The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History by Susanna Forrest

The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History

An essential book for anyone who’s ever been captivated by horses, The Age of the Horse is a breathtaking exploration of the connection between humans and Equus caballus. Equestrian expert Susanna Forrest presents a unique, sweeping panorama of the animal’s role in societies around the world and across time.Fifty-six million years ago, the earliest equid walked the earth—a...

Title:The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0802126510
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:432 pages

The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History Reviews

  • Kilian Metcalf
    May 28, 2017

    It is difficult to review this book. It would be easier if it were a rant or a rave. Instead it's just 'meh.' The author looks at six uses of the horse from the dancing horses of the haute ecole to the draft horses that are making a comeback in agriculture. There is no unifying thesis to bind these disparete articles into a whole. Instead they read like magazine articles published at various times.

    If you know a young person who is horse mad and not very critical, this book might make a nice gift

    It is difficult to review this book. It would be easier if it were a rant or a rave. Instead it's just 'meh.' The author looks at six uses of the horse from the dancing horses of the haute ecole to the draft horses that are making a comeback in agriculture. There is no unifying thesis to bind these disparete articles into a whole. Instead they read like magazine articles published at various times.

    If you know a young person who is horse mad and not very critical, this book might make a nice gift.

    Thanks to Netgalley for ARC

  • Emma
    Jan 17, 2017

    Though this is clearly well researched, it is perhaps only one for the horse enthusiast. The author's choice to organise the book along thematic lines instead of as a linear history was a good one; it provided real focus and variety to the story, making it noticeably different from other offerings on this well-loved animal. Yet the writing style veered from rather exuberant to lecturing, making it a somewhat uneven read that often edged towards the 'i'm just going to put this book down

    Though this is clearly well researched, it is perhaps only one for the horse enthusiast. The author's choice to organise the book along thematic lines instead of as a linear history was a good one; it provided real focus and variety to the story, making it noticeably different from other offerings on this well-loved animal. Yet the writing style veered from rather exuberant to lecturing, making it a somewhat uneven read that often edged towards the 'i'm just going to put this book down for a bit to have a break and i'm not sure when i'll pick it up again' type. It's here that serious interest in the subject would have saved the day.

    ARC via Netgalley.

  • Lisa
    Dec 23, 2016

    The Age of the Horse is a nonfiction work by Susanna Forrest. I found this book interesting and it is one of the best researched books I have read recently. However, it is very verbose. It was like reading a cross between a collection of stories, a PhD thesis and a text book. It made for a slow and arduous read. The publication date is May 2017; therefore, I know there will be more revisions. I can only hope that some serious editing will take place and the final product will have more readabili

    The Age of the Horse is a nonfiction work by Susanna Forrest. I found this book interesting and it is one of the best researched books I have read recently. However, it is very verbose. It was like reading a cross between a collection of stories, a PhD thesis and a text book. It made for a slow and arduous read. The publication date is May 2017; therefore, I know there will be more revisions. I can only hope that some serious editing will take place and the final product will have more readability. As it stands right now, my rating is 3.5.

    The focus of this book is a history of what the horse has been to mankind (there is a brief history given prior to man) through the years starting with the earliest human domestication. The book is broken up into seven sections beginning with the first section called Evolution and ending with War. Each section has lots of interesting facts and the author recounts some of her adventures, during her research, as it relates to the each topic. Her research took her from horse auctions in the US to Schorfheide, Germany to see a small herd of Takhi. Since I am interested in sustainable farming, my favorite part was the discussion on the revival of draught horse farming outside of the Amish community.

    My biggest take away from this book is how important the role of the horse truly has been in the history of mankind. Undoubtedly, we, as a species, would not have come so far with the aid of the horse.

    Even though it was difficult to read, I liked it. After further editing, I can easily recommend this book to anyone that likes histories, science or horses.

    I received a free copy from the publisher, via Net Galley, in exchange for my honest review.

    Check out my blog at

    for this review, as well as others, and author interviews.

  • Anne Morgan
    May 23, 2017

    The Age of the Horse is not a history of the horse. It is, according to the introduction "a wander down six . . . ways in which we have used the horse, and the routes that ideas, people and horses took across an ever-changing territory." The six pathways Susanna Forrest takes us down include "Evolution", "Domestication", "Wildness", "Culture", "Power", "Meat", "Wealth", and "War". Within these six sections Forrest explore the entire range of equine-human interactions from warhorses to status sym

    The Age of the Horse is not a history of the horse. It is, according to the introduction "a wander down six . . . ways in which we have used the horse, and the routes that ideas, people and horses took across an ever-changing territory." The six pathways Susanna Forrest takes us down include "Evolution", "Domestication", "Wildness", "Culture", "Power", "Meat", "Wealth", and "War". Within these six sections Forrest explore the entire range of equine-human interactions from warhorses to status symbols, cart horses to polo horses, from Mongolia to England, ancient past to present day.

    From the luxury of Versailles and the life of a dancer to the harsh world of bull fighting and meat factories, Forrest doesn't shy away from exploring the negative as well as the positive in our treatment of horses over the centuries. She does an excellent job of balancing and capturing humankind's love of horses with the often cruel realities of human-horse partnership. Combined with her thorough research behind her subject, it is possible to learn some interesting facts and view horses and humans through interesting historical lenses.

    My problem, and great disappointment, with The Age of the Horse was Forrest's writing style. A meandering, almost stream of conscious style, Forrest describes everything in the closest of details and uses so many similes and metaphors in her writing that it is oftentimes unreadable. I found it frustratingly easy to lose the thread of the narrative, or the point Forrest was trying to explore/make, because of the many tangents or 'paths' we wandered down along the way. The heavy overuse of similes and metaphors bogged down the narrative. By the end of the book, while I might have learned a few things along the way, I couldn't tell you what they were. I was more relieved to be finished with the book than reflecting on the human-horse culture I had hoped to learn about.

    An excellent concept, poorly executed, makes The Age of the Horse a book probably only the most dedicated of horse enthusiasts will enjoy plodding through. For the rest of us, I recommend passing on this title.

    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

    For my full review, go to:

  • Bonnie
    Jun 03, 2017

    I'm giving this book the benefit of the doubt, but it's probably more like 3.5 stars than 4. My biggest criticism was that it was uneven. Maybe that was just me and it would be same, in different places, with all readers. But while I absolutely loved the sections on the Wounded Warriors and the farmers who are returning to horse-powered farming, I found the sections on the ancient horses and the modern Chinese horse industry rather dull. I even found the section on horses as meat interesting, if

    I'm giving this book the benefit of the doubt, but it's probably more like 3.5 stars than 4. My biggest criticism was that it was uneven. Maybe that was just me and it would be same, in different places, with all readers. But while I absolutely loved the sections on the Wounded Warriors and the farmers who are returning to horse-powered farming, I found the sections on the ancient horses and the modern Chinese horse industry rather dull. I even found the section on horses as meat interesting, if deeply disturbing to my horse-loving soul. This is probably not a book for anyone who is only casually interested in horses. But it is very well-researched and even the descriptions of trekking through Mongolia looking for the wild horse herds almost made me want to go to Mongolia to see them for myself.

  • Jo-anne Atkinson
    Jun 04, 2017

    Throughout history the development of man has been intertwined with that of the horse. In this book Susanna Forrest looks at different aspects of that relationship, from the beauty of the equine ballet to the way society deals with horses injured or beyond work, from the preservation of the wild horses of Mongolia to the role of the horse in newly affluent China. This is a love story to the animal and the writing shows both passion and knowledge. However it does not really hang together as a com

    Throughout history the development of man has been intertwined with that of the horse. In this book Susanna Forrest looks at different aspects of that relationship, from the beauty of the equine ballet to the way society deals with horses injured or beyond work, from the preservation of the wild horses of Mongolia to the role of the horse in newly affluent China. This is a love story to the animal and the writing shows both passion and knowledge. However it does not really hang together as a complete book. Each section is very self-contained, this is more a collection of extended essays.

  • Dave
    Jun 17, 2017

    Wonderful book about a great animal! Interesting historical details and stories!

  • Zoann
    Jun 24, 2017

    This is not the typical history of the horse. It started as a dry, scholarly tome, written in the third person, but, unexpectedly, the author switches to first person in places and tells of her own experiences. So the information and education becomes personalized and more interesting. The horse's relationship with humans is told in broad themes: Evolution, Domestication, Wildness, Culture, Power, Meat, Wealth and War. Parts of the book were hard to read for this horse lover, but all worthwhile.

    This is not the typical history of the horse. It started as a dry, scholarly tome, written in the third person, but, unexpectedly, the author switches to first person in places and tells of her own experiences. So the information and education becomes personalized and more interesting. The horse's relationship with humans is told in broad themes: Evolution, Domestication, Wildness, Culture, Power, Meat, Wealth and War. Parts of the book were hard to read for this horse lover, but all worthwhile. Some quotes I liked:

    "The history of the horse family is still one of the clearest and most convincing for showing that organisms really have evolved, for demonstrating that, so to speak, an onion can turn into a lily." Horses: The Story of the Horse Family in the Modern World and through Sixty Million Years of History by George Gaylord Simpson.

    "Any beginning in nature is arbitrary."

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