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on May 24, 2017
Great book about about a fairytale horse who stole the hearts of America. I'm 70 and can remember Seabiscuit appearing in cartoons we'd watch on Saturday mornings in the 50's. I'd always wonder about those cameos and why they were there. This book explains why: Seabiscuit was a national phenomenon.
The book tells the story of the horse and the exceptional team of owner, trainer and jockeys that combined to create that phenomenon. At the same time the details behind and within the 2 minutes of a horse race. The book is totally fascinating and I read it once every few years for both the content and excellent story telling of Hillenbrand. Another favorite by her is "Unbroken" about an exceptional track star in the 1940's.
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on May 24, 2017
I reread this book after my initial read several years ago, and it was just as enjoyable as my first. Ms. Hillenbrand's extremely well-researched story puts you right in the saddle alongside Seabiscuit jockeys Red Pollard and George Woolf. My Uncle Nori owned several thoroughbred race horses - most of them Claimers - and told me something that I had always taken as a trainer's unfounded superstition when he said, "...you can tell if a horse is ready to run by feeling his ankles." We were in a stable at Caliente Race Track at the time, and I was just 10 years old. Uncle Nori knelt beside his horse, Toro Tuck, and wrapped his hands around the horses lower leg. "Cold as ice," he smiled back at me. "He's ready to go today." I recall being up in the grandstands watching the finish of the race - and hearing my uncle yell his lungs out, "Look at him go! Look at him go!" When the results were posted, and Toro Tuck was declared the winner, I turned to my uncle and asked him if he had put any money on his horse. He smiled down at me and fanned about a half-dozen $100 Win tickets at me. Hillenbrand's book brought all these vivid memories rushing back to me, and verified the truth behind my uncle's insight into a thoroughbred's race readiness.
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on January 10, 2018
I have read and reread Seabiscuit at least 3 or 4 times. To me, it's a classic! The author develops the characters thoroughly, including Seabiscuit. The owner, trainer, and jockey were incredible people. They were all very sensitive to each other's knowledge and expertise when it came to Seabiscuit. There were numerous times throughout the book when the author was describing a race...I found may heart pounding as if I was actually watching a real horse race. Seabiscuit was an amazing animal. He was intelligent, sensitive, and cunning. Even though he was not the most beautiful horse, he loved competition. He truly is "an American legend." Please read this book...it's a feel good story, and will bring a tear to your eye.
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on May 23, 2017
The author did extensive research to bring this historical event so everyone could read it. I am now fascinated with horse racing. I admit I skipped a few paragraphs where it did not interest me, but so well documented and organized. I could see those horses racing in the dust, rain, mud, and whatever else. The flair and flavors were there!
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2010
A story about a horse that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, "Seabiscuit" is almost too good to be true. Yet Laura Hillenbrand's 2001 book about an ungainly thoroughbred who would win 33 races and upend a sport comes with generous footnotes that tether it to reality.

Even so, the book starts with a bit of a whopper: The claim Seabiscuit was a bigger newsmaker in 1938 than FDR or Hitler. Snopes.com picks this one apart, though it doesn't change a jot of my admiration for the book or its author. Some authors work with dry data and musty factoids. Hillenbrand resurrects passions and reassembles the texture of the times from living memory. You may get a tall tale or two, but more important is an immersive feeling of what it was like to have been a witness to something so ridiculously grand and heart-tugging.

As much as the book is about the horse, it's even more about his most regular rider, the half-blind, busted-down, habitually unlucky Red Pollard. When Pollard and the Biscuit came together, history was made, and made again. Hillenbrand puts you with Pollard in the saddle.

"With the crowd on its feet, Pollard spread himself flat over Seabiscuit's withers, reins clutched in his left hand, right hand pressed flat to Seabiscuit's neck, head turned and eyes fixed on Professor Paul's broad blaze," she writes.

The fact Pollard suffered so much to get where he was comes across vividly. Hillenbrand herself suffered from a decades-long chronic exhaustive condition while writing this, and seems to channel her experience in Pollard especially, "sinking downward through his life with the pendulous motion of a leaf falling through still air." It accounts for some undeniable lack of critical reserve, but at the same time, her poetic turns of phrase and ability to lay out the technical dimensions of the sport and of Seabiscuit's abilities (including the horse's unorthodox, swivel-legged gait) break through the jargony boundaries of horseracing in high, readable style.

About the most difficulty I've had reading this book (three times already) is from the fear of getting my heart broken, even when I think I know what happens next. Seabiscuit was no natural world-beater; he lost to more than a few horses and was an underdog from his earliest racing days to his final run. Pollard got injured so badly on a racetrack he was thought to be at death's door, then went back only to suffer another catastrophic injury that everyone but Pollard thought had ended his career.

"Getting back on the horse" is a common term these days; Pollard's story gives it deeper meaning. In Seabiscuit he found his ticket to glory, with Hillenbrand you get to share his ride.
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on May 23, 2017
Who wouldn't love the story of this game little horse. Of course the telling is not hindered by the fact that Laura Hillenbrand is an excellent writer. I will keep this jewel tucked away in the back of my Kindle for another read. If you love horses, you'll love this book!
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on May 23, 2017
Outstanding story of perseverance and dedication by both this wonderful horse and the people who loved and devoted themselves to training and helping create this American Legend, against all odds! Not always a favorable view of the racing world, but you will never forget this book, this beautiful horse, his trainer, his jockey(s), and his owners! I loved this story and the beautiful job Ms. Hillenbrand did weaving the facts regarding "The Biscuit" into a story with so much "heart" that your heart will be forever engraved with love for this wonderful horse who emerged from "lost cause" to "legendary".
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on January 20, 2003
I just found out about this absolutely magnificent book last month. I was channel surfing, and ran across the Laura Hillebrand interview on C-Span. I was immediately mesmerized by the name 'Seabiscuit' and listened intently to the story of how the book was done, saw the Seabiscuit memorabilia Miss Hillebrand brought to the interview, and was fascinated with the facts of the horse himself, what he did, and how it came about. I immediately ordered the book.
It is a fascinating story of the little horse that could, his rich owner, the extraordinary man who trained him, and who could talk to horses, and the tragic, magnificent jockeys who rode him in his famous races. All I could say when I finished the book was, 'What a horse!'
It is a story straight out of Hollywood, but this is the real thing. As unlikely a partnership that ever was found the soon-to-be-great horse, bought him, trained, him, rode him, and loved that stellar animal that mesmerized Depression-ridden America in the mid-to-late thirties. No matter what others may say, there was only one Seabiscuit, and there is only one book to get on him-this one. He may have been the greatest race horse the United States ever produced, bar none.
The author is a magnificent story-teller. Except in Dick Francis novels (and he was a jockey) I have never read the stride-for-stride descriptions of horse races that the author here discribes. You actually hold your breath as you read the passages, and you end up reading them so fast to see who wins, you have to go back and reread them so as not to miss anything. Miss Hillebrand is one of the three best authors I have ever read, and she has captured the spirit of her horse, those who were closest to him, and the spirit of the times in this very well-done book. I certainly hope she continues to write, and I will look forward to her next effort with great anticipation. This is one of the best books of this or any other year.
This is one of the great horse stories of all time, and if you don't read it, you are missing out on both a literary treat, a great American saga, and a first-rate read that is impossible to put down. If you love horses and stories about them, or just love a great read, this is the book for you. It deserves the Pulitzer.
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on December 11, 2013
This is history not fiction, but it is comprised of dozens of fascinating stories about the lives of those who brought us Seabisquit, perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time and surely the most improbable of all the great winners. The characters are real to a fault, the prose journalistic at times and elegant and poetic at others. Above all, this is a masterpiece of research. It took only four years to write, but it's depth of detail and accuracy would have justified a lifetime of effort to complete. Brava and brava again to Laura Hillenbrand!!!
BookAWeekMan
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on May 2, 2017
This story pulls you in from the very first page. The writing is simply wonderful. Laura Hillenbrand tells each character's story in beautiful descriptive detail and then weaving them around the character that brought them together- Seabiscuit. I think this book should be required reading in schools both for the quality of the writing and the description of what America was like at the time. So far, I have purchased it 4 times- once as a gift, once in paperback, once as a hardback and lastly as an ebook that I can carry around wherever I go.
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