Sold to a drunken farmer, Joey, a beautiful red-bay foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, finds a friend in the farmer's son, Albert. His father brutally demands Joey work or be sold, so Albert gently trains him to pull the plough. But it's not enough. When war breaks out, Albert's father, needy for money for his struggling farm, sells Joey ...
Sold to a drunken farmer, Joey, a beautiful red-bay foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, finds a friend in the farmer's son, Albert. His father brutally demands Joey work or be sold, so Albert gently trains him to pull the plough. But it's not enough. When war breaks out, Albert's father, needy for money for his struggling farm, sells Joey to the army, where he, like the soldiers around him, must try to cope with the horrors of the First World War. Joey and another thoroughbred horse, Topthorn, lead in a terrible cavalry charge towards the machine guns of the enemy's lines. Joey is captured by the Germans and for while he is lovingly cared for by Emilie, a young French girl and her grandfather. But he and Topthorn must pull a heavy gun, battling through the mud until Topthorn dies of exhaustion. Joey wanders in no man's land, back towards the British trench, but despite a joyful reunion with Albert, Joey is not out of danger. First tetanus threatens his life, and even then Emilie's grandfather has to bid to save him from the butcher. The old man promised his granddaughter when she died he would find the horse she loved and buy him, but recognising Albert's love for Joey, he sells Joey back to Albert on condition he will love for him all his life - for the princely sum of one English penny.
War Horse just recently became a favorite book of mine. It is a story that connects generations of readers together. The simple writing style about the war is beautifully done.
The story is told from the point of view of Joey, a horse who grows up on the farm with his favorite boy, Albert, living each day peacefully as it breezes by. Later, Joey is forced to perform the grueling and crippling work of a war horse. In some ways, this book could be compared to Black Beauty, also told through the eyes of a horse. But this story focuses on terrible war, and the predicaments that no human or animal should ever have to endure. Yes, there is much bloodshed and conflict in the book, but it is still fit to be a good children's story, especially for young adventurous readers.
Ah! I do believe I've read the first page at least half a dozen times. My favorite sentences from the first page are quoted below:
"My earliest memories are a confusion of hilly fields and dark, damp stables, and rats that scampered along the beams above my head." .... "I was not yet six months old, a gangling, leggy colt who had never been farther than a few feet from his mother."
Horses were an important deciding factor of who would win the battles during World War I. Without horses, the soldiers couldn't move machinery, gather the dead, or charge the enemy. Horses were a must-have, no matter which side of the battle you were on. That is why Joey was such an important horse.
"No horse, no guns. No horse, no ammunition. No horse, no cavalry. No horse, no ambulances. No horse, no water for the troops at the front."
This is a very enjoyable book! I think I may have to read it again someday.
Jul 5, 2012
this was a very good story and I enjoyed every minute of it. hard to put down
Mar 15, 2012
I enjoyed this book (had not seen the movie) and was a little afraid it was going to be very sad. However since it is written for young persons - though I still found it a good read- it is not overly sentimental and gives a good account of the life of the horse and some of the tribulations of war.
Mary Russell D
Mar 8, 2012
A very powerful book, heart wrenching but full of a great love of the War Horse
Aug 18, 2011
Wonderful book - a real joy. Cannot wait for the film.
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