Brother Mendels Perfect Horse

Translated by Sam Garrett
Harvill Secker

'A most charming book' The Times; ‘Westerman's unique process of hybridisation, his mix of travel writing and history, proves a winner…enquiring and thoughtful.’ Independent; His tales have the subterfuge and tension of a thriller.’ Sunday Telegraph

'When you touch a Lippizaner,' Frank Westerman was told as a child, 'you are touching history.' In Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse he explores the history of these unique creatures, an extraordinary troop of pedigree horses first bred as personal mounts for the Emperor of Austria-Hungary. Following the bloodlines of the studbook, he reconstructs the story of four generations of imperial steeds as they survive the fall of the Habsburg Empire, two world wars and the insane breeding experiments conducted under Hitler, Stalin and Ceausescu. Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse, a unique and engrossing fusion of history and travel writing, is a modern fable in which the pureblood horse ends up revealing man's own shortcomings.


The filming for a documentary to be shown on television and in cinemas, based on 'Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse' is scheduled to start in November 2013. Producer: Pieter van Huystee Film & TV. Director: Hans Fels.

Awards for 'Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse'


Chosen by the British Library: one of eight titles nominated for the European Literature Night 2013 in London.

Translated into ten languages

'Brother Mendel's Perfect Horse' has been or will be translated into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Japanese, Croatian and Slovenian.