Author(s): Susanna Forrest
Fifty-six million years ago, the earliest equid walked the earth-and beginning with the first-known horse-keepers of the Copper Age, the horse has played an integral part in human history. Combining fascinating anthropological detail and incisive personal anecdotes, Susanna Forrest draws from an immense range of archival documents as well as literature and art to illustrate how our evolution has coincided with that of horses.In paintings and poems (such as Byron's famous "Mazeppa"), in theater and classical music (including works by Liszt and Tchaikovsky), representations of the horse have changed over centuries, portraying the crucial impact that we've had on each other. Forrest deftly synthesizes this material with her own experience in the field, traveling the globe to give us a diverse, comprehensive look at the horse in our lives today: from Mongolia where she observes the endangered takhi, to a show-horse performance at the Palace of Versailles; from a polo club in Beijing to Arlington, Virginia, where veterans with PTSD are rehabilitated through interaction with horses.With passion and singular insight, Forrest investigates the complexities of human and horse coexistence, illuminating the multifaceted ways our cultures were shaped by this powerful creature.
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
Susanna Forrest lives in Berlin where she works as a writer and editor. She grew up in Norwich and later studied social anthropology at Cambridge. In 2016, she won the Sophie Coe Prize, which is awarded for writing on food history.