Learn, Read and Enjoy War Horse

Total Score: 30

War Horse delivers on so many levels.  If you love history, you will find a WWI timeline, historical photos, artifacts, letters and films.  You’ll also see insights from various experts on WWI including ones from Flanders Field Museum,  the National Army Museum (London), The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial (Kansas City), the grandson of General Jack Seely, and from the Chief Executive of the Brooke (an international charity for the welfare of working equines).   If you love performance, you will find heart-wrenching performances of poems like The Charge of The Light Brigade or Dulce et Decorum Est.  The most standout performance is the author performing an edited version of the story with musicians John Tams and Barry Coope.   In addition, but certainly the cornerstone of the app, you can read the illustrated novel or listen to Michael Morpurgo’s reading.   It is almost hard to imagine all of this in one app.

Price Rating = 5     $13.99.     Considering that you get a book, historical information, videos and music, this app is worth the price.

Ease of Use Rating = 5     The navigational commands are easy to understand and the experience immersive.

 Readability Rating = 5     It is quite easy to move between sections.  You simply tap the section you want.

 Will You Use It Rating = 5     This app gives you enough to explore for a long time.  It addition to reading the book and watching the performances,  I am sure I will open it up as I watch any movie or TV show that references World War I. The timeline is impressive.

 Downsides Rating = 0     It is a large app and you need to make sure you have space.  That is not a downside, just something to consider.

Consumer Review Rating = 5     Currently, there are not enough comments to rate this app.  I cannot imagine anyone complaining about it (other than the size), so I am going to give it the rating I would give.  It gets a full five stars from me.

 Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5     For those who enjoy a good story, this app delivers the goods.  For those who focus on history, as George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Exploring this app helps us understand those who went before us and,  hopefully, avoid any mistakes.

How does it work?

  1. The home screen provides you with a number of options.  I chose to explore the timeline first.  Tapping on that allows you to view important events from 1914 through 1918.  There are 483 entries.  You can filter the list by Theaters of War, Participants, Major Battles or Other Action.  For instance, there are 18 entries relating to Women and women’s issues during this time.  Explore the timeline to see photos, videos, letters and bits of history.
  2. As you explore through the book, you can tap on the top left corner to come back to HOME at any time.
  3. Tapping on the insights section takes you to experts on WWI.   So far, I may have learned the most in this section.  I was not familiar with the Brooke Foundation (equine welfare).  The section about the WWI uniform was fascinating.   Each of the experts brings a perspective to the war that is unique.
  4. The 80 minute edited performance is worth every minute of your time.  The combination of reading and music is extraordinary.   Should you stop the performance it picks back up exactly where you left it.
  5.  Last, but certainly not least, is the illustrated novel.  You can enjoy the story that was so beautifully recreated in Stephen Spielberg’s movie – War Horse.   You have the option of reading it or listening to the audio version.  On the audio version, each line is highlighted as it is read.  When you go back to the HOME screen a chapter number shows your place in the book.

I believe we are at the dawn of a new kind of reading experience.  It is far more immersive than just reading a novel.  With the information you have in this app you can imagine how the uniform fits the soldier, have a clear picture of the trenches and really appreciate the importance of the horse in the war.  I think you will enjoy this as I have.

Devices:  Designed by Touch Press, LLP, this app is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.   The website for this app provides a good view of what you will see in the app.

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