Unbreakable: The Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse Race

Richard Askwith. Pegasus, $27.95. (432p) ISBN 978-1-64313-210-5
British sports journalist Askwith (Feet in the Clouds) traces the inspiring, heartbreaking story of Czech countess Lata Brandisová (1895–1981) in this rousing account. Born in 1895 into privilege on a family estate in what is now the Czech Republic, the shy, modest Brandisova grew into an expert horse rider as the Habsburg empire collapsed and Nazism spread throughout Europe. She battled chauvinism to become the first woman to participate in the grueling four-mile steeplechase horse race, the Grand Pardubice, displaying defiance and moral courage as she swept herself and her grieving country to victory over the Third Reich in 1937. Driven by pride as much as fearlessness, Brandisová demonstrated an unconquerable spirit, “the same brave, loyal spirit that animates the great heart of a horse.” Once WWII started, however, she endured repressive Nazi and Communist regimes that confiscated the family lands. In 1948, Brandisová moved with her two sisters to a tiny, tumbledown cottage, where she suffered hunger, poverty, and obscurity until her death. Askwith rescues her remarkable, forgotten story through dogged detective work and lyrical prose. This is an intense roller coaster from start to finish. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/14/2019
Release date: 09/03/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-1-78729-024-2
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