"The author's palpable love of horses seduces the reader."
"A philosophical history and a lyrical essay...especially eloquent on the paradox of the horse as domestic animal that also represents wildness."
–Jane Smiley, Washington Post
“Here’s a fascinating insight into the intricate relationship between man and horse since ancient times. Drawing on art, archaeology, biology and literature as well as his own experience and knowledge, Chamberlain has produced a personal, learned and philosophical work.”—The Field
Full of wisdom, passion and wonder, Horse is the utterly fascinating and enlightening story of horses and humans from the beginning of time to the present.Ever since the dawn of human history, horses have held a mystical sway over our imagination: we respect and revere them like no other animal. We have conceived of them as both domesticated and free, both belonging to our civilisation and to the wild. At first, ours was an encounter of death, as prehistoric humans hunted horses all across the steppes of Asia, and throughout Europe. But they also painted horses full of grace and beauty on the walls of their caves, and gave them a central place in their songs and sacred rituals. Long before the invention of writing and the wheel, horses began to shape the way humans lived. Drawing on archaeology, biology, art, literature and ethnography, Horse illuminates the relationship between humans and horses throughout history – from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, from the Moors in Spain and the knights in France to the great horse cultures of native America. From the Ice Age to the Industrial Age, horses have provided sustenance, transportation, status, companionship and the ability to establish and expand empires. Included are stories of horses at work, at war and at play, both wild horses and famous horses, in paintings, books and movies. Horse looks at the ancient traditions of horse trading and horse stealing, horse racing and games with horses, and at rodeos and circuses, jumping and dressage. It compares techniques of training and traditions of breeding, from the Persians to the Nez Perce, from Lippizaners to Percherons, and ponders the intelligence of horses, their skill and strength as well as their grace and beauty.
J. EDWARD CHAMBERLIN is University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. His books include If This Is Your Land , Where Are Your Stories? and The Harrowing of Eden: White Attitudes Towards Native Americans . The grandson of an Alberta rancher, Chamberlin has bred horses and collected stories about them for much of his life.
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