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Never Say Die: A Kentucky Colt, the Epsom Derby, and the Rise of the Modern Thoroughbred Industry Hardcover – April 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nicholson has done a very fine job of placing the unique role of Never Say Die in perspective within the specific confines of Thoroughbred racing history, while at the same time explaining how this horse was touched by a vivid array of characters in other social and historical contexts. Who would have imagined that a racehorse would link such diverse institutions as the Singer sewing machine company, the Epsom Derby, and the Beatles?"―Edward L. Bowen, author of nineteen books on Thoroughbred racing

"As a reader, I was left with a clear understanding of how the breeding industry has gone global, and importantly, how it will always follow the money. Racing enthusiasts will enjoy how the author sews together this unusual patchwork of characters into a narrative."―John Eisenberg, author of The Great Match Race: When North Met South in America's First Sports Spectacle

"[E]nlightening and entertaining [ . . .] Nicholson's tale of close connections and global links is a yarn worth following."―Wall Street Journal

"Nicholson tells Never Say Die's story by placing him at the center of a sprawling web of connections. By tracing that web, Nicholson is able to explain not only how the heart of the Thoroughbred racing industry moved from England to Kentucky, but also charts the evolution of the post-war world; American industrialists, Saudi sheikhs and The Beatles all factor into [the] narrative. [ . . . ] [I]ntriguing."―Thoroughbred Daily News

"Nicholson explores this material thoroughly and concisely, never straying far from his central narrative, but never limiting his focus. ― Michael Illiano"―Michael Illiano, Thoroughbred Daily News

"Mr. Nickolson's tale of close connections and global links is a yarn worth following, and will take the reader to 1964, and to 1954, and beyond. ― Mary Jean Wall"―Mary Jean Wall, Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Nicholson's tale of close connections and global links is a yarn worth following, and will take the reader back to 1964, and to 1954, and beyond. ― The Wall Street Journal"―Maryjean Wall, The Wall Street Journal

"Explores the transformation of the thoroughbred industry with the upset victory of Never Say Die, a Kentucky-born colt, in England's Derby Stakes on June 2, 1954. ― The Chronicle of Higher Education"―The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Begin with the main ingredient of a Kentucky-born colt, Never Say Die... Sprinkle in the Beatles, several Aga Khans, the best jockey in contemporary British turf history, a Bluegrass horse breeder from a prominent Pittsburgh industrial family whose fortunes went south, two founders of the Singer Sewing Machine Company... This eclectic mix is a recipe for a fascinating historical journey. ― Horse Racing Business"―Bill Shanklin, Horse Racing Business

"Never Say Die... chronicles the history of an extraordinary colt, the Epsom Derby and the rise of the modern Thoroughbred industry... Nicholson also tells the stories of the influential individuals brought together by the horse and his victory, from the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune to the Aga Khan. ― Kentucky Alumni"―Kentucky Alumni

"This book should definitely be of interest to racehorse enthusiasts and documents the capricious nature of history... the seemingly overwhelming love of Kentuckians for horses, and some popular history of this Commonwealth. ― Park City Daily News"―Carlton Jackson, Park City Daily News

"In Never Say Die: A Kentucky Colt, the Epsom Derby, and the Rise of the Modern Thoroughbred Industry, author and attorney Nicholson relates more than a simple memoir of a racehorse that made history... Relying on meticulous research, the author takes on the difficult task of showing how seemingly unrelated entities such as The Beatles, the Singer Sewing Machine Company, the Sultan Mohammed Shah and Queen Victoria created a sure but circuitous path that led to central Kentucky's near universal designation as "Horse Capital of the World." ―Kentucky Monthly"―Steve Flairty, Kentucky Monthly

"Nicholson once again delivers a solid work that, like The Kentucky Derby, is both entertaining and a significant contribution to the equine literature."―Ohio Valley History

About the Author

James C. Nicholson is the author of The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; First Edition, First Printing edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813141672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813141671
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never Say Die is an amazing story centering on one thoroughbred with a goal to educate readers on the growth of the American racing industry. James Nicholson has found such disparate tidbits as the titled horse's connection with the Beatles and has woven them into a very informative work. Nicholson's research also can be a bit of a curse as he often tries to squeeze too many facts into a sentence which creates a logjam with flow. Some sections discussing bloodlines almost take on a biblical appearance, sounding like one generation begats another which begats another and so forth. This exercising of the author's research muscle is distracting, but not detracting from the purpose of the book and the story. Racing fans will love it, while civilian readers will find it a safe bet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any lover of horseracing should read this book. The information provided is invaluable and the story line is one that is difficult to put down. Even if you aren't a big fan the book is one that captivates you from the beginning with the ties to the Beatles. Truth is always more fascinating than fiction and this book proves it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting book. Possibly contains more information on the people involved in ownership and racing of the horse than most Thoroughbred books.
Once again, the photographs are very good.
A very enjoyable book. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing set of coincidences all coming together involving the English Derby and the start of the Beatles. Very well written
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting and easy to read narrative, however repetitive. While the book brings together a set of amazing connections through Never Say Die, Nicolson's countless use of a variation of the phrase "permanently change the landscape of racing" was a bit tedious. Good read for avid racing fans, but if you want a good story reading the summary should suffice.
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