Robin Oakley

The Ride of Her Life

Unbreakable: The Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse Race


Yellow Jersey Press 426pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Which women have made the biggest breakthroughs in sport? Some might select Serena Williams for her twenty-three Grand Slam tennis titles or Nadia Comăneci for achieving the first ‘perfect ten’ in gymnastics. Historians might choose Alice Milliat, who organised a Women’s Olympiad in the 1920s, at a time when the founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, believed that women’s sport was ‘against the laws of nature’. Missing from any list until now has been Lata Brandisová, a Czech countess who overcame massive gender prejudice to compete in the world’s most dangerous horse race, becoming a national heroine by going on to triumph in it over the sporting elite of Hitler’s Germany.

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