MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of Unbreakable by Richard Askwith

Unbreakable

The Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World's Most Dangerous Horse Race

by Richard Askwith

Unbreakable by Richard Askwith X
Unbreakable by Richard Askwith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2019, 432 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tara Mcnabb
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The courageous and heartbreaking story of a Czech countess who defied the Nazis in a legendary horse race.

Czechoslovakia, October 1937. Europe's youngest democracy is on its knees. Millions are mourning the death of the nation's founding father, the saintly Tomáš Masaryk. Across the border, the Third Reich is menacing – and plotting to invade.

In the countryside, vast crowds have gathered to watch the threatened nation's most prestigious sporting contest: the Grand Pardubice steeplechase. Notoriously dangerous, the race is considered the ultimate test of manhood and fighting spirit. The Nazis have sent their paramilitary elite―SS officers on a mission to crush the "subhuman Slavs." The local cavalry officers have no hope of stopping them.

But there is one other contestant: a countess riding a little golden mare…

The story of Lata Brandisová is by turns enigmatic and inspiring. Born into privilege, she spent much of her life in poverty. Modest and shy, she refused to accept the constraints society placed on her because of her gender. Instead, with quiet courage, she repeatedly achieved what others said was impossible and rose above scandal to became her nation's figurehead in its darkest hour. Then came retribution…

Unbreakable is a story of endurance and defiance in an age of prejudice, fear, sexism, class hatred, and nationalism. Filled with eccentric aristocrats, socialite spies, daredevil jockeys―and a race so brutal that some consider merely taking part in it a sign of insanity―Unbreakable brings to life a unique hero, and an unforgettable love affair between a woman and a horse.  

8 pages of B&W photographs

Excerpt
Unbreakable

For a small nation, the Czechs have an extraordinary gift for producing sporting champions of luminous greatness. Still more remarkable is their rulers' gift—especially in the twentieth century—for disowning them. Emil Zátopek, the runner; Věra Čáslavská, the gymnast; Olga Fikotová-Connolly, the discus thrower; Martina Navratilová, the tennis player; the near-invincible national men's ice-hockey team of 1947–9 ... All dazzled and conquered their chosen worlds, only to be denounced as traitors or enemies of the people. Some were punished; all were shunned. But none fell so far or for so long as Lata Brandisová, the steeplechase jockey, who displeased not one totalitarian regime but two—having already struggled through years of prejudice on account of her gender.

In her prime, between the world wars, Jan's great-aunt was fêted by statesmen and socialites, acclaimed by chanting crowds. Her ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In this well-researched biography, Richard Askwith takes readers on a journey into 1930s Czechoslovakia as they follow the life of Lata Brandisova, the only woman to ever win the infamous Grand Pardubice Steeplechase. To read the story of Brandisova's difficult life is to be inspired. Horse racing enthusiasts especially will appreciate the book's detailed account of track history...continued

Full Review Members Only (703 words).

(Reviewed by Tara Mcnabb).

Media Reviews

Literary Review (UK)
An astonishing achievement.

Publishers Weekly
Askwith rescues [Lata Brandisová's] remarkable, forgotten story through dogged detective work and lyrical prose. This is an intense roller coaster from start to finish.

Kirkus Reviews
Thanks to this intrepid author, Lata Brandisová re-enters the hall of champions to inspire those who come after her.

Booklist (starred review)
A significant contribution to international sports and steeplechase history, this is a moving, well-told account of a courageous heroine devoted to God, family, country, and her horses.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Hitler's Plan to Create a 'Super Horse'

LipizzanIt's well known that Hitler obsessed over the purity of the so-called Aryan 'master race,' but many might be surprised to learn that his interest in eugenics extended to horses as well. He desperately wanted to selectively breed a line of horses that were unparalleled in strength and purity of bloodline. With snow-white coats they would be a symbol of Aryan power, and they would also be at home on the battlefield. During World War II, in order to fulfill their leader's vision, Nazis stole priceless horses from the countries they invaded, and transported the horses to secluded stud farms in the German countryside.

Hitler's obsession with horses can be traced back to the years following World War I, when the country's equine population ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Unbreakable, try these:

  • The Light of Days jacket

    The Light of Days

    by Judy Batalion

    Published 2021

    About this book

    One of the most important stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture: a spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters - a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full, until now.

  • In Byron's Wake jacket

    In Byron's Wake

    by Miranda Seymour

    Published 2020

    About this book

    A masterful portrait of two remarkable women, revealing how two turbulent lives were always haunted by the dangerously enchanting, quicksilver spirit of that extraordinary father whom Ada never knew: Lord Byron.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for an Echo
    Waiting for an Echo
    by Christine Montross
    Dr. Christine Montross had been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly a decade when she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Color of Air
    The Color of Air
    by Gail Tsukiyama
    Daniel was raised in Hilo, Hawaii by Japanese immigrant parents. Having traveled to the U.S. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    He Started It
    by Samantha Downing

    A new thriller from the twisted mind behind the mega hit My Lovely Wife.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.