Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship” as Want to Read:
Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  20 reviews
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 t ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by Allen Lane (first published October 2015)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Farewell to the Horse, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Farewell to the Horse

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  20 reviews

Sort order
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book seems like it was a LOT of fun to write. It feels much like a conversation with a really smart and interesting person who knows everything there is to know about horses as they relate to literature and world events and man. And during this long and random conversation, there are points where you sit up and listen because you have never thought about things that way and certainly never thought to consider human history through the horse.

But just because it was fun and interesting to wr
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent / Erudite
Kris McCracken
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not a horsey chap, but there is enough here to keep a history buff's attention. It certainly makes a strong case for the centrality of the horse in the growth of societies, and the impact of that growth on our world today.

Well worth a look.
Stephen Howell
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
At points, very informative, interesting and compelling. But elsewhere, it was dull and laborious. A mixed bag not consistent but still worth the effort, although I did skim read through some parts.
Mary Monro
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've given up on this book. It is well written but the basic premise is wrong. Sure, horses no longer work but, as the author acknowledges, their numbers have increased massively in the last 4 decades as they have found a new role in the sport & leisure world. This is similar to the shipping story - overtaken as a means of transporting people and freight, ship passengers have increased from half a million in the 70s to 25 million now as the cruise market has taken off. I don't see any books ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
So disappointing. This started really well and promised much with some fascinating insight into the importance of the horse and its impact on the long nineteenth century world. However, it soon started its descent into an unstructured and verbose mess of largely unrelated mini-essays, much of which didn't even relate to the defined time span. It became harder and harder to keep reading as the book became more and more self-indulgent, until eventually I felt almost driven to give up. Utterly frus ...more
Cecelia Conway
Interesting premise but difficult to read
Joan Colby
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Translated from the German, Raulff’s book is an exhaustive and intellectually brilliant study of the horse’s impact on human industry, agriculture, war, art, society and pleasure. The dependence on the horse for transportation, farming, battle, racing, hunting and so on was a lengthy one that gave way in many respects to the industrial revolution and development of the machine. Numerous occupations were associated with the horse: veterinarian, farrier, equine artist, trainer, jockey, cavalryman, ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cultural history intrigued me. It is in places well written, in places repetitive, in places a vivid expression of the writer's opinions. It is, after all, a cultural study, and any one of us has a set of opinions about our and others' (present and past) cultures. It does hold onto the horse as the central idea around which he explores humans and how we deal with our surroundings and our others.

He introduces, frequently throughout this book, very interesting ways of looking at concepts such
Jasmin Brooks
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
A well-researched and educational read. I enjoyed the breadth of knowledge found in the pages. Unfortunately, the execution of this great history makes it all fall short. Often scattered, often repetitive, and sometimes downright dull with ramblings.
I toyed with giving this book four stars. It really did contain a good deal of captivating stories and histories about the horse. But since I had to force myself to keep reading so often throughout, I couldn’t justify more than three.
Doctor Science
Very much a *cultural* history, really a collection of horse-related facts and thoughts centering on Europe and North America in the "Long Nineteenth Century" (1792-1914). "Farewell" because after that horses became less and less important as historical and economic actors--though they were still much more crucial on the Eastern Front in WW2 as draft animals than I had realized.

It gave me a lot to think about, but his Eurocentrism makes the history only a starting point.
Karla Kuhn
The book was interesting and a well documented history of the horse. I wanted to like it more, but parts just seemed to ramble and had way too many quotes. It sometimes had the feel of a college paper that needed to make word count. But if you are interested on the impact that the horse has had on culture and history, this is a pretty decent book. So depending on what you are looking for, and your background with horses, you may enjoy it, or you may not.
Loren Shultz
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Writing was far too sophisticated for my liking. Too many obscure (to me) phrases from obscure (to me) persons, all in foreign languages. Nor have I developed an appreciation for in-depth analysis of paintings and photographs by which history can be inferred. Hopefully, for the author, others are far more worldly than I.
Stacy Blomquist
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Raulff's book is filled with tons of facts about horses. I'd never thought about the economy that grew up around supplying cities with oats and hay for their horses. The huge numbers of horses lost during WWI and WWII is also addressed. But despite the interesting details, they are lost in such a dry, dry, dry text.
Kelly Roberson
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meditative and incredibly wide ranging but not narrative in a traditional sense. A hard read to digest.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poetic, associative and deeply informative. I checked it out of the library and am considering buying a copy. Rauff did get the color of Tom Mix's horse wrong though -- Tony was a bay.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I could not stay awake through this book. I opened it with great anticipation and really loved the idea of the book but it did not hold my attention. I was not able to finish it.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the role of the horse through human history
Naomi Sunshine
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
There's some really interesting material in here but it's a bit of a slog!
Viktoria Anna
rated it it was ok
Mar 21, 2017
Peter Caron
rated it really liked it
May 09, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2019
rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2018
rated it liked it
Jan 21, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jun 30, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2018
rated it liked it
May 01, 2018
Isca Silurum
rated it liked it
Jun 12, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2017
rated it liked it
May 08, 2018
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History
  • Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
  • The Bitter Taste of Victory: Life, Love, and Art in the Ruins of the Reich
  • The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century
  • London Fog: The Biography
  • The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age
  • Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
  • Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750
  • Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond
  • Barbarian in the Garden
  • The Age of the Cathedrals: Art and Society, 980-1420
  • The Paper Trail: An Unexpected History of the World's Greatest Invention
  • The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine--Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary
  • Paris Noir: African-Americans in the City of Light
  • From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307
  • Meaning in the Visual Arts
  • The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the End of Their Lives
  • Tamed: Ten Species That Changed Our World