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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding and unputdownable. Have tissues to hand.
This is beautifully and flawlessly written account of a remarkable journey, the bond between man and beast, and gritty survival. 'We need to make a plan',is this extraordinary family's mantra. I could not put this book down and read it over 2 sittings. The only reason I stopped in the first session was because I had run out of tissues.

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Published 21 months ago by Ms. Wendy Whitmore

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding and unputdownable. Have tissues to hand., 19 Aug. 2013
By 
Ms. Wendy Whitmore (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
This is beautifully and flawlessly written account of a remarkable journey, the bond between man and beast, and gritty survival. 'We need to make a plan',is this extraordinary family's mantra. I could not put this book down and read it over 2 sittings. The only reason I stopped in the first session was because I had run out of tissues.

If you love horses, love Africa, love Zimbabwe, or simply enjoy a good story, well told, then this book is for you.

Be warned however, There are some dreadful accounts of cruelty which have however been sensitively handled by the author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story, 5 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful story about some incredible people and some extra special horses. Mandy and Pat's positivity and courage in the face of some awful circumstances is inspiring and beautifully retold in this fantastic book. I have never actually laughed out loud or cried whilst reading a book, but '104 horses' made me do both several times over. I am a 'horsey' person and am very interested in Africa but I genuinely believe that anyone can enjoy this book - it is very informative but pitched at the right level for all backgrounds. It is a very raw, honest account of some brutal events but please read this book, you won't regret it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life affirming novel - even for non-horsey types., 4 Sept. 2013
By 
C. Hawkes "Livefats" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
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I've never been a horsey person, so was a little sceptical when I started reading. However, doubts were quickly dispelled as I was carried away by Mandy Retzlaff's descriptions to her home in Zimbabwe. This immediately helped me to empathise with her pain on being forced to leave the home and life she and her family had created.

The insight into a personal experience of the sufferings of Zimbabwe at the hands of its political masters was a powerful one. But most of all, the determination of the Retzlaffs to salvage something from the wreckage of a country being asset-stripped was awe-inspiring. One Hundred and Four Horses will remain with me: a wonderful read and a wonderful true-life story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly Brilliant.., 28 Nov. 2013
By 
Beanie Luck (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
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I have recommended this book to all my friends and family and all the 100 people that are in one of my groups.

I have never in my life read a book that has affected me so deeply.

This book is based on a true story but i deliberately never read other peoples reviews on books, i much prefer to make up my own ind and too many people include spoilers which i despise.

Anyway, a family are ousted from their family farm in Zimbabwe by tyrant dictator Robert Mugabe and they set off on a journey to a new life amassing horses as they go.

They take in other peoples horses along the way, struggling not only to feed the horses but themselves.

At a terrible stage in the journey they have to make the heartbreaking decision to decide which horses they will continue to take with them and which ones they will leave to die.

I cannot post anymore of the story because you really should read it for yourself.

I sobbed, like a 2 year old, tears streaming down my face, chest racking sobs that i haven't experienced since the notebook, yes i am a sap.

This would make a remarkable film, im thinking Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, that's how i see it in my head anyway.

If Clint directs this, bot oh boy im thinking Oscar winning..

A truly remarkable book that will continue to make an impression on me my whole life..
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Hundred and Four Horses, 23 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
I know of Mandy and Pat - I had lived in Zimbabwe - from 2001 through to 2003 I sent a daily newsletter of media reports taken from the main news reports of the Farm Invasions, showing what what the world was being old of "Resettling Landless Blacks"...by stealing them from commercial farmers who made Zimbabwe the "breadbasket of Africa"! As houses, school and clinics were destroyed, farm-workers, both black and white were left destitute, homeless, helpless.
Now, with 40% of all farms in the hands of Mugabe's cronies, this heartbreaking, yet life-affirming account of one family's true grit emerges to show the world the evil of this man and his regime.
Heartbreaking, with laugh out loud moments, it is thought-provoking and full of love...and none of the bitterness you'd expect. It is full of hope, even when you wonder how someone could ever carry on...How would you deal with it if you were forced from your home, your friends, your life...saw pets massacred and friends threatened, hurt, left helpless? If you could do it with even a smidgen of the elan and selflessness (not to mention the sense of humour) of the Retzlaff clan...then you'd be a better person than I!
You don't have a love Africa or horses to be moved by this incredible true story. In my view it is a Hollywood Blockbuster begging to be made!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books I have read in a while, 21 Oct. 2014
This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is captivating from beginning to end and what becomes so inspiring is the passion with which Mandy and Pat continue to look after their horses when, frankly, there was virtually nothing more than goodwill to keep them going. Like ‘Call of the Litany Bird’ by Susan Gibbs, this is much more than a story of determination, passion and survival: It is a beautifully written book. The art of writing about something so challenging and dramatic (and it was pretty dramatic most of the time) is in knowing just how much to write and how much to leave out and in determining how and where to start each part of the story. Mandy has done this so well. I believe she would make a brilliant novelist and I would encourage her to write more. She has a great gift.
Mandy, please don’t let this be your only book. I wish you all (and your horses) all the success and happiness you deserve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal tale about loving horses and unloving times, 18 Oct. 2013
By 
Angus Jenkinson "angusjenkinson" (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was interested in this book as I grew up in Zimbabwe although I left before the troubles that are the main focus of this story. It's autobiographical and it gives a perspective, from the white farmer's point of view, of growing up in the country, coming-of-age and then the difficulties within the Mugabe regime. Land is an emotive issue in Africa, as in other places, and the giving of land to supporters is one of the methods by which a leader retains power. When that leader believes that he can remake the law that leads to a conflict between the established white farmers who own the land and run the commercially successful farms and the process of reclaiming the land and the farm for black owners, both the political elite and the black supporter group of Mugabe. That's the context for much of the story and we hear about the violence, terror and disastrous consequences for the Zimbabwean economy - I own a $100 trillion note, which not too surprisingly became worth very little when inflation reached 541,000,000,000% a year.

Well, that's a bigger story, and as I say it's the context for this autobiography which in many ways is a sweet tale of the love of horses. Indeed I think it's going to be most attractive to people who loved My Friend Flicka (Heritage Editions). It's also a portrait of a marriage and the family and of the survival of stresses and strains. So read it more as a personal tale than as a nuanced analysis.

I would give it three stars for my own enjoyment, four stars if you are the right reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling tale of survival and courage, 26 Dec. 2013
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
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This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers, but particularly those who enjoy adventurous biographies. Mandy Retzlaff has a fascinating tale to tell, of a forced exodus from her Zimbabwean farm with her family and of the incredible attempt to rescue the one hundred and four horses of the title - not just her own, but precious animals belonging to others.

The scene is carefully set - how South African Mandy and her (then Rhodesian) husband first met, married and started a family. Then it moves on to how they came to their Zimbabwean farm, Crofton, and of the deep love they had for it and their nation.
The new nation's independence and governance threatened their livelihood; eventually those threats were suddenly and dramatically realised.
Mandy is careful not to paint herself as a heroine, but she was; showing phenomenal courage against overwhelming dangers, in situations where a single wrong word or mistimed gesture could literally have proved fatal.

Those who love horses and/or Africa will get the most out of this book, but this really is an 'against the odds' tale for all. Mandy is a gifted and descriptive writer who tells a dramatic tale without over-dramatising, this is a realistic, very readable depiction of life-changing events. Recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly moving memoir, 17 Aug. 2013
By 
R. Hughes (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. It's an incredible true story of selfless endeavour which captures a horrific chapter of recent African history, which I knew very little about. The book follows the story of the Retzlaff's, white Zimbabwean farmers, who were forced off their land and found themselves caring for an ever increasing herd of horses. You don't need to have a love of horses to be moved by this story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life with horses in Zimbabwe, 1 Sept. 2013
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: One Hundred and Four Horses (Hardcover)
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In my last job, I met two expatriate white Zimbabweans. While I did not discuss the issues in their homeland extensively, they told me enough to cause me to realize that things were worse than is generally reported by the British media, whose coverage may be inhibited by fear of saying anything that might be seen as supporting the farmers who had so strongly opposed black majority rule.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to read this story of one white family in particular, along with their circle of friends and acquaintances, and the various situations they faced. I have no reason to believe that the author is telling anything other than the truth as she has seen it, especially given what I've heard and read elsewhere. Still, actually reading about it is something else.

Some families simply fled the country, emigrating mainly to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or England (where there is a significant Zimbabwean expatriate population in London and the home counties, including the two men that I met). The author's family stayed in Zimbabwe for as long as they could, dodging Mugabe's henchmen for as long as they could, but they eventually fled to Mozambique. While they were originally farmers in the general sense, once they realized that they couldn't do that, they focused on saving their horses, also taking over some of the abandoned horses left behind by emigrants. There were always far more of those than the family could accept; the rest were shot or left to run wild, along with the cattle and other livestock. There was a rescue service that helped household pets, but horses were not part of their service.

While it is difficult to read the story without having some sympathy for the white farming families, that sympathy is limited by the knowledge that they and / or their parents and grandparents refused to concede black majority rule, when there could have been a smoother transition and the likelihood of a more sensible black leader.

Whatever one thinks of the mess that is Zimbabwe, its politics and its history, this book presents a revealing perspective from the farming community's point of view.
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One Hundred and Four Horses
One Hundred and Four Horses by Mandy Retzlaff (Hardcover - 15 Aug. 2013)
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