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Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning Paperback – May 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a geezer who, at age 7, actually saw Man O'War "in person" the year before he died so the book had special meaning for me. Even though I have read other books on Big Red, this one was wonderfully detailed with racing lore and life among the rich in that era.
I'm from Michigan and my parents took me, a horse-crazy girl, to Kentucky to visit the horse farms of the area which one could do back then. One could even drive through most of the pastures, stopping to open and close the gates on the way. You could walk through the barns and many grooms would lead out a prized and loved horse for you if you showed knowledge about and interest in horses. I still remember seeing Man O'War. He was in a four-stall stallion barn with three other horses- his sons War Admiral and War Relic and a stable pony. The other horses were shown to us first and then the groom stepped to THE stall and opened the door for those of us waiting in the barn aisle. The adults in front saw that I couldn't see and let me stand in front. There was Big Red with his head high in the air, giving us a disdainful glance. He knew why we were there and it really was all about HIM.
This book brought all those memories back and gave me new insights. Not as fine a book as Seabiscuit, but a good story of racing and sport in the 10s and 20s.
Red, as Man O' War was often called, comes to life in this book and the research Ours must have undertaken is impressive. There's a lot of great drama regarding the people who surrounded Red, including his jockey who was accused of throwing a race. Great stuff.
The reader regally captures the personalities, the controversies and the racers in what many consider "The Golden Age of Sports." The vast research by Ours and her flowing writing style makes the era come alive.
It may come as a surprise that industry issues like juiced tracks, juiced runners and equally juicy rumors surrounding jockeys, gamblers and security issues at the tracks that capture headlines today were front-page issues nearly 90 years ago.
The book is a must for a fan of Thoroughbred racing. And it is about time for those who learned about the sport through the classic book and movie about Seabiscuit to get reacquainted with the Sport of Kings.
I bought the book because I dated her mother in 1952 while in high school and through the miracle of the Internet I recently exchanged a few e-mails with her. One of these messages told me that her daughter had written a book about Man o'War. What could I do but buy the book? I certainly would have in 1952, had a similar occasion have arisen, and I could do no less now. And if she ever asked how I liked it, I didn't want to say that I hadn't read it. With a sinking heart, expecting the worst, I opened it up.
Reading about Man o'War's races was like reading about Joe Lewis's fights or Red Grange's football games. Even though I knew that Man o'War was going to beat Sir Barton, I worried that maybe this time he wouldn't.
I knew that Man o'War lost one race but I didn't know where or when and this gave me anxiety until the dreaded moment finally arrived.
The races are mixed in with stories of fixers (Arnold Rothstein fequented the tracks), dopers, owners, trainers and jockies. Lou Feustel, Man o'War's trainer and Sam Riddle, his owner, looked and behaved as if they had been cast in Hollywood.
The Saratoga racing season was described as a meeting of the rich and famous from around the world mixed in with the jockies and stable hands, exercisers, Pinkerton detectives; it seems to take a lot of people to keep a racing stable going. I guess that's why rich people have racing stables. But the big crowd at Saratoga, and races generally,were the regular guys who came from far and wide to see and bet on the horses.
Anyway, despite myself, I liked the book and was glad I read it. The ending is a little sad as endings are when peak experiences occur too soon in life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this book. Very detailed of the era and personnel involved around Man o' War.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am a HUGE fan of all the famous race horses and the incredible history behind each and every one. I have read a LOT of books regardng them all--this is a VERY GOOD BOOK!!!Published 2 months ago by Grannie Judy
Very informative adventures of the early days of horse racing events.Published 4 months ago by deziner
Really informative and historical really good i learned alot of horse racing at the early 20th century!! really liked itPublished 7 months ago by Kristine Riddle
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... Read morePublished 10 months ago by happyreader10
As a fan of racing history, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author delves into the backgrounds of the many individuals who were part of Man o'War's road to greatness and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Horse Lover
I've loved horses all my life. I've been riding since I was 2. (Yes, TWO). I've seen a lot of the greats, Secraterait, Damascus, Dr. Fager, StGedoor Johnny,Published 16 months ago by Old Books