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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
I discovered this author after reading "Unbroken." It's an interesting subject, but the star is really the writing. Laura Hillenbrand is extremely talented. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by R Peterson
Ms. Hillenbrand does her research, this is no romanticized fiction! One of the books that can be read long into the night!Published 3 days ago by Lynda McHugh
Every word sings from the page, a beautiful piece of story-telling and what a story this is to tell. I am not a horsey person, but that doesn't matter. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Neil Harman
A couple of times I would say to myself while reading this book " how did Hillenbrand project manage this?" . Read morePublished 4 days ago by Dr. M. Miles Beach
Wonderful detail regarding the lives of the key players in the saga of this great race horse. The book is about so much more than the horse. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Linda Tappa
Laura Hillenbrand's Novel "Seabiscuit" is a literary canvas of the events and the mood of the Great Depression and what a valiant "cow pony" did to change it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Raul Castaneda