Booklist; October 15, 2012
Wild Horse Annie: Velma Johnston and Her Fight to Save the Mustang
“Mustangs, the wild horses of the American west, are as much a part of the romance of the Wild West as the cowboys and Indians who rode them. The fact that mustangs still roam the public lands of the western states is entirely due to the efforts of one slim, small woman. Velma Johnston was born to a Nevada ranching family early in the twentieth century. Stricken with polio at age five and left disfigured, she still rode her father’s gentled mustangs and later married another rancher. Her life as a secretary and ranching housewife changed one fateful day when she pulled up behind a horse trailer that was leaking blood. Following the trailer, she learned the cruel fate of the mustangs within, one of which had been trampled to death by the others, as the rig turned into a slaughterhouse. The story of how Velma, snidely dubbed “Wild Horse Annie” by a government official, gathered supporters for the wild horses and got laws passed to provide for their humane treatment and protection, makes inspiring reading.” — Nancy Bent; Booklist, October 15, 2012
Library Journal Reviews
“Wild Horse Annie’s story is a biography laced with political maneuvers. Annie, whose real name was Velma Johnston, was a rural Nevada secretary and housewife with an ordinary life until one morning, when she followed a horse trailer that appeared to be leaking blood. When she learned where the trailer was headed and the fate of the horses aboard the trailer, she began a crusade that would last for 27 years. Journalist Kania (John Otto: Trials and Trails) worked with Johnston for seven years as she campaigned for fair treatment of the wild horses that roamed public lands in the Nevada countryside. Much of the information in the book is drawn from correspondence written by Johnston. As an activist, Johnston was able to look beyond the immediate crisis, sometimes agreeing to compromises on smaller issues that led to a solution to broader problems.
Verdict: The book is well written and will be a fascinating read for those whose lives are affected by wild horses and burros. Unfortunately, this audience is somewhat limited, so libraries should purchase where interest warrants. — Deborah Emerson, Central New York Library Resources Council, Syracuse, New York.
Midwest Book Review, September 2012
Cheapness should not allow cruelty. Wild Horse Annie: Velma Johnston and Her Fight to Save the Mustang tells the story of Velma Johnston, a ranch wife who rescued three badly injured wild horses from a horse trailer, and took the wanton absue of the creatures to the United States Congress to gain them federal lands protection from the people who would capture and mistreat them. Wild Horse Annie is a strongly recommended pick for collections focusing on American conservation history, not to be overlooked.