and imaginatively researched, beautifully written book takes us to new destinations and offers new stories from the frontlines of horse-human sociality. -- Donna Landry, professor of English and American literature, University of Kent A very detailed, well-researched history of the evolution, domestication, and usage of horses throughout the ages and in different geographic areas. Susanna Forrest travelled the globe to learn about the practices of the past - including the horse at work and in war and religion - and about how people look upon horses today. -- Robert Sommer, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis The Age of the Horse takes horses seriously in their multiplicity, in all the different ways they have been and are a part of our lives . . . This is rigorously researched, but accessible. Through the common history of humans and equids, it is a tribute to the adaptability of both species. -- Robin Irvine, University of St Andrews Susanna Forrest tells the complete story of the horse, from the Mongolian steppes to Victorian coaches and Amish farms, in a book filled with vivid anecdotes and big ideas. -- Boria Sax, author of CITY OF RAVENS Many a horse lover would prefer to spend their entire day on the trail or at the race track, with no other human to taint the majesty of the experience. Susanna Forrest goes even further, delivering all of history with a sharp equine focus. Through her fascinating delving she creates a magical world where these exquisite creatures reign supreme. -- Elizabeth Mitchell, author of THREE STRIDES BEFORE THE WIRE and LIBERTY'S TORCH The illustrations are beautiful, the facts astonishing * Mail on Sunday * In charting the evolution of the horse, Forrest covers wide sweeps of history and geography with dexterity and panache... The Age of the Horse is full of facts and rich anecdote -- Robin Oakley * Literary Review * Finding a literary horse book, one that is both substantial and presents a staggering use of language, is an impossible task akin to finding a 6-year-old, well-trained, sensible gelding for a reasonable price. Susanna Forrest's The Age of the Horse is just such a miracle... It is a triumph, and one to be enjoyed by anyone looking for a good read. -- Gretchen Lida * Washington Independent Review of Books *
Susanna Forrest lives in Berlin where she works as a writer and editor. She grew up in Norwich and later studied social anthropology at Cambridge. In 2016, she won the Sophie Coe Prize, which is awarded for writing on food history.