Read Bill the Bastard: The Story Of Australia's Greatest War Horse by Roland Perry Online


Bill was massive. He had power, intelligence and unmatched courage. In performance and character, he stood above all the other 200,000 Australian horses sent to the Middle East in the Great War. But as war horses go, he had one serious problem. No one could ride him but one man, Major Michael Shanahan. Some even thought Bill took a sneering pleasure in watching would-be riBill was massive. He had power, intelligence and unmatched courage. In performance and character, he stood above all the other 200,000 Australian horses sent to the Middle East in the Great War. But as war horses go, he had one serious problem. No one could ride him but one man, Major Michael Shanahan. Some even thought Bill took a sneering pleasure in watching would-be riders hit the dust. Bill the bastard is the remarkable tale of a bond between a determined trooper and his stoic but cantankerous mount. They fought together. They depended on each other for survival. And when the chips were down, Bill's heroic efforts and exceptional instincts in battle saved the lives of Shanahan and four of his men.By September 1918, 'Bill the Bastard' was known by the entire Light Horse regiment, who used his name not as an insult, but as a term of endearment. Bill had become a legend, a symbol of the courage and unbreakable will of the Anzac mounted force. There was no other horse like Bill the Bastard....

Title : Bill the Bastard: The Story Of Australia's Greatest War Horse
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781743312629
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 274 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bill the Bastard: The Story Of Australia's Greatest War Horse Reviews

  • Helena
    2019-03-13 04:44

    I'm a bit bleary eyed as I virtually stayed up all night to read this. I had never heard of Bill the Bastard before and that's a great pity as he clearly is worthy of national recognition like Phar Lap. A big horse with a big heart and an attitude to match - that just makes him even more appealing. One of my uncles who was a stockman had a horse that also was a 'one man horse' and we were all banned from going anywhere near the horse 'Fly Away'. The name told what would happen if anyone other than my uncle would try to ride him. The dialogue added to the story telling and was not expected to be 100% accurate. I didn't find young Ben's bareback ride unbelievable. I know that in the bush, you learnt to ride bareback so that you had good balance on a horse and weren't dependent on a saddle and stirrups.I found the British decision to destroy the horses bloody-minded in the extreme. It seems that for Australian horses and men alike, there was little regard that bordered on straight out indifference and callousness from some British elements. Perry's handling of the military engagements was informative without straying into in-depth examination which is for other works. This was the story of Bill and the Bastard and Perry ensures that the focus never leaves him for too long. I'm glad that Bill and Penny got to see out their days in peace. They deserved it. I highly recommend this book whether you love horses or not.

  • Librariasaurus
    2019-03-19 03:39

    What an amazing part of Australian war history. I admit I was not looking forward to reading this book, as I had anticipated yet another dreary account of Australia at war. This book was both a refreshing surprise and a brilliant, inspiring story. It truly is Australia's answer to Michael Morpurgos' War Horse. The story of an amazing animal, a Waler horse affectionately named Bill the Bastard due to his unwillingness to let anyone mount him for more than a few seconds; and the select few who he decided were worthy enough to ride him. Bill surprised everyone with his wealth of equine character but more surprising is the love and brotherhood between a light horseman and his mount. These men were some of Australia's bravest soldiers, who have been somewhat left out of our history books.I loved this book and felt myself being able to truly see the battles raging at Gallipoli and in the Sinai, but one can never feel what war is truly like, but this book gives a highly accurate portrayal, even bringing to light parts of the ANZAC campaign that aren't written in the history books. Highlights of this book for me included the story of the great balladeer Banjo Paterson in this engagement. He was made a major and looked after many of the light horse mounts. I was also enthralled by the story of Major Michael Shanahan, who not only "tamed" Bill, but was a true gentleman, in every sense of the word, not only in battle but in life in general. I was however, outraged at the behaviour of General Allenby and the British government in ordering the destruction of thousands of our war horses, despite them being healthy and despite the protests of their troopers, but was pleased at the ending which tells of Bill and his love Penny living out peaceful lives only kilometres away from Anzac Cove where Bill first shot to infamy and earned the nickname The Bastard. All in all, a well written book from Roland Perry, on old hand in the non-fiction game. This book will not disappoint any fan of war stories or military history as it contains a fair dose of each within its pages.

  • Tracey
    2019-03-07 07:42

    A blend of fact and fiction, based on a remarkable war horse. Although I feel as if I could tell where the facts ended and the fiction began, it is still a truly amazing story and an insight into World War I and the great bond the Light Horsemen shared with their mounts.Where Michael Morpugo's 'War Horse' is a sweet fictitious creature, Bill was a real horse and from the sound of it not a very easy one to get along with. Some of the references to horses in the book are inaccurate or unlikely but nevertheless, Bill's strength and courage is obviously true.I'm not a big fan of war stories but for this I will make an exception.

  • Saturday's Child
    2019-03-07 07:37

    Books about war are not a topic that "like" is the right word for. I enjoy books about animals and I like the way Roland Perry writes to tell a story. Remarkable is a word to describe not only Bill but also the men, women and other horses that shared his military service. What makes me so sad is what happened to the horses that did not return to Australia, this part of Bill's story certainly does not make for an enjoyable read but the rest of the book does.

  • Zakgirl
    2019-03-22 08:54

    I didn't intend on reading this book. My husband was given a paperback copy by a customer at his work. He read it and raved about it so I decided to give it a go. I loved it too. The author has a particular style to his writing and includes factual details which makes the story all the better. If you like war history and horses then this book will be of interest to you. I'm now reading another of Roland's books, The Australian Lighthorse. I guess I can be counted as a fan.

  • Kelly Drust
    2019-03-05 08:41

    Loved this book so much. The love these Aussie Diggers had for their horses was so strong. To choose to shoot your own horse at the end of the war because you owe them so much better than to be left in a foreign country. Lots of tears fell reading this book. What a hero Bill was working beside Simpson and his donkey for a while :(

  • Sharon
    2019-03-20 05:54

    Great book, about a forgotten hero of the first world war. I found the ending sad, it was awful what was done with these horses at the end of the war.I was also upset about the majors story and how it ended, (How could she!!!!)

  • Mandy
    2019-03-11 04:55

    Thoroughly enjoyed this historical tale of Bill, the Light Horse and a huge part of the Australian legend in Gallipoli and Bathsheba.

  • Julie
    2019-03-22 06:34

    What a fantastic book. I read a review of this and as I am always a fan of animal stories, thought I would see what it was like. Well, I had it finished by the end of the day. Bill the horse was quite the character, indeed. Quite a humerous read, I laughed out loud at some of the antics described. Obviously quite an intelligent horse who always wanted his own way. Like the other review, it was so sad to read that the rest of our valiant horses didn't make it back home. So sad.....Not a big fan of war stories, but this book is not full of war history. It only touches on the campaigns which are relevent to Bill's story.Do yourself a favour and read this.

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-14 01:29

    i don't usually like biographies and especially ones about horses that don't come home. i liked that it was from everyone's point of view and that there were more then one story line going on. the ending was very sad, and i didn't like that at the end where she leaves and that his real love chose someone else. i loved bill and have known a few horses that are like him. excellently written i couldn't put it down and a story that could be very heartbreaking to those who lived through the war or those who knew someone in the war.

  • Simona
    2019-03-11 03:49

    ... I absolutely loved the Audio of this book ... just Brilliantly read by David Trednnick ... and what a magnificent creature I had heard alot at the time of the horses in the Australian Cavalry that went over in North Africa - Arabia during the War I and to listen to this account was such an eye opener as to the events that occurred at the time and that of the men, the women and the amazing horses who lived through this mind boggling time in history. Beautifully written in the old style of the old Australian-ism's of a language and time that no longer exists ... highly recommended ....

  • M.G. Ryan
    2019-03-23 01:41

    If you are a lover of horses or Australian/Military history or a combination of, then I highly recommend this book. It is an amazing story about the bravery of animals and their human counterparts. As well as a true insight into the significant role that the Australian Light Horse played during World War I.I would love to see this book become a movie, following in the likes of other great Aussie movies such as Gallipoli and The Lighthorsemen.

  • Libby Lowdell
    2019-03-18 09:34

    Initially, I found this book hard to read as I found the author put too much detail about who said and did what. But on further reading, I soon fell in love with Bill, the mighty independent whaler and became enthralled by his story. As a war biographies,I was not expecting much, however on completing reading this book I feel I will never forget Bill the bastard or his rider - Michael Shanahan. This book is most definitely a "good read".

  • Romayne Saunders
    2019-02-27 01:54

    This is an amazing book about a special bond between Major Michael Shanahan and a horse called 'Bill the Bastard', You will enjoy this book if you are interested in Australian military history or horses. Bill was a real character and was a remarkably intelligent beast. A lovely book about a wonderful horse. There are sad moments such as when the Australians decided to destroy their mounts rather than leave them behind in the Middle East. I loved this book and will probably read it again.

  • Leslea
    2019-03-03 07:40

    This was a Bookclub pick so wasn't sure I would enjoy it as I don't like books about the war. BUT....this book was fantastic. Making the horse, Bill the Bastard, almost the main character really helps to draw you in and to care what happens to him and those around him. As it is all based on true facts it really hits home what our guys and horses went through. It really showcased our Aussie sense of humour and companionship.

  • Corin Linch
    2019-02-27 04:48

    As a horseman myself I found much of this book extremely far fetched and unbelievable. I began reading with a great expectation but very early in the book thought what a load of rubbish the description of young Towers trying to ride Bill bareback set the tone for me. Very disappointed in the book.

  • Lynda
    2019-03-24 02:46

    An interesting insight into the First World War and the original Anzac's. Based around the light horse brigade and the australian soldiers and their mounts in particular, the story follows the war with Bill, a huge waler horse. He has a low tolerance of people, but comes to respect one in particular.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-10 06:40

    I loved it. It gives a good persecptive of the war times, activities, stuff like that. It's really cool because it mentions a few well known Australians during the war times A.B.'Banjo'Paterson, Simpson and his donkey and someone known as 'Galloping Jack- who ever that is and I don't want to know, he ran eight horses to death!

  • Alayne
    2019-03-06 03:35

    This was a fabulous book about the Australian Light Horse and their battles in WWI, and in particular a horse dubbed Bill the Bastard, who was huge but would only allow one man to ride him. The two of them won the DSO for actions against the Turks in the Middle East. Apparently there is a statue of them in Murrumburrah, NSW which I intend to look for when next I am there.

  • Shelley
    2019-03-24 06:41

    Brought a tear to the eye. A simple read, certainly appropriate to be reading on the ANZAC Day long weekend, lest we forget. All those poor horses' lives wasted at the end, such a tragedy I would hope not happen in this day and age.

  • Bronwyn
    2019-03-17 05:28

    Bill the Bastard - what a horse! This was a hard to put down book that delivered some surprising insights into WWI and Australia's presence in Egypt. Bill may not have been a loveable horse, but he was definitely memorable.

  • Rita Chapman
    2019-03-17 07:55

    Roland Perry does a very good job of combining war history with the story of this irascible horse. Bill is going to serve the war effort in his own way and woe-betide anyone who thinks otherwise! A lovely story which illustrates that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink!

  • Kim
    2019-03-07 09:49

    A good story, easy to read. Maybe a bit fanciful, stories elaborated over the years but doesn't take away from an enjoyable and at times humorous book.

  • Peter Dun
    2019-02-27 08:38

    Very good read. Enjoyable and informative

  • Kermit19
    2019-03-10 09:26

    Will be rated after book club :-)

  • Tracy
    2019-02-22 01:42

    For a war account this book was so very easy to read whilst giving you a real feeling of what was happening. Brilliantly written

  • Greg Barron
    2019-03-07 05:55

    Entertaining slice of WW1 history. A great read for horse lovers!

  • Deb
    2019-03-07 06:43

    4.5 stars. I enjoyed this so much. Think there is a little bit of embellishing in the story, non-the-less, it is a great read.

  • Angela
    2019-03-10 04:35

    Well researched, interesting but avoided sentimentality. A story of understated heroes and real courage despite the attitudes and sometimes poor decisions of those designated to take command.