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Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura…

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

by Laura Hillenbrand

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I have pretty much zero interest in sports, horses, or horse racing. Despite that, I really loved this book. The writing is gripping without being overwrought, and I was completely pulled into the story of Seabiscuit, his unlikely owner and trainers, and his even more unlikely jockeys. The descriptions of the races themselves were thrilling, and by the end I really felt like I had a good feel for the personalities of everyone involved, including the horse. I will definitely pick up more of this author's work. ( )
  duchessjlh | Mar 10, 2019 |
The book written like a journal article, it describes in detail the events and the characters, leaving you tense to know what will happen and who will win the next race. Images taken at the time are attached to each chapter and add to the reading experience. The author demonstrates a great deal of professional knowledge and fascinating writing skills. The book added a great deal of knowledge about the pre-World War II United States and the naive and straightforward people who put it together, literally building its strength.

As for the type of books I read and don't, I was surprised for good by this one. ( )
  bookloverreview | Mar 9, 2019 |
Only an author of Laura's calibre could turn such a seemingly mundane topic as horse racing into such a gripping tale. ( )
  Peter.S | Aug 22, 2018 |
An interesting account of the men who made Seabiscuit a focus of their lives and talents from 1937 to 1940 and the phenomenon that was made of him and his career. Laura Hillenbrand writes spectacularly unindulgent race scenes from the jockey's viewpoint in which calculation and intensity are perfectly balanced with the flow. The majority of the narrative is not race scenes and the flow is roughened by staying much further on the calculated side rather than the impassioned one. A good book about a great horse. ( )
  quondame | Aug 9, 2018 |
Vivid descriptions of events and the people who shaped the popular Thoroughbred Seabiscuit reminds me of the enthusiasm my parents - in particular my father - had for this horse and his triumphs. The story of the trainer Tom Smith and jockey Red Pollard made me imagine my father in those roles, since so much of his life and dreams intersected with the lives of those men. I'm glad Laura Hillenbrand uncovered these details through meticulous research so we can relive this story as if we are living it in the present. ( )
  lwobbe | Aug 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hillenbrand, Lauraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, Richard M.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Nobody lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.
    -- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
For Borden
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In 1938, near the end of a decade of monumental turmoil, the year's number-one-newsmaker was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler, or Mussolini.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345465083, Mass Market Paperback)

He didn't look like much. With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, "was mostly in his heart." Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of the horse who became a cultural icon in Seabiscuit: An American Legend.

Seabiscuit rose to prominence with the help of an unlikely triumvirate: owner Charles Howard, an automobile baron who once declared that "the day of the horse is past"; trainer Tom Smith, a man who "had cultivated an almost mystical communication with horses"; and jockey Red Pollard, who was down on his luck when he charmed a then-surly horse with his calm demeanor and a sugar cube. Hillenbrand details the ups and downs of "team Seabiscuit," from early training sessions to record-breaking victories, and from serious injury to "Horse of the Year"--as well as the Biscuit's fabled rivalry with War Admiral. She also describes the world of horseracing in the 1930s, from the snobbery of Eastern journalists regarding Western horses and public fascination with the great thoroughbreds to the jockeys' torturous weight-loss regimens, including saunas in rubber suits, strong purgatives, even tapeworms.

Along the way, Hillenbrand paints wonderful images: tears in Tom Smith's eyes as his hero, legendary trainer James Fitzsimmons, asked to hold Seabiscuit's bridle while the horse was saddled; critically injured Red Pollard, whose chest was crushed in a racing accident a few weeks before, listening to the San Antonio Handicap from his hospital bed, cheering "Get going, Biscuit! Get 'em, you old devil!"; Seabiscuit happily posing for photographers for several minutes on end; other horses refusing to work out with Seabiscuit because he teased and taunted them with his blistering speed.

Though sometimes her prose takes on a distinctly purple hue ("His history had the ethereal quality of hoofprints in windblown snow"; "The California sunlight had the pewter cast of a declining season"), Hillenbrand has crafted a delightful book. Wire to wire, Seabiscuit is a winner. Highly recommended. --Sunny Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

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Retraces the journey of Seabiscuit, a horse with crooked legs and a pathetic tail that made racing history in 1938, thanks to the efforts of a trainer, owner, and jockey who transformed a bottom-level racehorse into a legend.

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