John Egenes has been a musician, a saddlemaker, a dog catcher, and a hobo, among other things. He only learns by making mistakes and he views his life through a windshield full of squashed bugs. He makes his home in New Zealand.
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America by John Egenes is a non-fiction travel memoir set in the 1970s. Man & Horse is a story about a solo journey that John undertakes with his horse, Gizmo, across the continental United States. The book is written in the first person and recounts John’s experiences on the trail as he travels from the West coast to the East coast across the entire range of states in between. Interspersed with his travel details are also anecdotes and experiences from his childhood and early years, his family, and the impact it had on his desire to travel. There is a map and several photographs throughout the book that complement the narrative.
I enjoyed reading Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America by John Egenes and, as a travel book, it fulfills all of the criteria for a novel and engaging read. The American Southwest region in particular appears to be a lot different than what it is now, and it is especially interesting to read his accounts of travel through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. His affection for his horse, who is his steady companion throughout the journey, is apparent and touching. John’s writing style is casual and relatable and makes for an easy read. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into his early life and family experiences as this provides a marker for what prompted him to travel and explore in the first place. Overall, this is a good non-fiction travel book that anyone would enjoy!