Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And they kept Dancing!

Because I have a Kindle, I often order a book that I would not otherwise have thought about, looked for, or even been aware of. One of these is Operation Cowboy by Stephan Talty. Operation Cowboy was the name given to a secret American mission at the end of World War II to rescue the amazing Lipizzaner Dancing Stallions from behind German lines.

The book is short, very factual and at the same time tells of the danger faced by an American who loved horses and a German veterinarian whose job it had been to take care of these horses as they were gathered from all over Austria. It was Hitler’s plan to do the same with them as with humans: create one race of white warrior horses spread across his Aryan empire. 

The war was almost ended and as the starving Russian troops advanced slaughtering everything in their path, one German vet decided he had to do his best, even risking his own life, to save the horses. At the same time, an American officer who loved horses decided the same thing and fate and good timing brought them together. It is a story worth telling. 

And several years after the war, it was told ~ by an Austrian Count who embellished his part in it and made it a fantastic adventure. The American officer said, No, that’s not the way it happened. When Disney Studios heard both stories, they went with the fantastic adventure instead of the mud-clogged, frightened GIs determined to move the beautiful herd to safety. 

In what I consider delightful poetic justice, the Disney film was a flop. I suggest you read this simple, factual tale of those GIs and fill in one more hole in your knowledge of the ordinary heroes of World War II.

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