Read Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning by Dorothy Ours Online


His trainer said that managing him was like holding a tiger by the tail. His owner compared him to "chain lightning." His jockeys found their lives transformed by him, in triumphant and distressing ways. All of them became caught in a battle for honesty.Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such aHis trainer said that managing him was like holding a tiger by the tail. His owner compared him to "chain lightning." His jockeys found their lives transformed by him, in triumphant and distressing ways. All of them became caught in a battle for honesty.Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such astonishing speed records that The New York Times called him a "Speed Miracle." Often he won with so much energy in reserve that experts wondered how much faster he could have gone. Over the years, this and other mysteries would envelop the great Man o' War.The truth remained problematic. Even as Man o' War---known as "Big Red"---came to power, attracting record crowds and rave publicity, the colorful sport of Thoroughbred racing struggled for integrity. His lone defeat, suffered a few weeks before gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series, spawned lasting rumors that he, too, had been the victim of a fix.Tackling old beliefs with newly uncovered evidence, Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning shows how human pressures collided with a natural phenomenon and brings new life to an American icon. The genuine courage of Man o' War, tribulations of his archrival, Sir Barton (America's first Triple Crown winner), and temptations of their Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers reveal a long-hidden tale of grace, disgrace, and elusive redemption....

Title : Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312340995
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning Reviews

  • Caroline
    2019-03-21 04:48

    Having completed biographies of seabiscuit and secretariat, I decided that my next horse book should be about man o'war. I knew that he is considered to be the greatest racehorse of the 20th century, but I didn't know much else. That is definitely not true anymore. This book tells, in great detail, the overwhelming story of this great horse. Dorothy Ours has clearly done a great deal of research (and working for the horse racing museum in Saratoga no doubt gave her a huge amount of access to information) and puts forth a definitive volume of the life of man o'war. The story itself lacks some of the pizzazz of the stories of recently popular legends. It lacks the Cinderella story feel of seabiscuit, and doesn't have quite the same savior-in-a-time-of-need feel that secretariat had. It nonetheless tells a breathtaking story about a horse whose strength and power have not been seen again. Definitely worth a read for racing aficionados, although without the other charms of other racing legends, it might feel dense for a general audience.

  • Alger
    2019-03-22 08:23

    I went into this book with lowered expectations, that somehow Ours managed to undershoot.On the upside, this really is a learned and completed guide to the life and career of Man o' War. Ours' is extremely reliable on every angle of this extraordinary horse. So that's the good part, I now know a lot of things about Man o' War.The downside is that this is not interesting in itself. This book has no spark, no sense of momentum or personality or narrative. This is compounded by Ours' failings as a writer. The text reads like racing forms stitched together with awkward segues. The racing form feel plays out as "comments overheard at the track" and speed statistics presented in long long lists. Ours actually gets most animated in her prose when she is describing why times varied, how track conditions affected times, post positions, and all the rest of the minutia of track life. Where she is at her weakest is when writing about anything else. Ours' greatest failing as a writer is her habit of repeating information a couple of times, then again, then again. This is how we get paragraphs like this from p. 203 of my hardcover copy, "Setting sail along the backstretch and discouraging Grier, Red set a brilliant pace, reaching the half mile in :46 3/5 and hammering out six furlongs in 1:10 flat. Saratoga's track record was 1:10 and two. No Travers winner ever had shown such insane early speed." This reads fine until you think about what she is saying there, which is repeating that the horse ran at record speed three times in a row (of course no Travers winner had ever run that fast, because it is a record speed. That is what record means). Moreover, she will repeat that same observation about that race and others at random intervals throughout the rest of the book. Aside from this very irritating echoic habit, Ours is just not very good at deciding what should be interesting to the reader. I laughed outright at page 236 where she seems to get really excited about Windsor, Ontario being SOUTH OF DETROIT and burns up a paragraph describing how strange Canadian geography is. Overall, this is a book for horse enthusiasts and track people that probably would not have sold or been read so widely if not for the success of Seabiscuit (to support this observation, please note that my copy of this book has 4 cover blurbs, and two are from Hillenbrand and one is from a writer on the Daily Racing Form).

  • Lexi
    2019-03-19 06:29

    This book was about the greatest racehorse ever. It talks about his records and how great he was. "Man O' War may set a new (stakes) record this afternoon and beat Wildair by a couple of lengths," It says that he has a lot of fans and a lot of people who loved him. "A good many of those who go to the tracks on days when Man O' War is scheduled to start really do not care whether he is confronted with a contest or a mere gallop" (page 208). It also talks about his ups and downs and how he always recovered. Even though he had a short career he still got a lot of money out of it and still had many fans. The main characters in this book were Man O' War, his owner, and the jockey that rode him. I think the author of this book did a good job. She said almost everything she could about him. This was published in 2006 and he raced in the 20's, to write this book she must of had to do a lot of research. This is probably the best biography of him. I learned a lot about him and it helped me a lot in my Extravaganza project. I don't think a lot of people I know would be interested in it except for some of my barn friends. The only people that would want to read it are the people who like horses and like racing. If you don't know who Man O' War is before your probably wont want to read it. You have to like the horse and racing to get into the book. I rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. I chose 3.5 because it was a long book and at times it was kind of hard to get into reading it. It wasn't quite a 4 because I don't think I want to read it again. I would rather read a shorter story about him. It wasn't below 3 because I did like it at moments and I got a lot of information from it for my project. I love horses but I don't know much about racehorses so it was nice to know more about a horse who was so famous. Before reading it knew a little bit about him but after reading it I could explain to people who he was and what he did.

  • Rena Sherwood
    2019-03-13 09:30

    If you only read one book about Big Red, make it this 2007 biography by Dorothy Ours. After reading it, I wonder why Walter Farley would turn his hand at writing a fictional biography. Big Red’s life was colorful enough as it was. Unlike many other biographies of champion racehorses, this one isn’t afraid to show the dark side of racing, such as “hopping” horses and jockeys throwing races. (However, there is no evidence that any shenanigans happened during Man o' War's career -- which is amazing in and of itself.)There are details not available in other biographies of Man o’ War’s life, such as his owner trying to show Big Red off to his neighbors in the Philadelphia Main Line. Red was nearly killed because of his high string nature, which didn’t exactly mesh with suburbia – even the suburbia of 1920. The book ultimately shows why Man o' War was voted the most important thoroughbred of the twentieth century in American racing.And if you happen to have the Breyer Man o' War (any of them) then now you'll know what inspired the model horses. Or any of the other myriad of art forms featuring Man o' War, for that matter.

  • Wendy
    2019-03-18 07:34

    This is the authority on Man o' War! You won't find a better reference on the subject. Ours did some serious research, and it shows.Hopefully this will help debunk that stupid myth that Man o' War 'was originally "My Man o' War"!!' that everyone repeats as fact, which is ridiculous.There are several other urban legends she debunks, and interesting facts she unearths in their place. Not only that, but she manages to make the whole thing interesting and engaging. How rare is that?Definitely pick this book up and keep it forever. I have two copies, one hardcover and one paperback, in case one is ever lost or damaged. I think this is what horse books should strive to be.

  • Susan
    2019-03-12 07:38

    I decided to read this book for two reasons: (1) What little I knew about the horse called Big Red was impressive and (2) Laura Hillenbrand. I devoured her book about Sea Biscuit and she wrote a positive review about this book. When I started reading I thought the content was background for more information to come about Man O'War. It never came. I did learn a lot about horse racing and more about horses in general than I knew before reading the book. But it was dry and mostly boring and I can't help thinking it did't do the horse or the story justice.

  • Sarah Beaudoin
    2019-03-14 07:21

    Man o'War was a surprising disappointment. The lore around the horse is so fantastic that I'm not quite sure how Dorothy Ours managed to make it seem dull. Each race is reported dutifully but with so little color and context that it felt like reading the race guides at the track. Even her chronicle of Man o'War's final race with Sir Barton was a slog. If you are just looking to learn about Man o'War, this book fits the bill but if you're looking for an enjoyable read, skip it.

  • Carrie White
    2019-03-22 05:25

    This book, man. I'm heartbroken that it's over, and even though I knew how it was going to end--and that it had to--these were some difficult characters to let go of, particularly as an equestrian. I also felt like the author rushed the ending a bit, and would have liked to hear more about what happened AFTER Red's racing career ended.Overall, the writing style here is incredibly easy to read, the research is well done, and the story is told in a very complete and knowledgeable way. You're given a very full version of who and what and where, and you're definitely given the pieces you need to fall in love with the horse. That's not to say that parts of it weren't hard to read, b/c let's be clear--this is about racing, and if we think racehorses are mistreated now, it's nothing to what they used to go through. So there were definitely sections where I thought I would have to put the book down, just to keep specific knowledge out of my head.Boy am I glad I didn't. This one goes directly onto my 'must read again soon' list.

  • Casey
    2019-03-09 05:43

    Pretty boring account of Man-O-War's life and racing history. For serious racing fans it may have been more intriguing, but it seemed too full of stats and race times/circumstances and did not have much of a story line or connect outside historical events. Not the best horse racing book I have read.

  • Patty
    2019-02-23 08:24

    I enjoyed this well-researched and documented equine story and learned quite a bit about Thoroughbreds and the early days of horse racing in the US. Not a full five stars for me, but a solid 4.5! Anyone interested in horses won't want to miss this one.

  • Janelle
    2019-02-23 02:37

    It's hard to read this book and not call Man o' War the greatest. I liked that the author broke down a lot of racing concepts to showcase just how great his accomplishments were and how extraordinary the people around him were that took him to the top. He seemed like more machine than animal in the way he mowed down his competition, and while I knew his track record going into this book, the writing kept me on the edge of my seat when describing his races and the odds against him in some cases. This is a good memorial read to Big Red.

  • Claire
    2019-03-19 07:25

    This is one of my all time favorite books! I highly suggest reading it! Beautifully written with a ton of good information on the racing industry and Man O War himself!

  • Melinda
    2019-03-21 08:19

    This book puts in one place the pertinent information on the great racehorse, Man 'O War. "Big Red" as he was known, won 20 of his 21 races in 1919 and 1920 and was retired at the peak of his racing career to go into the breeding program to pass his genes along to his descendants. Man 'O War carried the heaviest weights per age of any horse in racing. The most interesting aspect of this book was the history of Johnny Loftus, Man 'O War's jockey. Jockey's were granted a license to ride each year by the Jockey Club of America, which was founded in 1894. Interestingly enough, the members are not jockies, but horse owners. The control the Jockey Club had over whether a jockey would be able to ride, or was banned from riding, was sweeping and unquestioned during these years. Dorothy Ours explains the "behind the scenes" happenings when Johnny Loftus was banned from riding. He was always accused of "throwing the race" that Man 'O War lost (his only loss) to a horse named Upset. Loftus maintained his innocence of this until his death. According to Dorothy Ours' account, Loftus was banned from riding because he told Commander Ross, the owner of Sir Barton, that his trainer H. Guy Bedwell was doping his horses. Ross believed his trainer and not his jockey, so Ross complained to the Jockey Club about Loftus and had Loftus banned from racing. I had read hints of these things in other books, but this is the first place where I had all the pieces put in one place. A good book to read for horse racing enthusiasts! Not as gripping as the book on "Seabiscuit", but nonetheless a fine read.

  • Fred Shaw
    2019-03-16 09:25

    The author did a great job with this book - well researched. Man o War was a 2 yr. old in 1919 when he began his racing career. During this time the World Series games between Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox was determined to be fixed and the man thought to be behind the fix, Arnold Rothstein, frequented racing stables. There was worry that there could be "fixing" in horse racing. They used to dope hoses back then with heroine, or "horse", cocaine, ether, morphine. According to the author, they never doped Man o War. Blood tests were not done back then as they are now.They also started races by raising a net with all the horses side by side. Must have been chaos. They didn't use the gates they use now.In 1720 a horse name Flying Childers ran 1 mile in 1 minute at a course in England. Of course the timer was suspect. In 1920 Man o War ran the mile at Belmont in 1:35, and even the actual course time was thought to be less. The official timer could not believe his stopwatch.As a 3yr old, Red would exercise in the morning at near record times with a heavier rider. This was totally unheard of. 23 official races and 22 wins. Voted Horse of the 20th century.In 1920, Red ran a mile and 5/8 in 2:40 4/5 an American record until 1956. The horse who ran with him, Hoodwink lost by 100 length.Man o War ran his last race against Sir Barton, a triple crown winner, and beat him. In total Red was in 22 races and won 21. The race he lost was often said to have been fixed by the jockey, Johnny Loftus. This was never proved. Red was voted Horse of the 20th century by the Jockey Club.

  • Peggy
    2019-03-23 06:19

    Man o’ War is hailed as the greatest Thoroughbred of the 20 th Century. Nothing in history can dispute this claim. His speed and energy are legendary. He ran 21 races and won 20 of them, often setting new speed records. This may not sound like many races, but he had some trouble finding willing competition. Owners did not want to enter their horses into a race that was a guaranteed loss. The book starts slowly building to an exciting second half. Extensive background information is included. Information that is imperative for telling the complete story. It goes back earlier than 1919 and 1920,when Man o' War raced, detailing his pedigree. The famous August Belmont, who bred Man o' War, is revealed as a great patriot. Find out how Sam Riddle came to own this magnificent animal. It touches on the history of doping horses and finally the outlawing of such practices. Intrigue enters the picture when the difficulty in keeping jockeys and trainers from taking bribes to fix races is learned about. Sir Barton among other horses that were Man o’ War’s major competition play a major part in the story. These great horses of the time made for some very exciting races. "Big Red", as he was nicknamed, did not win handily every single time. Anytime Man o' War raced great crowds gathered. These events are described well enough to feel the excitement. This is more than the story of Man o’ War, it is a history of the early days of horse racing. It may appear to only be of interest to the true racing fan, but any one with a curiosity for the history of the Sport of Kings should enjoy this well researched book.

  • Kris
    2019-02-23 10:21

    There was a lot of good info on the history of horse racing in the US and somewhat how it related to racing in Europe. Lots of "this is how fast this race was run". I found it odd the things that were defined-such as that the withers are the top of the shoulder blades (page 15)-but not what a furlong is. I would guess that more people reading about horses would know what the withers are than what part of a mile a furlong is. Which is very important when talking about a six furlong race versus a mile and a sixteenth race. I felt like there wasn't really a lot about Man O' War himself. There are descriptions early on about his rebellious nature and hijinks (when he was a yearling and otherwise in basic training) but then nothing. It's really cool that Ms Ours gave evidence of how much research went into this book (end notes galore) but a lot of times I felt like she pieced together great long passages using only snippets from newspapers and racing forms and such. Direct quotes are awesome but they're not supposed to equate to most of your content. I know this is a non fiction book but it really read like a reference book. Those really dry things you have to refer to when writing a term paper and would never read for pleasure. There were parts that were interesting but overall I would never recommend this book to learn about Man O' War the horse. His times and the development of racing in the US, sure. I read another review that said it was unforgivable (or something similar) that there were no pictures. Maybe there are multiple versions of this book, but mine had a 16 page section of pictures. It's a First Edition, for anyone's curiosity.

  • Jean Poulos
    2019-03-07 08:37

    I read this book back in 2006 when it was first published. I am a horse fanatic and read everything about horses. I was looking for some information about Man O’ War and pulled this book off my bookshelf and reread the book. I then realized I had not recorded a summary of the book in my records of books read. Currently I use the review process on Goodreads to keep track of information about books I read. Man O’War was probably the greatest American horse until Secretariat came along and broke his speed records. This book provides the history of Man O’ War along with a review of horse racing in the United States after World War One. Ours also provides a summary of August Belmont’s life and his role in horse racing in New York. Ours goes into depth about the rivalry between Man O’War and Sir Barton, the first American Triple Crown Winner. Man O’War was born in 1917 and started his racing career just after WWI when people were looking for an escape. Ours covers the fiasco of the 1919 World Series (baseball) gambler’s fix and how it affected all sports after that scandal.The book is well written but a bit dry in its presentation. Ours provides lots of information and provides reference sources for all data which is very helpful for people like me. If one is not interested in horses or horse racing, they probably would not enjoy this book. Dorothy Ours is a researcher who works at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. The book is 342 pages long.

  • Lydia
    2019-03-01 04:27

    Recently I finished this great biography on Man O' War. He was a legendary race horse, he was up for any challenge what was thrown at him. After every race he looed like he could win another. You don't hear about horses like that anymore. "He would sprint to the front and watch the others try and match his powerful strides." His stride measured 28 feet, the average racehorse's stride is 22 feet. The way the book was written brought you into the time and hardships of everyone around. The author made sure you know the backstory of the people who were close to Man O' War. She didn't glorify anything, she said it how it was which made it more spectacular. "The famous Albert Einstein might have descried him in a formula for massive power meeting minimum resistance." He was tall and muscular, he shouldn't have been able to move that quickly. He was the perfect athlete, he could cut through the air quickly but was big enough to cover lots of ground. "A coppery-coated colt who did not look like either a great sprinter or a great long distance horse. He looked like both." There are very few horse then or now that can be quick and have great stamina. Horses are better in one area then another like humans. There aren't many that do great in both fields. Man O' War was an exception.I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in racehorses or is interested in the late 1910's early 1920's. The story is intriguing and there is a great athlete to read about.

  • Elise
    2019-03-06 06:31

    August Belmont - Man o' War's breeder and namesakeSam & Elizabeth Riddle - owners of Glen Riddle Stables & Man o' WarThe Jeffords - Sam's sister and brother-in-law, who owned Golden BroomLou Festel - Man o' War's trainerJohnny Loftus - Man o' War's jockey as a 2 year old, including during the infamous race with Upset; also raced on Sir Barton"Hard Guy" Bedwell - Sir Barton's trainerCommander Ross - Sir Barton's ownerFrank Loftus - Man o' War's groom, unrelated to Johnny LoftusMajor Treat - Man o' War's companion horseSir Barton - Man o' War's senior (by 1 year) rival for most of his career, though they raced only onceExterminator - the senior (by 1 year) longer-distance champion that Man o' War never raced Clarence Kummer - Man o' War's jockey as a 3 year old, including for the tough race against John P Grier and the match race with Sir BartonClyde Gordon - Man o' War's exercise rider George Conway - one of Man o' War's handlers while he racedWill Harbut - Man o' War's stud groom and talented tour-giver at Riddle's stud farm

  • Thelma
    2019-03-02 03:43

    Because Man o' War was a favorite race horse of my Nana, he is also a favorite of mine. It took fully two thirds of this book for the author to lay down the dry details that finally brought Man o' War to life, and the last third made it worthwhile. Excruciatingly detailed and researched, with pages and pages of citations, the author obviously put a lot of heart and effort into Man o' War's story and her telling of it. Because it is pretty dry, may only really resonate with die-hard racing aficionados, illustrating what they already know: Man o' War remains one of the most fabulous US race horses of all time.

  • Brynn
    2019-02-28 03:21

    Dorothy Ours does a fantastic job introducing the nuances of horse racing while layering together a tale that had me hooked immediately. I appreciated that her meticulous research gave fair treatment to the plurality of perspectives from the people who were part of Man O' War's racing career -- it never felt like an insider's diatribe. This was some powerful storytelling -- I not only found myself cheering for Big Red but also tearing up at some of his more dramatic races. I definitely recommend this book as a very satisfying read and a great way to dive into the world of horse racing.

  • Mr. Kovach
    2019-03-14 03:44

    A fact-filled (sometimes too much so) recounting of the great Thoroughbred Man o' War. Imagine hitting cleanup in a lineup that includes Babe Ruth. That'll tell you how good Lou Gehrig was. Imagine being voted horse of the century in one that includes Secretariat. That'll tell you how great Man o' War was. An interesting book (if a bit longish), most especially for horse lovers. Hillenbrand's book on the Biscuit spoiled me for quality in horse books or I might have liked this book even more. Definitely recommend, though.

  • Mackay
    2019-03-10 03:39

    For horse lovers or racing afficianados, an interesting (even valuable) book. But it's no Seabiscuit. Perhaps it's harder to take The Very Best and make it as interesting as The Underdog...but no, I don't think that's it. What I loved about Seabiscuit was the cultural history surrounding the horse story. This book doesn't have that dimension.Yet, I have a soft spot for Big Red and I'm not sorry I read it.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-24 04:44

    Overall, this is a really good read, though not as engaging as Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. It does a nice of job of researching what was available and is a great time capsule for how the sport of horse racing has both changed and stayed the same over the years. One extra that I would have liked to see at the end was a brief listing of some the Man o'War's more famous offspring. He stood at stud for a fairly long time, it would have been cool to see some of the greats that he sired.

  • Lynne Page
    2019-03-14 07:32

    Man O'War was my favourite racehorse of all time. I read about him when growing up, and dreamed of one day owning horses. This book does his life justice, as well as setting the scene and introducing you to the key characters in his life. I highly recommend this book as it showcases horse racing during a time when horse racing was an important part of life.

  • Jo
    2019-03-13 10:33

    I went into this book with great expectations and was vastly underwhelmed. I'm a horse nut and am probably being overly kind with a two star rating. All the facts and figures are there. Ours took a story about one of the greatest race horses that ever lived and managed to make reading it akin to eating a piece of dry toast.

  • Miriam Cook
    2019-02-24 05:40

    Man O' War he was a great. Man o' War the book by Dorothy Ours doesn't even begin to describe how amazing this horse really is. You receive the life of the horse that started the racing industry. Here is a book that can rival the great Secretariat. Recommended for all those horse racing fans out there.

  • Gay
    2019-03-22 08:21

    The book was very good, but I felt there was too much background on some of the people and horses. I understand some of it was necessary to tell the full story of the great horse Man 'O War. The part about this outstanding horse himself, was wonderful. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about one of America's Greatest racehorses.

  • Pat
    2019-03-23 09:25

    A workman-like retelling of the early development of the modern racing industry and the movers and shakers who were central to its formation and public acceptance and success. Extremely interesting to compare racing practices then and now and to find that not that unfortunately not much in reality, has changed. It is unforgivable that there were absolutely no photos in the book.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-19 02:20

    Excellent read if you enjoy the racing scene and the history of Man O'War. The book goes into great detail about the jockeys, owners and trainers and each race. I found it hard to put it down. Also, the reference was detailed and the original photos helped put a face to a name.