Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

November 23, 2003|By Michael Pakenham

Horse People: Scenes from the Riding Life, by Michael Korda. HarperCollins. 384 pages. $25.95.

Michael Korda, the illustrious editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, the illustrious New York book house, is one of the last of a breed of American gentleman publishers. A legendary raconteur whose Charmed Lives and Country Matters charmed many readers and apparently mattered to them as well, has now produced a volume on his premier diversion -- horses. He indulges them -- and himself -- on his suburban New York farm and has long been known to ride them in Central Park. Here, he brings together a brisk but reflective set of yarns and commentaries on the fancy and the relationships -- strange to all save those involved -- between equine and human stock. His subjects range from wild plains horses to thoroughbreds, from men who do hard, grubby work with the animals to those who pursue foxes -- or imitation foxes -- on their backs. If you have spent your life, as Korda has, with the beasts, you'll relish this book. If the creatures frighten and befuddle you, you may not automatically find yourself in love, but you will understand the phenomenon better than you had imagined.

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