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This will have you in tears!
on 6 October 2011
A truly different angle of a war, seen from the angle of a horse. A horse taken from a boy that loves him and not just getting thrown into the midst of strangers, but also straight in to a war. From calm, rural England to a noisy, dirty, cold France where he isn't always fed. The Captain that is supposed to look after him, gets shot out of the saddle in the first battle when it stands clear, that Cavalry and horses has no place in this new kind of warfare with machine guns, trenches and later on, tanks.
Joey, the war horse, ends up as prisoner of war together with his friend Topthorn. They draw ambulances and get looked after at night by a French farmer and his grand-daughter. The soldiers do their best in caring for them too even though they have never taken care of horses before. But soon the horses are passed on to a Gunnery unit and there is no food for them, no shelter and no care. They are dispensable which soon means the death for many of them including Topthorn. Joey is lucky and flees from the front ending up in a British Veterinary unit where he can heal from wounds and wait out the war.
The book is very touching. I cried when Joey is re-united with the young farm-boy that he grew up with and once again at the end of the book. Few books do that to me. And it doesn't mean that the book had an unhappy ending!
The book makes you think about how war is started by men and fought by them but poor defenseless animals can't choose to join up themselves. Still they have been used in both WWs and while they have not understood what was going on, they have had to feel fear and have had to die painful deaths. They have been treated very poorly by some since not everyone KNOWS how to look after animals even though in charge of them, and people have always been considered more important when food and shelter are scarce. The book in other words make you think!