Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse
Man and beast in an age of human warfare
Europe's twentieth-century history told through the incredible story of a horse: the Lipizzaner.
' "When you touch a Lipizzaner, you're touching history," Westerman was once told. His elegant book offers fascinating proof' Financial Times
Frank Westerman explores the history of Lipizzaners, an extraordinary troop of pedigree horses bred as personal mounts for the Emperor of Austria-Hungary. Following the bloodlines of the stud book, he reconstructs the story of four generations of imperial steed as they survive the fall of the Habsburg Empire, two world wars and the insane breeding experiments conducted under Hitler, Stalin and Ceausescu.
But what begins as a fairytale becomes a chronicle of the quest for racial purity. Carrying the reader across Europe, from imperial stables and stud farms to the controversial gene labs of today, Westerman asks, if animal breeders are so good at genetic engineering, why do attempts to perfect the human strain always end in tragedy?
Praise for Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse
"When you touch a Lipizzaner, you’re touching history,” Westerman was once told. His elegant book offers fascinating proofCarl Wilkinson, Financial Times
Westerman's own unique process of hybridisation, his mix of travel writing and history, yet again proves a winner… enquiring and thoughtfulLucy Scholes, Independent
A masterpieceDe Standaard
A most charming bookAllan Mallinson, The Times
A winner...enquiring and thoughtfulIndependent
Westerman’s account of the Lipizzaners’ remarkable survival makes stirring reading. His tales of research in secret archives and encounters with wartime veterans who helped with Operation Cowboy have the subterfuge and tension of a thrillerJane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
FascinatingCaroline Moorehead, Literary Review
Westerman offers a reflective account of man’s obsession with the prized Lipizzaner horseSunday Telegraph
Westerman’s tale, part historical journey, part travel tome, takes the reader across Europe to explore every avenue of the Lipizzaner’s eclectic historyGood Book Guide