Academic journal article Military Review

War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider

Academic journal article Military Review

War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider

Article excerpt

WAR HORSE: A History of the Military Horse and Rider, Louis DiMarco, Westholme Publishing, Yardley, PA, 432 pages, $29.95.

Louis DiMarco's War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider is a fascinating one-of-a-kind book that looks at military history through the evolving science of horse riding, training, and breeding. Its unique approach offers a fresh interpretation of classic military history from the ancients through operations in World War II.

War Horse is a remarkable book on many levels, beginning with the ancient Egyptians' use of the chariot. DiMarco describes how the desire for increased mobility and economy drove the creation of the warrior on horseback and traces the evolution of horse breeds, horsemanship, tack, the evolution of cavalry warfare, and the contributions of cavalry to warfare: its tactics, operational art, and even grand strategies through the centuries. These developments produced operational and tactical mobility, shock, and firepower. DiMarco illustrates through battle and campaign narratives how the great captains skillfully translated an understanding of mounted forces into battlefield success. He also describes how a lack of appreciation for horses and mounted forces could lead to failure.

The book's ability to penetrate to a level of significant detail, overturn repeated myths, summarize succinctly, and back up its judgments and conclusions is significant. When I began teaching at SAMS I wanted a book like War Horse to educate the officer corps on the constant and turbulent evolution of operational art. …

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