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Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had writtenHillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race....

Title : Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345465085
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 457 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Seabiscuit: An American Legend Reviews

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-23 05:47

    Prior to November 2003, non-fiction only entered my reading choices on sporadic occasions. In November 2003, a pioneering member of my book club was the first to choose a non-fiction book instead of a novel. That book was Seabiscuit. Even though I have always loved horses, I had avoided reading Seabiscuit. I just couldn't believe that all the hype was real. So many times I had picked up a non-fiction book on a topic that I was really curious about, and either put it down unfinished or forced myself to slog through it. Despite my interest in the subject matter, the writing would drive me crazy - too technical, too boring, too text-book like. In fact, as one of those over-achieving students who always completed college reading assignments, I would have to say that many textbooks were actually better reads than the average non-fiction offering on store shelves. Seabiscuit, I was happy to find, was a complete surprise. The hype was real. No wonder it had sold so many copies. It really does read like a novel, and yet it is so deep - Ms. Hillenbrand has really explored her topic thoroughly and passes on all the details to us. There is a section where she describes the jockeys' experience of riding in a race that is one of the best pieces of prose I have ever, and will ever, read. I read it over and over. It's so visceral, she really puts you in the saddle, plus the prose is beautiful in and of itself. Another reason for the success of this novel is her success at placing the events in their historical context. She not only puts you in the saddle, she takes you back in time. This was one of the universally best-received choices we've read in book club. Everyone loved it, whether or not they cared at all about horses or sports. And ever since then, I've given non-fiction more chances, and with better luck, than ever before. Sometimes I still put one down unfinished, but now that I know how they can be, I try more often. I highly recommend Seabiscuit to any of the following people: anyone who has the slightest interest in horses or sports, anyone who thinks jockeys have an easy job, anyone interested in American history, anyone with no interest in horses who just loves good writing, anyone who thinks non-fiction is dull and would welcome a surprise, and EVERYONE ELSE! :o) ==========================Update, 2011Just finished reading for the second time, this time aloud. Still LOVE this book. And while reading aloud (which really makes you take your time!) I was powerfully struck again by the Ms. Hillenbrand's facility with language - to say she has "a way with words" is entirely inadequate to express the beauty and expressiveness of her writing. But although beautiful, please don't think her writing might be too "prosy" - it is NOT unnecessarily flowery or overbearing. Seabiscuit is simply a fabulous read.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-03-10 05:47

    Onvan : Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Nevisande : Laura Hillenbrand - ISBN : 345465083 - ISBN13 : 9780345465085 - Dar 457 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 1999

  • Dean
    2019-03-02 04:48

    Welcome to the sparkling, colorful and vibrant world of racehorses and tournaments with his legends, dramas and passions.... located in the USA of the nineteenth twenties .......Openly speaking, friends, let me say that I would never have pick up a book about racehorses and only because of the greats and awesome reviews at goodreads, and also because Laura Hillenbrand was the author, did I in the end made my mind up to read this one......and thanks God that I did!!!!!Let me tell you also that this book is written brilliantly and masterly, believe me folks, if I say that you will not be able to put it down, its not an exaggeration at all.....Then if you will include the fact that Hillenbrand was severely sick at the time she wrote it and has rendered indeed a marvelous and thoroughly researched piece of work, then you will be left dumbfounded to the uttermost.Also, I have learned a lot about horses, jockeys, tournaments, competitions, and the feeling that existed in the America of the depression era, people trying to recuperate from a financial depression and a war going on!!!!Having said that, it remains still a tale of resilience, fight, and the story of an underdog--what in my opinion is almost always a good one, indeed--The main characters arouse empathy, so that you will suffer with them, although they are full of flaws and defects, but they never give up!!!!Please, let me say it again, Laura Hillenbrand can indeed write, and that very very good!!!!!Believe me....."Seabiscuit" has reminded me positively of her other book "unbroken"......A wonderful and an inspiring tale, I did love and enjoy it to the uttermost indeed......Five stars, and happy about that!!!!!Dean;D

  • Swaps55
    2019-03-05 04:31

    I'm jealous of this woman, because she writes better than I do. I've always been a little snobby towards Seabiscuit, as I'm a devoted War Admiral fan, but this is probably the best book out there that really captures the essence of horse racing, and she picked the right horse to do it with.This story is not just about Seabiscuit. It's also about humanity, and most importantly (to me), racing itself, as it was in the 1930s. You will be astonished at what you learn from this book, from the incredible hardships jockies are willing to endure for love of their sport to the unique "underworld" that exists behind the scenes. Her research is extensive and meticulous, her writing style engaging and honest. She brings this whole world to life, and I'm thrilled that such a window into the sport that I love has been opened for the average person who knows nothing about it, nor has probably ever wondered or cared.

  • Atishay
    2019-03-21 03:33

    A true inspirational story about broken hearts and lost souls, the golden thread that holds them together and yes.. belief. Belief in oneself. A horse, trained to lose right from its birth. Lose so that others can look good when they win. Lose, so that when they win, they can look back and see others way behind. A horse, which has learned to live with pain and humiliation. A horse, which is angry. It is this horse that catches the eye of Tom Smith, a veteran horse trainer employed under Charles Howard, a broken industrialist who has lost his young son. Tom Smith realizes what the horse has been put through to and begins to heal it and make it start believing in itself. Enters Red Pollard, a loser jockey employed under Charles Howard too. The story then moves on to the relationship that Red Pollard and the horse share, the way they start to heal each other and what common things they find between themselves. Beautifully written and amazingly uplifting!

  • Angela M
    2019-03-17 06:52

    I don't read very much non- fiction but I just loved this !

  • Christina
    2019-03-01 07:47

    This was, truly, "fast-paced non-fiction." This book galloped along with all the speed of the horse it followed, which I find rare for books that simply relate a true story. Hillenbrand did a fantastic job giving a straightforward account of the history and background of Seabiscuit and the people around him, yet not once did she stoop to sounding like a pedantic authority on the subject. This book had all the tone and pace of great novels I've read, but it was so interesting to keep reminding myself that it actually happened!If you enjoyed the movie, you will definitely enjoy the book. The movie did a great job capturing what Hillenbrand did, with applaudingly similar style, but it couldn't have captured all the depth and side-stories that the book offered. I was initially worried that I would be forced to superimpose the faces from the movie onto the characters I was reading about, but the deftly-placed pictures in the book helped me get over that quickly.All in all, a fantastic book. Highly recommended.

  • Rebecca Rosenberg
    2019-03-11 07:50

    Laura Hillenbrand breathes life and intimate detail to the world of horse racing. I loved Sea Biscuit, the underdog, who prevailed to a hero. Laura writes non-fiction like the best fiction, and I appreciate the way she makes it real. Because of Seabisquit, I have attended horse races! And even bet! The latest race was the Breeders Cup at Del Mar, and the horse I bet on, (One Wild Broad?) won! What a thrill!Rebecca Rosenberg THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDONThe Secret Life of Mrs. LondonPlease FOLLOW! https://www.facebook.com/rebeccarosen... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072KRP7MNhttp://www.rebecca-rosenberg.com

  • Christie Bogle
    2019-03-12 06:51

    okay, so can I admit that I was weeping at the open of this book? I know, it is stupid. I love animals, and horses in particular, way too much. However, this book was opened so powerfully, I don't know if I can blame my love of animals for my tears this time around. Very well written for pleasure reading and captures the fanfare that was really a part of this horse.I let my grandmother tell me the whole story of how the world was divided as much by the rivalries between fans of Seabiscuit and fans of War Admiral. It was definately the biggest sport on radio at the time. What a nice thing to get to share with her before she passed on the following year!

  • Heather
    2019-03-03 02:30

    Seabiscuit has been sitting on my shelf for years because I never seemed to be in the mood to read a book about horse racing. Finally, trying to clear space, I decided it was now or never. Within the first chapter, I was hooked. The pacing is impeccable, the people (and horses) come to life, and I felt as if I were at the racetrack. The book reads like fiction, but the endnotes attest to its veracity. Now I'm trying to get my husband to read it, but he's never in the mood for a book about horse racing...After reading Seabiscuit and Unbroken, I will read absolutely anything Hillenbrand writes!

  • Lisa Kay
    2019-03-02 09:31

    ★★★★★ I LOVE this book! I have the full novel in the commemorative pictorial, the DVD, and now the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Campbell Scott. Ms. Hillenbrand has researched her topic well, but she brings it to the page with insight, humor and an emotional depth that make it additive. You want to find out more about these three misfits – excuse me, make that four misfits, including Seabiscuit – and find out how they won the love of a nation in the midst of the Great Depression. There is never anything dull and tedious presented here and it is full of surprises.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-25 01:33

    Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017: Read a book about sports. This book started slow, and then I could NOT put it down. I cried twice during race scenes, and had to stop reading before bed because my heart was pounding! I learned more about racing -- and Depression-era America -- than I ever expected. Especially interesting to me was the psychology of horses (how they play off each other's emotions during a race) and the physiology of being a jockey (making weight & serious injury -- whew). It was the kind of book where I always wanted to turn to someone and read them a part. If you can get this edition, do not miss the interview with the author at the end. Her research process (and how she works through serious illness) is fascinating and inspiring. I'm so glad I finally read this, and I'm already seeking out YouTube clips and the feature film. Highly recommended!Favorite quotes:“Even more encouraging, in the homestretch, Seabiscuit’s ears were up, a signal that the horse was running within himself.” Running within himself. I love this.“Enabling virtually all citizens to experience noteworthy events simultaneously and in entertaining form, radio created a vast common culture in America, arguably the first mass culture the world had ever seen. Racing, a sport whose sustained dramatic action was ideally suited to narration, became a staple of the airwave.”“Horses, mister, can have crushed hearts just like humans.”“After an advisor talked him into selling an especially slow one, Howard quietly bought him back. ‘You don’t understand,’ he explained. ‘This one used to eat sugar cubes out of my hand.’”

  • Inês Beato
    2019-03-20 01:32

    Seabiscuit foi um dos melhores cavalos de corrida de sempre e uma lenda do desporto equestre. Eu sou uma amante de cavalos, animais absolutamente notáveis com os quais sempre tive oportunidade de conviver desde pequena, pelo que foi com absoluto deleite que li a história deste cavalo fenomenal, contada magistralmente por Laura Hillenbrand. "Seabiscuit, an American Legend" apresenta um trabalho de pesquisa impressionante, aliado a uma escrita ímpar e uma capacidade para contar histórias digna de registo. Para além do percurso do cavalo, Hillenbrand foca-se igualmente nos vários intervenientes que contribuiram para o sucesso incomparável de Seabiscuit, como Howard, o dono, Tom Smith, o treinador e primeiro a acreditar naquele cavalo neurótico de pernas tortas, o Jockey Red Pollard e até George Woolf, que montou Seabiscuit durante a longa lesão de Pollard, includive na vitória contra War Admiral (outro cavalo fora de série), que surpreendeu o mundo em 1938. Eu fiquei bastante surpreendida e agradada com a qualidade da escrita de Hillenbrand, bem como com a sua capacidade de apresentar dados e factos, humanizar figuras históricas e criar ambientes únicos, como se o leitor estivesse a ser transportado para o início do século XX. A contextualização das diversas situações e eventos foi sempre muito bem feita e todas as informações, citações e detalhes importantes foram devidamente assinalados no texto e explicados em anexo. Surpreende-me e choca-me que Seabiscuit ainda não tenha sido publicado em Portugal. É uma obra fantástica que regista e imortaliza a vida de um cavalo inigualável.

  • Ed
    2019-02-28 09:45

    The wonderfully talented Laura Hillenbrand makes history come alive in this page turning account of the life and times of one of thoroughbreds greatest 4 legged athletes. After setting the depression era stage, the author examines the back-stories of Seabiscuit's charismatic owners; Charles and Marcella Howard, the enigmatic and gifted trainer Tom Smith, the very talented but hard luck jockey, Red Pollard and of course the protagonist, Seabiscuit. Where I might differ in the universally effusive praise of this fine book, concerns what I thought was overkill on the details of each race, especially the 1938 match race against the Eastern thoroughbred champion, War Admiral. Every conceivable detail was researched and covered in chapter sized length in the authors account of the events surrounding this monumental race and it was truly fascinating - up to a point. By that I mean, I've always like James Bond movies and have seen them all numerous times over the years. A new Daniel Craig/ Bond movie will be released this fall and I'll see it the first week because what's important to me is the finished product, not the myriad details of how the movie was made. As an old History major I've always thought it more important to write readable history than to get caught up in the weeds trying to use use every factoid one's research uncovers but hey, that just me.

  • Heather
    2019-02-26 06:30

    What an amazing story! I only regret that I didn't live in the time of Seabiscuit's glory! I fell in love with this horse! I have recently taken riding lessons (English)and this story was more meaningful because of the little experience I have had with horses. I have always loved this animal since my youth so reading a "horse" book sounded like fun. Being a true story made it a remarkable read! I liked the way it was written (by someone who knows horses inside and out). Very beautiful and descriptive. I enjoyed all the old photographs throughout the book that put you there in 1936. I learned about the early automobile days in SF and the fact that racing was huge in the early 20th century. I grew up in Nor Cal and appreciated the different, familiar towns, roads, and history. (Willits, CA)I was reminded of the hard life of the jockey, the pressure to loose weight before a race, their poverty, the extreme athletic expectations. I loved each character and felt for them so much that I cried at the end! The ability of an author to emotionally link the reader to the characters in such a way is always amazing to me! An inspiring story that will prove to you that no matter what odds are against you, if you want something bad enough, it can be yours! What looked very flawed on the outside had power and drive that won the world over! Never underestimate the under dog!

  • Swaroop
    2019-03-21 07:00

    Right now, I would read an obituary if it was written by Laura Hillenbrand. What a gift for words!I was very apprehensive about reading about a racehorse when I started the book, twenty minutes into the book, I was hooked. The fact that I had no idea about horse racing history made it even better; I had no idea what Seabiscuit had and hadn't, won so every race was thrilling.The little forays into lives of jockeys and horsemen in 1930s America were particularly brilliant. I would gladly read a book about this.The only thing that irked me a little was that I could sometimes figure out if the Biscuit had won the race just by the descriptions of the start of the race.The amount of research that must have gone into a book like this must have been immense, the footnotes reveal that there is little to no hyperbole in the story. It's so riveting, it's hard to believe that this is real life.

  • Laura
    2019-02-28 06:38

    Just arrived from USA through BM. Since I absolutely loved Unbroken, I decided to read LH's famous book after have watched the movie based on this book a long time ago.The main characters, Charles Howard, Red Pollard and Tom Smith are entwined into Seabiscuit's career and the book shows how his life changed their own lives forever.Even if it's a non-fiction book, Hillenbrand knows how to give a true fictional character to the narrative itself, putting her own heart on it.I am looking forward for her third book which I hope will come pretty soon.

  • K.M. Weiland
    2019-02-26 04:37

    This is a story for the ages. Hillenbrand does a magnificent job of capturing the swirling excitement that surrounded the unbelievable racing career of the unlikely Seabiscuit. Her exquisite attention to detail and her evocative but never ostentatious prose creates a lost world of Depression-era racing. She doesn't flinch from her cast's warts, but, in the end, we love them as much as we love the horse. Fantastic story, fantastically told.

  • Eric_W
    2019-03-14 08:47

    After having achieved fame and winning races all over the place, there was a great deal of pressure to run Seabiscuit in a match race against War Admiral, his blood relative who was cleaning up the tracks in the East. After finally making the arrangements for a race at Belmont in late 1939, not so easily done because War Admiral, a triple-crown winner, was due to be retired at the end of the year and what did the owner have to gain by possibly losing to a rival, the race was called off because Seabiscuit had knee problems. He was then entered in a race with War Admiral in a full field. "Red" Pollard, the jockey who was scheduled to ride him in the race, and who had ridden Seabiscuit many times, was terribly injured just before the race. He was known for his extraordinary use of scatological language and he was forced to make a 45 minute ride to the hospital with his leg horribly mangled. NBC arranged for a live interview with him and his good friend and rival jockey [c:]Wolf. Because network executives had nightmares that Pollard might indulge in his penchant for expletives, they gave both riders a spirit to follow. Everything was just fine until the interviewer had Wolf ask Pollard how he should ride Seabiscuit. At this point Pollard, in his hospital bed "accidentally drop the script and said as the producer rushed to give them to him in the correct order, "well you just put one leg over his back, put your feet in the stirrups, and then fuckitup as usual." As technicians tore out of their seats to cut the transmission, Wolf collapsed on the floor laughing hysterically. The match race was finally held at Pimlico in 1938. That year Seabiscuit obtained more newspaper space than Hitler or FDRSeabiscuit didn't look like much. With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs and a reputation for being lazy, loving to lie around his stall sleeping much more than most horses. He looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; he had heart. Tom Smith, one of the heroes of the story, had an uncanny ability to recognize quality in horses --"he had cultivated an almost mystical communication with horses" (but ironically hated talking to people) -- and to get the absolute best out of them. Smith had all sorts of tricks to make the horse adapt to unusual situations. Smith was a character himself who played all sorts of hide-and-seek games with the media so they would not find out how fast his horse was during practice sessions. There were numerous setbacks. On several occasions Charles Howard, Sea biscuit's owner, an automobile baron who once declared that "the day of the horse is past," was told by veterinarians that his horse would never run again after an injury, but each time Smith was able to nurse the horse back to greatness. And what's truly astonishing is that many of his record-breaking runs were made when he was considerably older than the other horses and carrying unheard of added weight. Not only that, Seabiscuit was known to slow down (this was even sometimes used as a strategy) to let other horses close up during a race, because Seabiscuit seemed to love taunting his rivals and then effortlessly racing ahead to finally win by several lengths.Hillenbrand describes the social atmosphere of the 1930s when Seabiscuit became an American icon: the snobbery of the eastern establishment that regarded western horses as inferior, and the horrible conditions that jockeys worked under. They were constantly dieting using even tapeworms and purgatives to lose weight. Often they were so weak they could barely keep themselves in the saddle.Hillenbrand is a wonderful story teller. You can feel yourself pulling for the characters, whipping through the pages to see what happens next. This book should not be missed.

  • JG (The Introverted Reader)
    2019-03-10 08:53

    Seabiscuit. An American Legend. I think the only reason I even know the horse's name is because of the movie they filmed a few years ago. I'm obviously not a horse-racing fan, right?I don't even remember why I grabbed this at a library book sale. A friend here on GR must have given it a good review. But I am so glad I read this. I've gotten much better about reading non-fiction over the past six months, but I was amazed at what a page-turner this was for me. I've been reading non-fiction before bed, thinking that would be a good time to squeeze it in because I wouldn't have to worry too much about getting caught up in the story and staying up all night. Bad move with this book. I was doing the "one more chapter" thing quite a bit.It was just a perfect mix of an underdog story and excellent writing. Hillenbrand has a gift for putting you right into the action. Not knowing if Seabiscuit was going to win or lose any given race, my stomach would knot up and I would start reading faster as he came out of the gates. I was worried about injuries. I was furious with jockeys whom I thought were cheating. My heart pounded as Seabiscuit came down the home stretch and I read ahead to find out if he pulled it off this time. What the heck has happened to me?!? Where did the woman who thought "Non-fiction is boring" go?This horse and his team are truly all-American legends. It seems that we love underdog stories and Seabiscuit, owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard were all underdogs at some point. Reading about their struggles and triumphs and, yes, even failures, was inspiring. If they can pull off something like this, why can't you or I?I loved reading about Tom Smith's unending feud with the press. I worried over Pollard, the injury-prone, Shakespeare-quoting jockey. Seabiscuit's quirks amused me to no end--unless he was messing around with another horse as the finish line approached. Then I just wanted to yell at him, "Stop horsing around! Just finish the race!" (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)Now that I've finished it, I've caught myself spouting off some random Seabiscuit trivia to my husband. "Oh, did you know that Seabiscuit hated to run on mud?" The Belmont Stakes was on tv. The track looked muddy. It seemed relevant. There was more, but I'll keep my own quirks to myself. The whole match race thing with War Admiral had me a nervous wreck! I just watched the real race on YouTube and, wow! It gave me goosebumps! It was funny to see Seabiscuit's awkward stride after reading so much about it and to know about all the prep work and psychology that went into that race.I just loved this book, and I can't say enough about it. So before I end up giving you a page-by-page summary and my reactions, just do us both a favor and go read it.

  • Nicole R
    2019-03-01 03:40

    I love horse racing. I do not know why I am so enamored with it and I certainly do not follow it year round, but for the few months of the Triple Crown I cannot get enough. I research the horses, I research the jockeys, I read about previous winners, trainers, owners, anything. That is a long way to say that I knew I would love this book. There is no way that I wouldn't. What I wasn't prepared for his how much I was completely captivated by Seabiscuit's story.Seabiscuit was an amazing horse. But, more than that, he was a symbol to American's during the Great Depression that an underdog could overcome all odds to win. His jockey, Red Pollard, was a symbol that a guy with nothing could find his niche and rise to greatness. Hillenbrand introduces us to these two horse racing icons as well as Seabiscuit's owner, Charles Howard, and trainer, Tom Smith. She beautifully sets the stage with the history of horse racing in California, how each of the main players--including Seabiscuit--ended up at the same place at the same time to form a team, and she takes us through Seabiscuit's racing career.I know how Seabiscuit's races turned out, I researched them a lot several years ago when the movie with Toby McGuire came out, and yet I was on the edge of my seat for every race described. I literally cried when Seabiscuit didn't win, smiled when he did, and was amazed at his comebacks.I listened to this on audio and the narrator was very good. I liked that his reading the racing scenes felt like an old-timey radio broadcaster was announcing it. As much as I loved it, I don't think I would recommend it to people who are not at least interested in horse racing. There was a lot of description of the races and that could easily get redundant even if the non-racing parts of the story were also brilliant.Excellent choice for this month's tag!

  • Elizabeth A
    2019-03-05 06:56

    I have seen, and loved, the movie based on this book several times, and as I tend to enjoy non-fiction reads during the summer, decided to dive in. I listened to the audiobook which is wonderfully narrated by George Newbern.This is narrative non-fiction at its best. I loved everything about this story. The characters, both human and horse, are broken but not out. The pacing of the story is excellent, and there were moments that I was on tenterhooks waiting to see what would happen next. Given that I already knew the outlines of the story and how it would end, that is some dang great writing. The book is so much better than the movie, in that it fleshes out the story of the characters, and captures a sense of place and time in America really well. I even learned that The Biscuit and I have some things in common: we both like to eat and take long naps.The one thing I did miss out on with the audio, are the photos in the book. Well, Google to the rescue. And if you have yet to see it, go now and and watch the video of the matched race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral and see if you don't get choked up.I listened to this story on long walks, and found my pace picking up each time Seabiscuit was racing. Even if you are not interested in horses, or horse racing, I would highly recommend this one.

  • Pete
    2019-02-24 03:47

    I absolutely loved this book. Hillenbrand's pacing and style draw's the reader in. Her attention to detail is captivating from the very first page. This is a book teeming with interesting and fascinating characters, not the least of which is Seabiscuit himself. As I read this book, I grew to love this magnificent animal; his quirky and mischievous personality, his gluttonous eating habits, his inner peace and serenity through tumultuous periods and, most of all, his unrelenting courage against all odds in the heat of "battle." Such a noble beast! And of course, the supporting cast is equally engaging. I was deeply moved by the story of the flawed and irrepressible jockey, Red Pollard; endlessly amused by the antics of the kindly yet irascible trainer Tom Smith; and felt like I was in the "owner's box" with the dedicated and generous owner Charles Howard and his wife Marcela, sharing in the thrills and heartbreaks of Seabiscuit's legendary exploits. On top of the fantastic characterization, Hillenbrand offers up not one, but two exciting climaxes(!), both of which left me absolutely breathless and spellbound: Seabiscuit's defining race with the magnificent War Admiral; and Red Pollard's race for redemption and final great victory at the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap. This is a beautifully crafted book that, is a "can't miss" for just about anyone!

  • Audrey
    2019-02-24 05:37

    I just started this book. On page one of the prologue, I had the chilling and paranoid feeling that I had better not read it yet because it was going to be one of the best horse books I could ever read (and now that I've read Horse Heaven, after this book, all horse books must only be downhill, it seems to me right now), and about the very best horse who has ever lived. So I should save it, HOARD it, like a hamster, put off the pleasure and savour its expectation.However, I am still reading it.Also, a full-fledged fantasy came into being for me around page ten, when I was reading about the brilliant young automobile magnate who would one day own Seabiscuit. This fantasy was actually conceived, I think, while reading one of these new reader-book-club-guide-author-P.S-things that are so in vogue now, at the end of the book I finished yesterday, The All True Travels and Adventures of Lydie Newton. TATTAAOLN, by the same author as Horse Heaven, was written before it, but has a couple horses in it, so it was like one could see how Jane Smiley must have loved writing those few little horse scenes, and even a page-long horse race, in the earlier book and then that launched her into Horse Heaven, which I imagine to have been written in a state of horsey ecstasy. Anyway, in the PS, she talks about how important it is to her to live in the present as much as possible - appreciate the joy in writing, in her children and in her horses. And she talks about how being around horses necessitates being absolutely in the present moment because they are physically dangerous animals.I guess that all sat in my mind and then while sitting on this shaded, flowery veranda today, reading about this businessman who was buying himself a ranch and who was soon going to care about horses and horse-racing, I suddenly thought, "I want to own horses!" That's all. That's my fantasy. I have never ever had it before. I am not a horsewoman but maybe inside I am, and I just don't know it yet. Also, in this fantasy, I have a pet crow.

  • Suzanne
    2019-03-08 05:54

    After reading this one, all I can say is "Wow!" Laura Hillenbrand, with her two books of non-fiction, has risen to the top of my all-time favorite authors.In this work on the famed depression-era racehorse, Seabiscuit, Hillenbrand presents a story so captivating and remarkable that I found myself completely unable to put the book down. The author doesn't just tell us about a horse or a race, but she clearly did a monumental amount of research to let her readers actually get to know this horse, the jockeys, the trainer and the owner. She truly has a gift for making certain that all relevant information is included - especially important background information to correctly place the events and people in context.The result is a story that feels like your own story - one you immediately connect with. Through Hillenbrand's narrative gifts, I got to know Red Pollard, Tom Smith and Charles Howard. I cried for the jockeys and my eyes were drawn to a little horse with a whole lot of heart. Seabiscuit's story is remarkable and important - and thanks to Laura Hillenbrand, it won't be forgotten.

  • Ray Campbell
    2019-03-18 04:47

    Really nice surprise. I'm not a betting person nor interested in horses. I was also under the impression this was a novel on which the movie was based. I was wrong. This is a straight history. It begins at the turn of the century and paints a vivid picture of the world at the time. From the San Fransisco Earthquake to the Great Depression, Hillenbrand draws a line and tells not merely the story of a great racing horse, but expresses the meaning of him life in the context of his times. Not at all what I expected and very, very good.I am a fan of Simon Winchester, Bill Bryson, Jon Krakauer... generally, journalists and scholars who take everything from the mundane to the spectacular and make a personal, emotional connection that is strangely compelling. Jonathan Harr's Lost Painting is in this category as well. Good history transcends it's subject and leaves one feeling as though they have been transported to another time. Hillenbrand does this brilliantly.

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-19 08:48

    Such a diversity of emotions I felt while reading this. Although I was rather bored in the preliminary introductions of horse and the men around said horse, I hung on for dear life along with the jockies during the detailed descriptions of the races. There are actually two climaxes to the story, two long-anticipated races in Seabiscuit's career. I felt chills and tears in my eyes during these perfectly-described, history-making events. I wish I had read Seabscuit's story before I and a group of college friends went to the Kentucky Derby back in 1973; maybe I could have convinced our impatient driver not to make us leave to get a heads up on traffic prior to the last, most important race of that day, Secretariat's.

  • Donna
    2019-02-26 08:36

    4.5 starsSeabiscuit is such a great story. I loved this book. It was so well written. Laura Hillenbrand managed to capture the horse racing world in a vivid way. And that also included the lives of the trainers and the jockeys. What demanding jobs they had. I can't imagine being a jockey, because most of them had such a sad life and most were destitute. Overall, I enjoyed learning about everything this book had to offer.

  • Allison Anderson Armstrong
    2019-03-21 08:40

    Wow, Laura Hillenbrand amazes me again with her detailed, historical narrative of a subject that I was not initially super interested in. I have always loved horses but this story brought the sport of horse racing and jockeying to life! I can't believe how much research she had to do to write this book, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who just likes a good read. A bit too many facts and detail at times bogged me down, but overall I am enthralled with this writer.

  • Betsy
    2019-03-17 09:44

    This is the story of a horse and the three men who had the most influence on his career, his owner, his trainer, and his main jockey. Seabiscuit wasn't the most beautiful of horses and he had some physical problems, but he could run and run he did. The celebrated horse was popular in the pre-WWII years as he won many races in the West. He did not run in any of the Triple Crown competitions.This book also discusses the men who found a way to bring the feisty but frequently lazy horse to greatness. 'Tom' Smith, the trainer, is especially interesting since he was a quiet, private individual who asked for nothing more than to be with horses. Red Pollard, the jockey, sacrificed his health to stay atop Seabiscuit, frequently undergoing near torture to make the weight restrictions. The owner, Charles Howard, seemed to be a good man who would scratch the horse from races rather than endanger Seabiscuit in muddy conditions.For five years a horse and three men astounded the racing world with what they could achieve. This book celebrates that achievement.