Farewell to the Horse
'A beautiful and thoughtful exploration of the role of the horse in creating our world...Farewell to the Horse is a grown-up, but also lyrical and creative, history book, and I very much enjoyed it.' James Rebanks The relationship between horses and humans is an ancient, profound and complex one. For millennia horses provided the strength and speed that humans lacked. How we travelled, farmed and fought was dictated by the needs of this extraordinary animal. And then, suddenly, in the 20th century the links were broken and the millions of horses that shared our existence almost vanished, eking out a marginal existence on race-tracks and pony clubs. Farewell to the Horse is an engaging, brilliantly written and moving discussion of what horses once meant to us. Cities, farmland, entire industries were once shaped as much by the needs of horses as humans. The intervention of horses was fundamental in countless historical events. They were sculpted, painted, cherished, admired; they were thrashed, abused and exposed to terrible danger. From the Roman Empire to the Napoleonic Empire every world-conqueror needed to be shown on a horse. Tolstoy once reckoned that he had cumulatively spent some nine years of his life on horseback. Ulrich Raulff's book, a bestseller in Germany, is a superb monument to the endlessly various creature who has so often shared and shaped our fate.
A beautiful and thoughtful exploration of the role of the horse in creating our world. It is shocking how recently we relied upon horses, and as this tale is told, shocking how fast we have moved away from our dependant working relationship with them. This fine history book tells the story of that relationship in its final century, and how horses still run through our culture in countless ways, distant echoes of the pact we long had with them. Farewell to the Horse is a grown-up, but also lyrical and creative, history book, and I very much enjoyed it. Some of the scenes in it will stay with me for a long time to come James Rebanks Intellectual and passionate ... Raulff's material is gloriously diverse ... [a] refined and ambitious book The Sunday Times This unusual book is a series of airy, winging essays that alight briefly on world history, art, literary criticism and historiography before leaping on to make new, often surprising connections. [...] This is not the Pony Club Manual or a trot through the more familiar sights of equestrian art history; it's Kafka, Aby Warburg, Tolstoy, psychoanalytic theory, Nietzsche and bleak monochrome photos in the style of Sebald. This epic enterprise is relieved by Raulff's spare, vivid style and deep learning. He is as comfortable analysing the etymology of Pferd and Ross as he is discussing the Chicago School, Clint Eastwood and the Amazons, and he rarely loses his audience. -- Susannah Forrest Literary Review As you pick up the reins of this books - trying to get a sense of what sort of ride it is to be - it becomes evident within three paragraphs that you have never read a book like it. [...] Raulff's ability to corral scattered equestrians in art, letters and life makes scintillating reading and his writerly pace is exhilarating - especially when he takes flight from his own starting gates -- Kate Kellaway Observer Covers ground as rapidly and thrillingly as a Cossack horseman. It lays bare a dizzying network of connections and repeatedly offers unfamiliar approached to old themes Literary Review A brilliant, entertaining tour-de-force Die Zeit Amazing insights sweep through the book - an entrancing history packed with stories Neue Zurcher Zeitung Great cultural history Der Tagesspiegel Ulrich Raulff is a wonderful storyteller Sudwestrundfunk A fabulous book -- Uli Hufen An exciting and entertaining ride through various landscapes -- Harry Nutt Sex, violence and 6,000 years of horse power... an elegy to the way horses have galloped through our culture' -- Melanie Reid The Times
Ulrich Raulff is Director of the German Literature Archive in Marbach am Neckar. Previously, he was Literary Editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Managing Editor of the Suddeutsche Zeitung. He has written books on Marc Bloch and Aby Warburg and won both the the Anna Kruger Prize and the Ernst Robert Curtius Prize for Essay Writing. His book on the influence of the German poet Stefan George was awarded the 2010 Leipzig Book Fair Prize.