Saturday, March 12, 2016

Farley, Terri. Wild At Heart.

Farley, Terri.  Wild At Heart.  Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Brace  2015  196p  $19.99  ISBN 978-0-544-39294-6 ms/hs  Nonfiction    E-BN     

Terri Farley has always loved horses.  In this brilliant study of wild horses in North America, she examines the history of this species as well as the history of their treatment by humans.  She begins with the story of Velma Johnston, who fought for the rights of wild horses in the post-World War II era and succeeded in getting legislation passed by Congress to protect them.  She then discusses the prehistoric origins of the species, the disappearance of wild horses from the landscape, and their more modern return to the North American continent.  The photographic illustrations by Melissa Farlow are absolutely breathtaking.  The second half of the book concerns the current sorry state of wild horses, who are regularly rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management and destroyed.  With unsparing detail, she chronicles the cruelty visited upon these noble beasts and the futility of it all.  But then she finishes with the efforts of various individuals and groups, including many young people, to save the wild horses and reverse the terrible practices that are now in place.  Thus her book ends on a note of hope despite the grim reality.  She includes an extensive bibliography, chapter notes, a glossary and a good index.
Originally I was going to recommend this book for all ages, but upon closer examination I recommend it for older teens because of the scenes of cruelty toward the animals that the author decries.
 These scenes may be a bit rough for younger children and those in their early teens.

Summary: In this excellent book, author Farley discusses wild horses in the U.S. and their ongoing threats from humans through history.  The illustrations and wealth of information make this book a must-have for public and school collections.     

Wild horses                                                 --Carol Kennedy

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