Seabiscuit was a rough-hewn, undersized horse with a sad little tail and knees that wouldn't straighten all the way. For two years, he fought his trainers and floundered at the lowest level of racing, misunderstood and mishandled, before his dormant talent was discovered by three men. One was Red Pollard, a failed prizefighter and failing jockey. Another was Tom Smith, "The Lone Plainsman," an enigmatic mustang breaker who had come from the vanishing frontier, bearing generations of lost wisdom about the secrets of horses. The third was a cavalry veteran named Charles Howard, a former bicycle repairman who had made a fortune by introducing the automobile to the American West.
In the summer of 1936, Howard bought Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price and entrusted him to Smith and Pollard. Using frontier training methods that raised eyebrows on the backstretch, they discovered that beneath the hostility and fear was a gentlemanly horse with keen intelligence, awe-inspiring speed, and a ferocious competitive will. Competing in the cruelest years of the Depression, the rags-to-riches horse emerged as an American cultural icon, drawing an immense and fanatical following, inspiring an avalanche of merchandising, and establishing himself as the single biggest newsmaker of 1938 - receiving more coverage than FDR or Hitler.
Laura Hillenbrand beautifully renders this breathtaking saga of one horse's journey from also-ran to national luminary. Seabiscuit: An American Legend is an inspiring tale of unlikely heroes, a classic story of three embattled individuals overcoming the odds in the Great Depression.
At first glance it may be a seemingly odd consideration, but soon you realize that you've made the right listening choice. It's a rags to riches story, a cheer for the underdog (horse)...written with a lot of class and charm. (Filomena L.)I don't think I ever understood the beauty and complexity of a horse race before reading this book. Nor had I ever given a thought to the trio of jockey, trainer and owner in more than the simplest terms. This story about a famous racehorse competing during the Great Depression and the three men who realized his talent from the beginning really kept my attention. Given the benefit of 60 years of hindsight, this book also tells a great yarn about the keen and unrelenting eye of the Press as they did their best to provide hope to a nation sorely in need. Compelling and well written, the racing scenes had me cheering for Seabiscuit in my car. (Rick, Audio Production Manager)
"...a captivating story." (
The New York Times Book Review)"...a thrilling ride." (
Library Journal)"Campbell Scott never overplays a line, never misses a pause, never fails to punch as ending." (
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