Winner of the Whiting Writers’ Award
One evening late in his life, veteran sportswriter Mike Sullivan was asked by his son what he remembered best from his three decades in the press box. The answer came as a surprise. "I was at Secretariat's Derby, in '73. That was . . . just beauty, you know?"
John Jeremiah Sullivan didn't know, not really: the track had always been a place his father disappeared to once a year on business, a source of souvenir glasses and of inscrutable passions in his Kentucky relatives. So Sullivan decided to educate himself. He spent two years following horses across the country. He watched one season's juvenile crop prepare for the Triple Crown, and he tracked the animal's evolution in literature and art, from the ponies that appeared on the walls of European caves thirty thousand years ago, to the mounts that carried the Indo-European language to the edges of the Old World, to the finely tuned but fragile yearlings that are auctioned off for millions of dollars apiece every spring and fall.
The result is a witty and profound mediation on what Edwin Muir called our "long-lost archaic companionship" with the horse. Incorporating elements of memoir, reportage, and picture gallery, Blood Horses
is an unprecedented look at Equus Caballus
, and it introduces a new voice in American nonfiction, that of an insatiable observer in the traditions of Ian Frazier, John McPhee, and Guy Davenport.