By: Clint Goodwin
Publisher: Book Locker
Publication Date: 2017
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: February 21, 2018
Clint Goodwin hits it out of the park with his third installment of his outstanding war series of historical novels. In Leather to Steel (the third book in his series), he treats his audience to a riveting account of the transition from ‘Leather to Steel’ in a phenomenal account of American history through the eyes of the horse at the onset of the Great War.
Modern warfare was evolving before (and during) the Great War (WWI). Fortunately, during the modernization that would include steel U-boats, machine guns, tanks, flamethrowers, and much more, the mighty horse was still an integral part of the campaigns. The story opens with Peace, a black stallion full of pride and all too willing to share his account of the seven generations that make up his family legacy of courage, strength and the unquestionable spirit to live that is signature to the soul of a horse. Peace lays the foundation stepping from his six-generation sire (Stonewall) and his mare (Cinnamon) who were united in Southwest Texas during the Comanche Wars (Mr. Goodwin’s previous novel). Peace’s voice is immediately recognized given the heartfelt devotion he exudes in re-telling the stories of the great stallions and mares who have served our nation since the 19th century.
Peace takes his time, side-stepping periodically to explain his breeding: ‘…a trace of a warmblood and thoroughbred breeds that defined my stature…’ He elaborates further on the roles his brothers and sisters in arms played as they served in the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), Third Squad Caisson Platoon at the Fort Myer army base in Arlington, Virginia and delves into the intricacies of their pristine stables at this installation. As the story develops, Peace touches upon the generations of his family and the war machines they have pulled since 1861. He learned wisdom through his father Rusty’s legacy and the many war stories about his family’s military endeavors since the U.S. Civil War. With the vast array of service that transcended long before the Great War (Civil War and Comanche War), there is a comfort established between horse’s voice and reader’s attention where an indelible bond is formed within the first handful of pages. Peace is the horse to continue sharing the valor of his fallen comrades and it is inherently clear this magnificent animal was destined to tell this story.
I have had the great joy and pleasure to read all of Mr. Goodwin’s work (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, Comanche Wars and Leather to Steel) and stopping short of gushing, I commend this writer on his commitment and discipline in each installation when it comes to getting the facts down and getting them down correctly. In my opinion, there is a specific art to weaving the perfect ‘story’ together with factual and historical accounts. Mr. Goodwin is the poster child for getting it right. I also have (to a fault) an incredible love for the horse—truly a Godlike creature with insurmountable spirit and soul. Mr. Goodwin captures the essence of human emotion as much as that of the creature telling the story and it was not surprising I found myself often pausing during this read to reflect and wipe a tear (or two) before continuing. Mr. Goodwin has the gift of writing that comes deep from within and he has a natural ability to recognize his gift given the way he places his words page upon page. I look forward to the next installation in this series. My experience with this author’s work thus far is: it just keeps getting better and better. Well done Mr. Goodwin. May I please have another?
Quill Says: Leather to Steel is a beautiful depiction of the hardships and transitional time in how the wars of our fathers were fought as much as it is an homage to the gallant and spiritual horse.
For more information on Leather to Steel, please visit the author's website at: goodwinbooks.wordpress.com