Customer Review

125 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of an Epoch in American History! Wonderful!, May 26, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback)
This fascinating work of non-fiction is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Unlike a lot of historical non-fiction, this intriguing story did not read like a textbook - it read like fiction and not once did I find myself skimming the details ... too interesting to skim through!
When I first heard about this story, I wasn't sure about it - after all, I really know (or should I say "knew") very little about horse racing. Despite my misgivings, I soon realized that a major purpose of this book was not only to teach the reader about this sport via Seabiscuit's career but also to memorialize the amazing individuals (Charles Howard, Tom Smith, Red Pollard, George Woolf, etc.) who defied all odds to make such a successful racing career possible.
I especially liked the chapters dealing with the difficulties of life as a jockey - the way the jockeys punished their bodies to the extreme for the honor of participating in a harrowingly dangerous sport was truly unbelievable...and I thought ballerinas were harsh on their bodies when it came to weight loss! Red was my favorite character and I can't help wondering if the author felt a particular kinship with the jockey as a result of her own struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - after all, she did have to push her own body beyond her normal physical limits to complete her research and write this amazing book!
Ms. Hillenbrand successfully incorporated the story of Seabiscuit's racing career into the historical context of the era. Seabiscuit was a much needed diversion for Americans who were suffering the depths of the Great Depression. ...And perhaps, through Laura Hillenbrand, Team Seabiscuit is still providing us all with an inspirational diversion from today's distressing headlines!
Oh - and don't skip the interview with Laura Hillenbrand at the end of the book. It was very interesting to see how Ms. Hillenbrand's own background influenced her writing and how her research helped her to resurrect this intriguing epoch in American history.
I'm excited about the movie although I hope Universal Studios does this wonderful literary work justice!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 8, 2013 7:42:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2013 7:43:14 PM PST
Bruce Martin says:
The movie didn't do anything in the book justice - I wouldn't pay a plug nickel for a ticket to see that Hollywood horror. It had no continuity, skipped huge parts of the plot, and left one wondering what the story was about, if there were any story at all. The book was one of the best tales of depression era times I've ever read, so it sits on my shelves just waiting for a rainy day and a re-read. Phenomenal!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2014 11:19:39 AM PST
FinChase says:
I agree that the film was a disappointment compared to the book. I've read this book several times and given copies to a number of friends, but once was enough for the film.

My advice to anyone interested in this subject is to skip the movie and read the book. You won't be sorry.
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