book review, nonfiction

Warrior by Jack Seely

The story of one of the last cavalry horses to be used in war, told by the man who went to war with him.

First published in 1934, this books tells the incredible true story of a cavalry horse in the First World War.

Written by the man who bred, trained and went to war with Warrior, this book shows the remarkable bond between man and horse as the thoroughbred travels far from his place of birth on the Isle of Wight to the battlegrounds in France.

What I liked best about this book was the relationship between the author and Warrior. A spirited animal who was hard to break using traditional methods, Seely recognized the horse’s intelligence and respected him for it.

After a rather hair raising ride across the Isle of Wight, Warrior and the author establish a form of communication that is the solid foundation of their relationship. I firmly believe that because of this mutual respect, and the fact that Seely listened to his horse not just commanded him, Warrior was able to thrive in the noisy, bloody and death filled arena of the First World War.

I love learning about how animals help soldiers on the battlefield, and it is heartening to read Seely’s accounts of how much the men loved and looked up to Warrior. They took great comfort in the horse, and were often guided by his perseverance in horrible conditions to continue.

There are some wonderful tales of heroism and miraculous survival in this short book, made all the more interesting because the author was actually there and experienced the events first hand. A lot of animal war stories in books are recounted third or fourth hand, and it is refreshing to read the story written by the man who went through it all too.

I’m afraid I’ve a slight beef with the author, however (although I’m sure he is not at all concerned as he has long departed to the next life). He is quite vocal on how horses are the superior animals to dogs, and that their devotion is pure while dogs base their loyalties on whoever has the best treats.

Now, I love horses very much. I’ve been a life long fan of them and I am constantly overwhelmed by their kindness and patience as they allow weak boned people, who they could easily bite and crush, beat them and shove them around. I agree with the author that they are special creatures, but I disagree with his assessment of dogs, and I don’t think canines need to be put down in order to exalt equines.

I award Warrior

Warrior is available for $9.13 ebook and $9.64 print book on Amazon.

15 thoughts on “Warrior by Jack Seely”

  1. I had this on my TBR then took it off because I was afraid it’d be too dry. Sounds like it’s a good read after all. I did read a nonfiction for nonfiction November! It was Pretty Evil New England by Sue Coletta about female serial killers in the early days of the United States.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not too dry at all. It’s an interesting quick read. Maybe skip the introduction by Jack’s descendant though!
      Ooh, that sounds fascinating! Female serial killers are such an interesting breed. I didn’t know they went back that far.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know nothing about horses and I have only seen a few from up close at tourist places where rides are offered. From your review, I’ve learned that they are sensitive, intelligent, and responsive creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love horses as well and I’ve never really liked the idea of them being in the battlefield. Even when I watch films (such as LOTR) I wince when the horses fall in battle. Anyway, sounds like an interesting book and and I agree horses (and dogs!) are intelligent beings, even if I’ve come across a few horses which weren’t amongst the sharpest knives in the drawer 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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