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Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance Hardcover – May 8, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Whether writing about boxers, bodybuilders, horses . . . Nack is brilliant." -- Boston Globe

About the Author

William Nack is the author of Secretariat: The Making of a Championand My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life. As a writer at Sports Illustrated, he won 7 Eclipse Awards for his coverage of thoroughbredracing. Nack also has contributed to GQ. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: ESPN; 1St Edition edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933060301
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933060309
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Elizabeth Starr on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have read both Nack's Secretariat and Jane Schwartz's Ruffian book. I am always a fan of Nack and always look forward to reading anything he writes on horse racing in Sports Illustrated. I was thrilled to learn he was writing a book on my favorite racehorse . I was a little disappointed that Nack's version of Ruffian's life was so short, but since Schwartz's book already covered Ruffian's life beautifully, it was interesting to read Nack's take on this magnificent filly. He actually brought something new to the table in his tale, and that is saying a lot since I have read every article and book on Ruffian that I could get my hands on. I like how the book, was also about his life and what he was doing during the best decade for thoroughbred racing. He clearly shows his passion for the sport, and it is nice to see his isn't just from the gambling aspect of it. He sees the thoroughbred's majesty and gets what lures all types of people to the sport, not just the hard core gambler. Even the casual racing fan will enjoy this book. I look forward to the movie (as it is long overdue), and I would also suggest that Nack write a story about his life as it follows all decades of thoroughbred racing he was alive for. Thank you Mr. Nack for all bringing this star filly back to life again. There will never be another one like her!
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Format: Hardcover
Nack's new book is as much a personal memoir as a recounting of Ruffian's story. It weaves together Ruffian's story with his own thoughts on racing and his experiences as a journalist covering the sport. Nack's writing is, as always, beautiful and only occasionally over-the-top. I would not consider this to be the definitive book on Ruffian (that honor belongs to Jane Schwartz' book), but it is still a must-read for racing fans. Nack has managed to create a thoughtful reflection on the meaning of racing, and the brilliance of that lovely, amazing filly that was Ruffian.
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Format: Hardcover
I was eagerly waiting for this book. Hadn't I read Nack's "Secretariat - The making of a Champion" barely being able to put it down ?! Well, his book on Ruffian is really only a romance... short and not much to it (the book has 107 pages). It reads like if Nack had put some puzzle pieces together, here a papersnip, there a few words from trainer or jockey so and so, but forgot to make a story with them. There are six pictures, only one of them shows Ruffian :( I don't really understand what that double wide picture of Secretariat's Belmont win (the one that we all know) has to do there. He writes he was jealous of Ruffian because she took the room that Secretariat had left . Also, Secretariat's Trainer Lucien Laurin said she was better as a two year old than Secretariat had been. Nack seems to have a dualistic relationshop with Ruffian. At one point he states his jealousy only went away when she was dead. Elsewhere in the book one can feel he admired her a lot.

I can't really recommend the book. It's really NOT what I had expected from William Nack, certainly not after "Secretariat" !
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
for race track goers this story is one that you have to hear. i mean: come on..... a horse that raced that never had another horse infront of it... and broke multiple track records... that's a good story. William Nack is a fantastic writer and he does not disappoint in this story. If i were to have one criticism it would be that the print in the book is too small, which makes it only 100 pages, i find the print difficult to read. However, once i got into it i couldn't put it down.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't understand the negative reviews of this book. I thought it was a wonderful and touching eye witness tribute to Ruffian. While there is great information about Ruffian in this book, it is more a book of the heart than the head as the subtitle "A Racetrack Romance" indicates.
The ending brought chills up and down my spine. While I understand that there are much more serious tragedies in the world, I can't remember the last time I read a book that touched my heart and emotions like Nack's book. Each page I turned I learned more about this incredible horse and her greatness but each page brought a sense of foreboding, knowing that a terrible ending was drawing closer. But I could not put the book down. Thank you William Nack. Thank you for this touching tribute to Ruffian. In a small way you gave us a fitting tribute to this wonderful horse.
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Format: Hardcover
Nack's personal account of his life in the horseracing industry is a perfect backdrop for this intimate, well-written account of Ruffian. Nack's insight and research is top-notch given his perspective as a reporter covering horseracing for Newsday in the early 70's; we meet his friends and experience first-hand the people who surround these wonderful animals - from Alfred Vanderbilt to Frank Whiteley, from Andy Beyer to Jacinto Vasquez. Nack's prose is rich - one of my favorite lines, "I had been around racehorses and racetracks for twenty years, and I had never seen a two-year-old do what she was doing - and with an insouciance that bordered on the downright cavalier, moving as she pleased with a restrained grace and power and at velocities rarely seen in animals so young. She was in my experience sui generis."

This is the best book I have read in the last year. This is the best book I have ever read on horseracing - perhaps even eclipsing Nack's first book, "Secretariat".
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