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.
"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
"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