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The ride of her life : the true story of a woman, her horse, and their last-chance journey across America / Elizabeth Letts.

Letts, Elizabeth, (author.).

Available copies

  • 0 of 2 copies available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 0 of 2 copies available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

7 current holds with 2 total copies.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Ada Public Library 921 WIL (Text) 33500013407713 New On holds shelf -
LARL Cataloging LARL88693 (Text) LARL88693 New On order -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780525619321
  • ISBN: 0525619321
  • Physical Description: 272 p.
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2021]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary, etc.:
"The incredible true story of a woman who rode her horse across America in the 1950s, fulfilling her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Horse and The Eighty-Dollar Champion. In 1954, Annie Wilkins, a sixty-three-year-old farmer from Maine, embarked on an impossible journey. She had no relatives left, she'd lost her family farm to back taxes, and her doctor had just given her two years to live--but only if she "lived restfully." He offered her a spot in the county's charity home. Instead, she decided she wanted to see the Pacific Ocean just once before she died. She bought a cast-off brown gelding named Tarzan, donned men's dungarees, loaded up her horse, and headed out from Maine in mid-November, hoping to beat the snow. She had no map, no GPS, no phone. But she had her ex-racehorse, her faithful mutt, and her own unfailing belief that Americans would treat a stranger with kindness. Between 1954 and 1956, Annie, Tarzan, and her dog, Depeche Toi, journeyed more than 4,000 miles, through America's big cities and small towns, meeting ordinary people and celebrities--from Andrew Wyeth (who sketched Tarzan) to Art Linkletter and Groucho Marx. She received many offers--a permanent home at a riding stable in New Jersey, a job at a gas station in rural Kentucky, even a marriage proposal from a Wyoming rancher who loved animals as much as she did. As Annie trudged through blizzards, forded rivers, climbed mountains, and clung to the narrow shoulder as cars whipped by her at terrifying speeds, she captured the imagination of an apprehensive Cold War America. At a time when small towns were being bypassed by Eisenhower's brand-new interstate highway system, and the reach and impact of television was just beginning to be understood, Annie and her four-footed companions inspired an outpouring of neighborliness in a rapidly changing world"-- Provided by publisher.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2021 May #1
    *Starred Review* Penniless, homeless, and given a dire health prognosis at 63, Annie Wilkins set out to do the one thing she'd always wanted to do, see the Pacific Ocean. In late fall 1954, she loaded up her new Morgan horse, Tarzan, and with her faithful dog Depeche Toi headed south and west away from her home in rural Maine. In this era before cell phones, GPS, and credit cards, Wilkins would rely on her wits or die trying. She battled blizzards and floods, icy bridges and arid deserts and received acts of kindness from strangers who emerged at just the right moment with a meal, a bed, or a stable for Tarzan. This was during the heyday of local journalism and word of Wilkins' unusual odyssey not only preceded her from town to town but also garnered national attention. In describing the road conditions, towns, and people, including celebrities, Wilkins encountered on her four-thousand-mile journey, Letts creates a nostalgic travelogue and a vibrant history of life in 1950s America. Thanks to deeply sourced research and her own travels along Wilkins' route, Letts vividly portrays an audacious woman whose optimism, courage, and good humor are to be marveled at and admired. Upbeat and touching, Wilkins' story is the perfect pandemic escapist read. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, which won the PEN Award for Research Nonfiction, and most recently, of the novel Finding Dorothy, as well as two previous novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Subject: Wilkins, Mesannie > Travel.
Horsemen and horsewomen > Travel > United States > Biography.
Travel with horses > United States.
Overland journeys to the Pacific.
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century.
NATURE / Animals / General.
NATURE / Animals / Horses.
Wilkins, Mesannie.
Overland journeys to the Pacific.
Travel with horses.
United States.
Genre: Biographies.

Additional Resources