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Seabiscuit: An American Legendby Laura Hillenbrand
Synopses & Reviews
Occasionally a sporting hero comes along and takes a nation by storm, breaking records and physically achieving the seemingly impossible. Olympic athletes winning gold medals can bring out feverish national pride, a sporting representation of Us against the world. But when the Olympics shut up shop until the next four year celebration, or when the baseball or hockey season ends, the general public resumes worrying about paying the rent, bringing up families and wondering what's on TV tonight. So it is remarkable to think that in the years between 1936 to 1947 it was a racehorse called Seabiscuit who obsessed the country. Seabiscuit was a runt of a racehorse, with crooked legs and a predisposition for indolence, but by 1938 Seabiscuit was making more news headlines than Hitler, Mussolini, or FDR.
It was the determination and personal sacrifice of three men — the ex-auto baron owner, the Walt Whitman quoting trainer, and the jockey who was blind in one eye — who saw the potential in this unlikely national treasure. Author Laura Hillenbrand has researched and brilliantly retold this rags-to-riches story set during a time of war, depression, and uncertainty. Not only does she present fully fleshed out character studies, she examines in compelling detail the economic and social context that created this national craving for such a hero. And she describes the horse races with a nail-biting urgency that will keep the reader flashing through the pages. Seabiscuit is more than sports writing, more than biography — Seabiscuit is a telling document about America's romance with the underdog. (An additional note: this trade paper edition would be great for book groups as it includes a bonus reader's guide.) Georgie, Powells.com
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuits fortunes:
Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.
Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.
From the Hardcover edition.
Hillenbrand's riveting about underdog racehorse Seabiscuit is now a major motion picture from Universal, starring Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, and William H. Macy. Directed by Gary Ross ("Pleasantville").
In this "New York Times" bestseller now in paperback, Hillenbrand unfolds the spellbinding story of the racehorse Seabiscuit in a riveting tale of grit, grace, luck, and an underdog's stubborn determination. Photos throughout.
About the Author
Laura Hillenbrand has been writing about Thoroughbred racing since 1988 and has been a contributing writer/editor for Equus magazine since 1989. Her work has also appeared in American Heritage, ABC Sports Online, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, Turf and Sport Digest and many other publications. Her 1998 American Heritage article on Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing, the highest award for Thoroughbred racing. She is currently serving as a consultant on a Universal Studios movie based on this book. Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Laura lives in Washington, D.C.
From the Hardcover edition.
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