This weekend the Amazon Books Editors will be reading up on: The Allies' mission to thwart horse-rustling Nazis; a budding cross-generational (and completely imaginary) rivalry between two "egghead" giants of nonfiction; a disastrous armed robbery that capped off the 1970s' run of epic bad-vibes; a romantic vacation read, complete with cupcakes and man-buns (the hairstyle, people); and a bit of self-reckoning for the device age.
Elizabeth Letts is one of those rare writers who can deftly flex her fiction and nonfiction muscles. This month she released Finding Dorothy, a biographical novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and the famous film that followed), but this weekend I’m going to check out something from her backlist: The Perfect Horse. Many of us have heard the heroic story of the “Monuments Men”—Allied troops tasked with retrieving iconic artworks stolen by the Nazis during WWII. In The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts sheds light on another of Hitler’s infamous heists—that of prized stallions from Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, and other parts of Europe, with the aim of employing eugenics to breed the consummate war horse (of course, of course). The harrowing mission to save these magnificent creatures, not just from the clutches of the Nazis, but the advancing—and very hungry—Russian army, was approved by General George S. Patton, evidently no slouch on the polo field. But consent came with a worrying caveat: if things went south, the ragtag band of rescuers were on their own. So why, in the midst of so much human suffering, did these men willingly risk their lives in this equine endeavor? Letts will let me know. —Erin Kodicek
We haven't heard from Jared Diamond in several years. I have this pet theory that he has been watching Yuval Noah Harari's rise and thinking he'd better get back into the book publishing game before he's eclipsed by the new, best-selling young buck. That theory is completely made up in my own head. It's only conjecture and there's no proof to any of it. But it's fun for me to imagine egghead writers in Kardashian-like situations. It makes them seem more human—for what's more human than a Kardashian? —Chris Schluep
[Editor's note: This was written just before Chris left for vacation]
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