Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations

J. Edward Chamberlin, Author BlueBridge $24.95 (282p) ISBN 978-0-9742405-9-6
Historian Chamberlin's desire to convince readers that horses are the most significant element in uniting people-""more than paper and printing, more than the telephone and the television""-is hobbled by grandiose claims, overwrought prose and personified horses. The book opens with a brief overview of the evolutionary history of horses from the perspective of a 1930s-era horse named Big Bird who learned of the Bering-Strait crossing from her ancestors and, wearing a bell around her neck, ""felt like a milk cow."" Regaining readers' trust, then, is not an easy task. Although the book piles on historical equine episodes, it is burdened by statements such as, ""Realizing that horses have that space...on which a piece of bone or metal could rest was one of humanity's great discoveries."" Instead of arguing for the importance of horses to human history, Chamberlin stakes his book on shakier terrain and fills it with inane vagaries (""Horses are both a walk in the storm and a shelter from it, and they take us closer to the world by taking us further away""). The result may repel even horse-loving readers, though those of the patient variety will find a feedsack's worth of horse trivia in these pages.
Reviewed on: 01/30/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
Ebook - 978-0-307-36868-3
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-676-97869-8
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-1-933346-13-7
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-676-97868-1
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