A Best Book of 2015, The Wall Street Journal
The book horse-lovers have been waiting for!
Horses have a story to tell, one of resilience, sociability, and intelligence, and of partnership with human beings. In The Horse, the journalist and equestrienne Wendy Williams brings that story brilliantly to life.
Williams chronicles the 56-million-year journey of horses as she visits with experts around the world, exploring what our biological affinities and differences can tell us about the bond between horses and humans, and what our longtime companion might think and feel. Indeed, recent scientific breakthroughs regarding the social and cognitive capacities of the horse and its ability to adapt to changing ecosystems indicate that this animal is a major evolutionary triumph.
Williams charts the course that leads to our modern Equus-from the protohorse to the Dutch Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, and cow ponies of the twenty-first century. She observes magnificent ancient cave art in France and Spain that signals a deep respect and admiration for horses well before they were domesticated; visits the mountains of Wyoming with experts in equine behavior to understand the dynamics of free-roaming mustangs; witnesses the fluid gracefulness of the famous Lipizzans of Vienna; contemplates what life is like for the sure-footed, mustachioed Garrano horses who thrive on the rugged terrain of Galicia; meets a family devoted to rehabilitating abandoned mustangs on their New Hampshire farm; celebrates the Takhi horses of Mongolia; and more. She blends profound scientific insights with remarkable stories to create a unique biography of the horse as a sentient being with a fascinating past and a finely nuanced mind.
The Horse is a revealing account of the animal who has been at our side through the ages, befriending us and traveling with us over the mountains and across the plains. Enriched by Williams's own experience with horses, The Horse is a masterful work of narrative nonfiction that pays tribute to this treasure of the natural world.
Silver Winner, Nautilus Book Awards (Animals and Nature category)
Long-listed for the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award
Holiday Gifts List, Equus Magazine
Discover magazine's "What to Read in November"
"Love is the driver for Wendy Williams's new book, The Horse . . . [an] affectionate, thoroughgoing, good-hearted book."
―Jaimy Gordon, The New York Times Book Review
"Charming and deeply interesting . . . Ms. Williams does a marvelous job of exploring the nature of horses, from many different perspectives. She is spot-on in her explanations of scientific information, treading that thin line between accessibility and scientific accuracy. I have read many books and articles on horses, but this must surely rank among the very best for a general audience."
― Pat Shipman, The Wall Street Journal
"Whether you believe that you know horses intimately or only admire them from afar, you will find Wendy Williams's fascinating natural history The Horse to be illuminating. Williams is a charming tour guide through the history of the horse-human bond. This book will delight you and deepen your understanding of the ongoing love affair between humans and their equine companions."
― Elizabeth Letts, bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion
"A remarkable treasure chest of a book. Wendy Williams ropes together history, science, and fascinating personal experiences to give new insights on every page. You'll never look at a horse the same way again."
― Nicholas Evans, bestselling author of The Horse Whisperer
"Lifelong equestrian enthusiast Williams takes on the topic at full gallop, weaving scientific analysis with cultural and historical anecdotes in this lively, fascinating read."
"[A] fascinating account of the relationship between humans and horses. Not only will horse lovers find The Horse a great read, but so will those with just a passing interest in these animals."
― Chicago Tribune
"An informative and engaging account of an animal that’s both familiar and mysterious . . . [The Horse] provides an illuminating glimpse at what we know―and what we may someday learn."
― Megan McDonough, The Washington Post
"[E]ngaging, comprehensive . . . Wendy Williams combines a love of horses with a keen interest in natural history . . . an accessible read and a gift for horse lovers."
― Lucy Popescue, The Independent (UK)
"[The Horse] takes us on both an intellectual journey and an equine adventure."
― Fran Jurga, Equus
"A compelling journey into the evolutionary history of the horse we know and love today . . . It’s detailed but clear, and surprisingly fun in places as well."
― The Eloquent Equine
"An ambitious undertaking . . . Reading The Horse will no doubt cause you to look at horses (including your own) in a whole new way."
"A magnificent natural history of this magnificent animal. Wendy Williams pursues the wild and ancient creatures who put into relief the very particular horse-human relationship we have today. If you get a thrill when a horse thunders by, you must read this book."
― Alexandra Horowitz, bestselling author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
"For every equestrian, here finally is a book that explains in great detail the long journey that has given us the modern horse in all of its magnificent varieties. Wendy Williams's The Horse is full of love and firsthand experiences that make the book a most pleasurable and informative read."
― Frans de Waal, author of Peacemaking Among Primates and The Age of Empathy
"An enthusiastic history of and appreciation for all things horse . . . Anyone with a love of horses will treasure this book, which provides scholarly yet accessible insight into a beautifully constructed animal that has chosen to domesticate man, just as dogs have."
― Kirkus Reviews
"Williams's book educates, entertains, and enthralls; it's part scientific discovery, part social commentary, and part history lesson, while always focusing on the relationship between horses and humans."
― Publishers Weekly
"Wendy Williams has done her homework. She has roamed our world of horses-past, present, and future-revealing cognitive processes, emotions, and behaviors similar to those of humans. What a gift. Reading The Horse, I felt a kinship with horses and a deep yearning to bond with these marvelous creatures."
― John W. Pilley, emeritus professor of psychology at Wofford College and bestselling author of Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words
"Riveting and moving. A beautiful celebration of the deep evolutionary fellowship between horses and people."
― David George Haskell, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Forest Unseen and professor of biology at the University of the South
"I have never owned horses, but reading Wendy Williams's fine new book made me feel as if I've known them all my life. And that, of course, is her point-to explore not just the history of horses but the human fascination with them. She makes her case in clear, compelling prose, warmed throughout by her obvious fondness for the subject."
― Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers
"The Horse is a scientific ode to one of the most charismatic mammals on earth-it is an essential book and a loving exploration of our complicated relationship with the charming animal that we've variously hunted, tamed, and venerated. Readers could not ask for a better guide than Wendy Williams as she takes us to the badlands where mustangs still roam, the bones of their ancestors beneath their hooves."
― Brian Switek, author of My Beloved Brontosaurus and Written in Stone
"Williams details her conversations with various experts and her own visits to archaeological digs as she navigates the evolution of the horse, its development in a variety of landscapes, and its general adaptability."
Listen to Wendy Williams in conversation with Scott Simon, Weekend Edition, NPR here.