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Seabiscuit: An American Legend


Seabiscuit: An American Legend Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. Seabiscuit grew so popular as a cultural icon that in 1938, he commanded

more space in American newspapers than any other public

figure. Considering the temper of the times as well as the horses

early career on the racetrack, what were the sources of The Biscuits

enormous popularity during that benchmark period of U.S. history?

Would he be as popular if he raced today? What did the public need

that it found in this horse?

2. The Great Match Race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral in 1938

evoked heated partisan passions. These passions spilled over on

radio and into the daily prints, with each colt leading a raucous

legion of followers to the barrier at Pimlico Race Course that autumn

day. What were the differences separating these two horses, and

what did each competitor represent in the American experience that

set one apart from the other?

3. All jockeys in the 1930s endured terrible hardships and hazards,

starving themselves to make weight, then competing in an exceptionally

dangerous sport. For George Woolf and Red Pollard, there

were additional factors that compounded the difficulties and dangers

of their jobs—diabetes for the former and half-blindness for the

latter. Why, in spite of this, did they go on with their careers? What

were the allures of race riding that led them to subject themselves to

such risk and torment?

4. What was the role of the press and radio in the Seabiscuit phenomenon?

How did Howard use the media to his advantage? How did

the media help Seabiscuits career, and how was it a hindrance?

5. Seabiscuit possessed all the qualities for which the Thoroughbred

has been prized since the English imported the breeds three foundation

sires from the Middle East three hundred years ago. What

were those qualities? What made this horse a winner?

6. Horses of Seabiscuits stature, from Man o War in the 1920s to

Cigar in the 1990s, have always generated a powerful gravitational

field of their own, attracting crowds of people into their immediate

orbit, shaping relationships among them, and even affecting the

personalities of those nearest them. How did Seabiscuit shape and

influence the lives of those around him?

7. Red Pollard, Tom Smith, and Charles Howard formed an unlikely

partnership. In what ways were these men different? How did their

differences serve as an asset to them?

8. What critical attribute did Howard, Smith, and Pollard share? How

did this shared attribute serve as a key to their success?

9. In what ways was each man in the Seabiscuit partnership similar, in

his own way, to Seabiscuit himself? How did these similarities help

them cultivate the horses talents and cure his ailments and neuroses?

10. What lessons can be drawn from the successes of the Seabiscuit

team? What does their story say about the role of character in life?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

clackamaslee, February 7, 2013 (view all comments by clackamaslee)
Wow. It is slow to start but picks up fast and WHAT an inspiring story!

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand is nonfiction that reads like a novel and it isn't just about the horse. Hillenbrand places the events in the world of the time so that the reader understands just how important this horse was to people during the Great Depression. She also paints a vivid picture of the PEOPLE who gave Seabiscuit a chance. She showed the reader just how much they risked personally by taking a chance which emotionally that HAD to take in order to truly find themselves or regain their status as men.

Seriously, read this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Karen from SF, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by Karen from SF)
Ms. Hillenbrand is one of the loveliest non-fiction writers working today, and this book is proof. Whether your interest is horses, gambling, sports, early 20th-century culture, or just a great story, this book will entertain and enlighten you. By the way, the movie was lovely, but it doesn't give you the complete story. The truth is even more interesting.
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whitmere, May 6, 2008 (view all comments by whitmere)
Wonderfully written book.

It would be difficult but wonderful if Laura Hillenbrand could write about Eight Belles.
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(12 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Hillenbrand, Laura
Mariner Books
Roberts, Randy
New York
United states
United States - 20th Century
Horse racing
Race horses
U. S. history
Sports & Recreation - Horse Racing
Seabiscuit (Race horse)
Race horses -- United States.
Sports and Fitness-Sports General
horse racing;biography;history;non-fiction;horses;sports;animals;racing;fiction;seabiscuit;great depression;1930s;20th century;american history;jockeys;movie;historical;american;sport;novel;usa;racehorses;america;california;depression;memoir;underdog;adul
Edition Number:
1st trade pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Ballantine Reader's Circle
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 pages of b/w photos
8.14x5.52x.94 in. .78 lbs.

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Seabiscuit: An American Legend Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780449005613 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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").
"Synopsis" by , Including a decadeand#8217;s worth of interviews with surviving players and coaches, Randy Roberts describes how the resurgent Army football team captured the national championship from Navy in the midst of World War Two. One of the greatest stories in American sports history, A Team for America shows how two historic rivals built up their teams in trying times and inspired a nation at war.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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