The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America

Ballantine. Jun. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780525619321. $28. BIOG
Equestrian Letts (author of best-sellers The Perfect Horse and The Eighty-Dollar Champion) has documented another fascinating, little-known slice of history. In November 1954, Annie Wilkins left Maine for California, traveling on her horse Tarzan and with her dog Depeche Toi in tow. Selling postcards for a meager income, Wilkins relied on the generosity of people she met along the route. A little over a year and 7,000 miles later, she arrived in northern California. As Wilkins and her story traveled across the United States, she charmed people with her humility, gratitude, and wit, often becoming a local celebrity in the cities she visited. Charting Wilkins’s journey, Letts explores changes in the infrastructure, economy, and cultural landscape of the United States during the mid-20th century. Letts relies on extensive primary sources, including Wilkins’s memoir The Last of the Saddle Tramps, and includes maps to help readers trace the journey on their own.
VERDICT Skillful prose and meticulous research combine to create a rich narrative and captivating character portraits of both Annie Wilkins and the people and places of the 1950s. Considering the popularity of her other nonfiction titles, the latest by Letts is likely to be on many hold lists.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing