American author and military historian. He served in the First World War, in which horses were still used in the fighting, and also later in the Second World War. He worked as a journalist, before becoming a full-time author. Downey had a keen interest in history, especially military, and wrote a number of non-fictional works of military history and some biographies. He also wrote several horse stories which were also mainly of a war theme, no doubt based in part upon his own war experiences. As well as the novels, he wrote some non-fiction books about horses in the war/famous horses. Some of his horse books were illustrated by the famous artist Paul Brown, making them quite collectable.
Horse & Pony Books:
WAR HORSE (DODD MEAD [USA] 1942) ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN Reprinted a few times in hardback by original publisher. EDITION PICTURED: Dodd Mead early reprint SUMMARY: Not to be confused with Michael Morpurgo's novel of same name! A sergeant and a mare called Barbara form a close bond in the midst of war. The horse in the story was based on the author's own mount.
ARMY MULE (DODD MEAD [USA] 1945) ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition SUMMARY: Historical mule story set during the Indian wars of the 1870s. Follows the adventures of the packhorse mule Proverbio and his time in the U.S. Army
CAVALRY MOUNT (DODD MEAD [USA] 1946) (1st UK edition PETER NEVILLE 1954) ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN Published in the UK by Peter Neville in 1954 with the original Paul Brown illustrations. EDITION PICTURED; UK edition SUMMARY: Historical war story.
FREE AND EASY (SCRIBNERS [USA] 1951) ILLUSTRATED BY FREDERICK CHAPMAN Also a Junior Literary Book Club edition. EDITION PICTURED: Junior Literary Guild edition SUMMARY: Historical story of a young girl whop trains a pacer filly.
A HORSE FOR GENERAL LEE (SCRIBNERS [USA] 1953) ILLUSTRATED BY FREDERICK CHAPMAN In print as a print-on-demand paperback by LLC SUMMARY: Fictionalised story of Traveller, General Lee's mount for much of the Civil War.
THE SHINING FILLY (SCRIBNERS [USA] 1954) EDITION PICTURED; 1st edition SUMMARY: Set in California. Two young girls fall in love with la Dorada, a beautiful wild palomino filly.
Collector's Info: In the USA, availability and price varies a lot. Generally Free and Easy, The Shining Filly and Army Mule are usually the easiest to find and the cheapest. The others are harder to find and may be a bit more expensive. One book, Cavalry Mount, was published in the UK and this is the only one which is fairly easy to find here.
Short Story Collections:
HORSES OF DESTINY (SCRIBNERS [USA] 1949) ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL BROWN In print as a print-on-demand paperback by Kessinger. EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition SUMMARY: Tales of famous horses throughout history. There were also two non-horsy companion books to this one, Cats of Destiny and Dogs of Destiny, which feature famous felines and canines.
FAMOUS HORSES OF THE CIVIL WAR (NELSON & SON [USA] 1959) In print as a print-on-demand paperback by LLC EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition SUMMARY: Tales of real life equine heroes of the American Civil War.
Collector's Info: Not common titles although at the time of writing (2016) are available new in paperback as print-on-demand titles in both the USA and UK. Otherwise the books are hard to find in the UK and elsewhere outside of America.
Short Story Collections Edited by the Author:
MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE (By Various Authors) (DOUBLEDAY [USA] 1960) ILLUSTRATED BY MATTHEW KALMENOFF EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition SUMMARY: Book of short horse stories, with a literary slant, selected by the author.
RACES TO THE SWIFT: GREAT STORIES OF THE TURF (By Various Authors) (DOUBLEDAY [USA] 1967) ILLUSTRATED BY DON STIVERS EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition SUMMARY: Book of short horse stories, with a racing theme, selected by the author.
Collector's Info: In the USA these are fairly easy to find and usually quite cheap. Hard to find in the UK and elsewhere outside of America.