Friday, April 14, 2017

The Latest Books to Join My Collection - AKA Added to my TBR Pile

Although for the last few months I've been focused on reading Europe: Chained by History, it hasn't stopped me from buying more books. Some of them are books I've been looking forward to reading, others are simply books that caught my eye at the bookstore.

First on that list is:
The Perfect Horse - Elizabeth LettsThe Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission To Rescue The Priceless Stallions Kidnapped By The Nazis
Elizabeth Letts
Ballantine Books
Copyright Date: August 2016
978-0345544803

The amazon.com product description:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

Praise for The Perfect Horse

“Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”The Christian Science Monitor

“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”Kirkus ReviewsThe Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.”Culturess

The Perfect Horse is an enthralling and moving story that I could not put down. This is a riveting and unique perspective on World War II.”—Molly Guptill Manning, author of When Books Went to War

“Passionately told and dazzling in scope, The Perfect Horse charges headlong into an unforgettable tale of World War II, when good men were given a final mission—to save beloved horses—at an hour when no one wanted to die. In Elizabeth Letts, the saga of World War II’s white stallions has found its perfect guardian.”—Adam Makos, author of A Higher Call

“Elizabeth Letts’s beautiful prose, woven together with meticulous research, takes you for a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.”—Robin Hutton, author of Sgt. Reckless
I spotted this one at the bookstore last month and couldn't wait to get into it. One of the many things about The Perfect Horse that caught my eye was that it is by Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty Dollar Champion, which I read last year, but apparently didn't review.

Miracle of the White StallionsThe second thing that caught my eye was a memory of one of my favorite movies. One I haven't seen in a couple of decades either: Miracle of the White Stallions, which I think covers the same story - though without the details I'm finding. I think I'm going to have to get a copy of this again sooner or later and re-watch it.

Yes, I'm a sucker for horse stories and the stories of the Lippizan Stallions are some of my favorites - though I'm also very partial to Arabians. 

So far, I'm finding The Perfect Horse to be well written and very readable - not to mention that it's turning into quite the quick read. I'm already about a quarter of the way through, and I only started reading it today (Friday).

The second book I bought recently was another almost-impulse-buy. A biography of Terry Fox.
Terry Fox: His Story - Leslie ScrivenerTerry Fox: His Story (Revised)
Leslie Scrivener
McClelland and Stewart
Copyright Date: 2000
978-0771080197

The Amazon.com product description:
Terry Fox, the one-legged runner from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, made an indelible impression upon people across Canada and around the world. An outstanding athlete with a stubborn and competitive spirit, he lost his leg to cancer at 19, but said “nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.”

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland to begin the run across Canada that he named the Marathon of Hope. His ambition was to raise a million dollars for cancer research. It wasn’t easy. Initial support from communities varied from terrific to nothing at all. His prosthetic leg was painful to run on, and there were always traffic and extreme weather conditions to deal with. But, by the time he reached Ontario – a journey of more than 3,000 kilometres – word of his achievement had spread, and thousands cheered him and followed his progress. Terry’s spirits soared, and now he hoped to raise $22 million dollars – one dollar for every Canadian. He succeeded in this ambition, but the Marathon of Hope ended near Thunder Bay, Ontario on September 1, 1980. The cancer had spread to his lungs, and, after running 24 miles in one day, on the next he could run no further.

When cancer finally claimed his life in 1981, Canada mourned the loss of a hero, but the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope lives on. The Terry Fox Foundation raised more than $17 million in 1999, and support for the event nationally and around the world is growing.
I read a kids' biography of Terry Fox years and years ago and I've been saying for a while that I wanted to know more about him. The kick to actually find a book was that there is an exhibit in his honor opening at the museum soon - in fact it may already have opened this past week.

The final book I bought is one I've been waiting for for a while now, and it just came out a couple of days ago:
Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace) - Elizabeth MoonCold Welcome (Vatta's Peace)
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
Copyright Date: April 11, 2017
978-1101887318

The Amazon.com product description:
Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

Praise for Elizabeth Moon

Trading in Danger
“A mix of space opera, military science fiction and human drama, this is an exciting and often touching novel.”RT Book Reviews

Marque and Reprisal
“Excellent plotting and characters support the utterly realistic action sequences: swift, jolting, confusing, and merciless. It’s a corker!”Kirkus Reviews

Engaging the Enemy
“Moon has created a richly imagined universe of different cultures, replete with intriguing characters and the sense of unlimited possibility that characterizes the most appealing science fiction.”School Library Journal

Command Decision
“One of scifi’s best military space series . . . confirms Moon’s place with Lois McMaster Bujold and David Weber in the top tier of turn-of-the-millennium military SF writers.”—Syfy

Victory Conditions
“Rip-roaring action and intriguing science and tactics distinguish Nebula winner Moon’s fifth and final Vatta’s War installment. . . . A fine and fitting conclusion to Moon’s grand space opera tour de force.”Publishers Weekly
I'm most definitely looking forward to reading this one! Though I may need to do a re-read of the Vatta's War series first.
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