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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
If you love horses, you must read this book. He looked like a scraggly little mistake that took racing to another level. Author Laura Hillenbrand is my new favorite author. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Diane Kelly
Wow, it was great. I enjoyed the story and learning lots of information about horse racing.Published 4 days ago by Sue
This is an incredibly well written book. The extraordinary word choice puts you in the shoes of each character. Not to mention the amazing plot.Published 8 days ago by Lindsi Roberts
Another excellent book by Hillenbrand. The story is amazing, the research was fantastic, and told in a very exciting manner.Published 11 days ago by D. Waterman
Hillenbrand is a brilliant writer who skillfully creates the era as well as telling the story of Seabiscuit and the three principal men who worked together to bring the horse to... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Karen L. Durst