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Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  28 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)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  121 ratings  ·  28 reviews


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Mehrsa
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
...more
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 titl ...more
Willoyd
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
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.
J M
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent / Erudite
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.
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.
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.
Cecelia Conway
Interesting premise but difficult to read
Christen
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I made myself finish this book but it was much more academic than interesting for someone who loves horses, at least in my opinion.
Cynthia
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.
Ellen
Okay. This is the whitest, malest and possibly weirdest book I have read maybe ever. Three and a half stars from GoodReads peers? Well, I will just have to read your reviews.

It was a gift from my husband last Christmas (2019) because he knows I adore all things equine. Or, as Raulff might say, "hippological." He sat through two hours of rehearsal at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna for me, fastest two hours of my life, probably the slowest of his. The cover of the hardback is gorgeous, the he
...more
Melise
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My academic focus both as an undergrad and in graduate school was on cultural history as interpreted through literature, art, media and extant objects (clocks, pottery, textiles and structures). I was intrigued by the premise of this book, which was an examination of the horse’s changing role throughout human history. And indeed, that is what the book provided.

However, I only gave it two stars because it was so strangely written. When I was in third grade, I was taught how to write an academic
...more
Sophia Istari
Ein Buch, das ich schon länger unbedingt lesen wollte, dessen Inhalt meine Erwartungen jedoch nicht ansatzweise treffen konnte.
Tatsächlich scheint es dem Autor weniger daran gelegen die geschichtlichen Aspekte der Beziehung zwischen Pferd und Mensch und dem in Vergessenheit geratenen Wert, den die Vierbeiner einst für uns hatten, sei es auf dem Acker, im Krieg oder als simpler Zweck des schnelleren Fortbewegens, als vielmehr daran, den eigenen Intellekt in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Vermutlich
...more
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
Steve
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sprawling, mostly Eurocentric view of history through a unique lens. Raulff flits about through various loose themes, picking up odd facts and interesting asides while occasionally reminiscing about his own life.

When the book moves on to the horse's influence beyond the aesthetic into literature, the book becomes a bit more shaky, with an extended treatise on Nietzsche I feel no one could learn anything from. Raulff has a tendency to fixate for long stretches on literature interpreatations tha
...more
Kate
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
...more
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.
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.
Joseph
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A well researched and written book that bolts right out of the starting gate but, some how down the stretch loses its way to the post A lot of art and literature related research in here with a bit of economic and military research as well.
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.
Kate
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.
Stephanie
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful history book on the place of the horse in civilization :)
Donna
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the role of the horse through human history
Alasdair
Bit of a mishmash of interesting and less interesting chapters, but well translated and enjoyable to read for the most part.
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
Christiane
rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2019
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