An American Legend

eBook - 2001
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

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.

BONUS: This edition contains a Seabiscuit discussion guide and an excerpt from Unbroken .

Praise for Seabiscuit

"Fascinating . . . Vivid . . . A first-rate piece of storytelling, leaving us not only with a vivid portrait of a horse but a fascinating slice of American history as well." -- The New York Times

"Engrossing . . . Fast-moving . . . More than just a horse's tale, because the humans who owned, trained, and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating. . . . [Laura Hillenbrand] shows an extraordinary talent for describing a horse race so vividly that the reader feels like the rider." -- Sports Illustrated

Publisher: New York : Ballantine, c2001.
ISBN: 9780345467393
Characteristics: 1 online resource : ill.


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Jun 30, 2018

Laura Hillenbrand's considerable brilliance as a writer is underscored by her ability to coax into the light what she writes about in the Acknowledgements section of Seabiscuit: "the texture of my subjects' personalities, their complex relationships, motives, fears, thoughts, and secrets." I have great respect not only for Hillenbrand's writing, but also for her storytelling, which breathed life into long-dead characters and recreated the mystique, the strategy, the intensity, the extreme demands and the thrill of horse racing.

Jun 05, 2018

I've returned to this read & even bought a used copy of the film - it's a favorite. The depth Hillenbrand goes to in research & telling this life (lives of the others who come together) is inspiration. For anyone person or age that has no idea of what the 1930's depression was about, this is a place to start. In 2018, I feel we could use a Seabiscuit.

Jun 27, 2017

This book chronicles the amazing story of Seabiscuit. Filled with immeasurable details and anecdotes, the book relays the triumphs and hardships of horse racing in the early 20th century. Although written as non-fiction the book reads as a complete story. Its gripping details make the reader feel as if you are reliving the moments in Seabiscuit's career. The thoughts and emotions of the characters are vividly brought to life. I am not a horse racing enthusiast but found this book wonderful and captivating.

Jun 14, 2016

I've no interest in horse racing, or other sports. But I just read, and loved, "The Boys in the Boat," about the US crew that won the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I knew of this book, and how much others liked it. It was a great book, with multiple heroes--the horse, his owner, trainer, and jockey. Putting the long journey for Seabiscuit to prove he could REALLY run into the context of the Depression improved it. This book could have benefitted from tighter editing. "The Boys in the Boat" had a more spiritual outlook than this one. Horse racing seemed focused on the winning of big prizes in a way that the crew racing world was not. A great story, but not as superb as the story of the 1936 Olympics.

Jun 13, 2016

I really enjoyed Seabiscuit. The story is fascinating and well written with thoughtful parallels between what was occurring on and off the track at this time. At moments I found myself tearing up or a race that was ran almost 80 years ago and people that died 30 years ago. How can you not love an underdog story?
I have tried to read Unbroken several time, but the story is not as compelling as this one about a little brown horse.

Jan 23, 2016

Seabiscuit: an American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand is a remarkably well researched and well told story of one of the past century's great sporting legends. To quote Hillenbrand herself. "...these men and this horse are remembered again."

Dec 31, 2014

Best book about horse racing!!!

sharonb122 Jun 26, 2014

Great book! I thought that reading race details over and over would b boring, but not at all. Stories of the people's lives were amazing. Woven through was history of the 1930s, descriptions of the jockeys jobs and the story of the phenomena that was Seabiscuit. Wish she could have included a glossary of racing terms, but really glad reading program at our library suggested reading a non fiction book about animals. It had lots of pathos, as well.

Feb 15, 2014

excellent description of the period. A memorable passage is the description of these tremendously athletic beasts during a race.

Agent13 Jun 13, 2012

With racing season upon us, I read this book; a story of overcoming big odds (of the four legged variety). Us "two leggers" can benefit. I think, though, that the author overstates the case that Seabiscuit's plight was deeply felt by America and what we were going through (the Depression) at the time. The highlight of the book is a contest between Seabiscuit and Man O' War, the "Babe Ruth" of horses.

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May 11, 2014

sach1212 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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