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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I don't know anything about horseracing. I saw the movie, and then this book fell into my hands, and I began it wondering if it would live up to the hype. Of course, it did, and then some. Laura Hillenbrand is a wonderful writer, full of anecdotes and information about the '30s, the depression, and the world of horseracing in those days. The author spends a great deal of...
Published on July 15 2004 by David W. Nicholas

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3.0 out of 5 stars Good yes, but great?
Laura Hillenbrand's "New Yorker" article this year, about her bout with chronic fatigue syndrome, was sheer brilliance -- one of the best pieces I have ever read in that magazine. Half way through the article I learned that she had penned "Seabiscuit," which was then the rage among non-fiction readers (while the movie was doing brisk business in...
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Barry Fitzsimmons


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, July 15 2004
By 
David W. Nicholas (Van Nuys, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I don't know anything about horseracing. I saw the movie, and then this book fell into my hands, and I began it wondering if it would live up to the hype. Of course, it did, and then some. Laura Hillenbrand is a wonderful writer, full of anecdotes and information about the '30s, the depression, and the world of horseracing in those days. The author spends a great deal of time (a quarter or a third of the book) setting the stage, but she does such a wonderful job that you don't mind. When she gets to the spot where things begin to take off, the book is frankly wonderful.
I won't tell you anything more about the book, other than to mention that Seabiscuit was the typical underdog (underhorse?) that Americans love to see win, and he didn't dissappoint. I enjoyed this book immensely, and would recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit is my hero here in 2004!, May 7 2004
By A Customer
It took me a while to get thru the first part because the author writes about the history of the owner and the jockey. It got interesting when I got to the middle of the book. The book is full of old photos of Seabiscuit and some of his races. I actually cried during some of the sad parts. I just wished I was there back in the 30's so I could really see Seabiscuit in a race. I was never a horse lover, but after reading this book I realized what a great horse Seabiscuit was and what a true American hero he was for people back then. I'm glad Laura Hillenbrand wrote this book so Seabiscuit would not be forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story, April 19 2004
By A Customer
Seabiscuit is a great book. I really enjoyed it. This book is about a little horse who nobody thought could be a winnner, until someone took a chance with him. A man named Charles Howard bought Seabiscuit and got a trainer named Tom Smith and a jockey named Red Polard or Johnny. Seabiscuit started winning races and people loved him because he was small and tried so hard to win and he always did. Even when Seabiscuit was old and couldn't race anymore Mr. Howard kept him and took care of him on his property. It's a really good book, but it's hard for younger people to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A TREAT, June 13 2004
By A Customer
I am much enamored with the extraordinary number of historical efforts, both fictional and non-fictional, which have been published in the last year. This book is a revelation: Ms. Hillenbrand works things into this story that make your jaw drop. The chapter on a starving jockey hallucinating because of his hunger is extraordinary. Her observations are as good as any novelist's: "Charles Howard was like a great charging locomotive, you either climb on board or moved out of the way."
She managed to make a horse more interesting than most writers could make a human being. There are some other extraodinary historical efforts: if you have not read Eric Larson's Isaac's Storm, about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, or Devil In A White City, in which Larson alternates chapters between Daniel Burnham and celebrities like Thomas Edison at the 1893 World's Fair and a deranged serial killer who stalked the Fair Grounds, you are missing two masterpieces. And on the fiction side, a book that has gotten no attention from any critics but is quickly becoming the darling of readers, 1906, an extraordinary tale of the great San Francisco Earthquake by James Dalessandro, is not to be missed. Any reader will love how the Italian singer Enrico Caruso steals the show in 1906. Kudos to all of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awesome, June 9 2004
By 
J. S. Kaminski "j_s_k" (Aberdeen, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Audio Cassette)
"Seabiscuit" is easily one of the most inspiring stories of the last century. Set against the backdrop of Depression 1930s America, a team of misfits (owner, trainer, jockeys and horse) come together to forge a winning team that few could have foreseen.
Each had his own obstacles - the jockey's blind eye, the trainer's unorthodox methods, the owner's western roots - and that's not even mentioning the horse. Seabiscuit had even bigger problems. He didn't look like a champion, for starters. And he was raced far too much as a 2-year old, which stunted his progress and made him appear to be a joke to much of the racing establishment.
But once these men began to work with Seabiscuit, it was not long before his true promise came to be realized. Seabiscuit won numerous races, set many track records, and retired as the leading money winner of his time. Not bad for an "also-ran!"
Hillenbrand tells Seabiscuit's story while also managing to give many details about "big picture" stories as well - e.g., life in 1930s America, the trials and tribulations of jockeys, the up-and-down popularity of the sport of horse racing. Telling all of these while keeping the reader not only interested but riveted, Hillenbrand has written an exceptional book.
I did not know the story of Seabiscuit before this book came along; now, I will never forget it! His is one of the great "underdog" stories of all time.
Five stars. Absolutely fantastic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit, What A Guy!!!!, May 25 2004
By 
This book is one of the best I've ever read, and I am an avid reader. Laura Hillenbrand brings the story of the Depression era horse Seabiscuit to life in this fascinating narriative that is full of fascinating historical information about the sport of horse racing.
Her discription of the brutal existance of jockeys is riviting, not just about the punishing regimens followed to "make weight", but also the callous disregard of the jockeys as human beings. I will never forget her discription of the 17 year old jockey, who was crushed in one of the primitive starting gates and left was left to die in agony on a table unattended.
Hillenbrand is a master of descriptive pharasing and her writing can be very lyrical, which I liked. When she describes Seabiscuit biting down on his bit before a big push, I felt like I was riding Seabiscuit myself!
Her descriptions of Seabiscuit's personality really brought him to life for me as well.
You don't have to know anything about horse racing to enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit--All Heart!, April 20 2004
I know little to nothing about horses, but this book captured me from beginning to end. SEABISCUIT is as much about people as it is about horses.
Charles Howard, the bycycle repairman turned automobile entrepreneur.
Howard's beautiful Mexican wife, Marcella
John (Red) Pollard the poetry-quoting little jockey with the booming voice and a way with horses
Tom Smith, the legendary man of the plains who could communicate with horses almost as though he was one of them.
These characters along with other jockeys, horsemen, horsewomen, entertainers (Bing Crosby) and reporters make SEABISCUIT come alive. Hillenbrand is meticuous in describing the economic and historical conditions surrounding the circumstances in which Seabiscuit came to prominence. She is especially good bringing the reader into the world of horses through the eyes of the jockeys, stable boys, trainers, and reporters.
After listening to this entire book in CD form I am well satisfied. The book reads like fiction. The people come alive. There were parts that brought me to tears.
I thank Laura Hillenbrand for bringing the world of SEABISCUIT to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit: An American Legend, April 19 2004
By 
B. Viberg "Alex Rodriguez" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The former editor of Equus magazine retells the riveting story of an unlikely racehorse that became an American obsession during the Depression. Like all heroes of an epic, Seabiscuit had to endure setbacks, dispel doubts about his abilities, and contend with formidable rivals. Hillenbrand deftly mixes arcane horse lore with a narrative as compelling as any adventure yarn as she introduces first the men who would make Seabiscuit great and then the horse himself. Racing was a popular, often unregulated sport in the 1930s, and wealthy men like Bing Crosby and his friend Charles Howard, who became Seabiscuit's owner, fielded strings of horses all over the country. Howard, a sucker for lost causes, took on as his trainer Tom Smith, a taciturn westerner down on his luck who studied horses for days until he took their measure. Both men were well suited to invest emotionally and financially in Seabiscuit, as were the two jockeys who would be associated with him, Red Pollard and George Woolf. Howard first saw Seabiscuit racing in 1936. The colt was a descendant of the famous Man o' War, but his body was stunted, his legs stubby, and he walked with an odd gait. Smith believed he had potential, however, so Howard bought him and took him back to California. There Smith patiently worked on Seabiscuit's strengths, corrected his weaknesses, and encouraged his ability to run faster than any other horse. When Smith thought he was ready, Howard began racing the colt. Seabiscuit broke numerous track records, despite accidents, injuries, and even foul play. His fame was secured with a 1938 race against his rival, War Admiral; their contest divided the country into two camps and garnered more media coverage than President Roosevelt, who himself was so riveted by the race that he kept advisers waiting while he listened to the broadcast. A great ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Things Are Balanced By Their Opposites, April 15 2004
By 
Nicole Madison (West Des Moines, IA) - See all my reviews
Seabiscuit is the classic tale of triumph over tragedy; A book based on the true story of four lives intricately entwined together in a dark time of our nation's history. Red Pollard, Charles Howard, Tom Smith, and Seabiscuit triumphed when our nation (and world) needed something to hold on to.
Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly depicts the grand era of horseracing; she writes as if she has an intimate view into the thoughts and actions of the characters. Hillenbrand hilariously illustrates the thoughts of the obstreperous Seabiscuit. Seemingly uninterested in becoming a winner at the racetrack, Seabiscuit meets his friend and closest ally, Tom Smith.
Smith is responsible for looking past Seabiscuit's physical shortcomings, seeing into the horse's heart, and training him to be an American legend. As a trainer Smith's adage was, "Learn your horse. Each one is individual and once you penetrate his mind and heart, you can often work wonders with an otherwise intractable beast." Smith's incomparable ability to turn washed up(horses)into winners created a partnership for success when he bumped into jockey, Red Pollard.
Pollard grew up in a home that was hit hard by poverty, and with his wit and "passion for danger," he left for the ride of his life, never returning to his home. Instead he became like a son for the magnanimous Charles Howard.
Charles Howard was the rock - the foundation that held everything together. Without his vision to make things happen, (and an unlimited pocketbook) Smith and Pollard would have dreams left unfullfilled, and Seabiscuit may have been left for dead.
Something about the four of them together created a balance. As Pollard discovered in "Old Waldo" Emerson's philosophy - "things are balanced by their opposites."
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, April 8 2004
Although this book is well-known by now, it is still one of
the best to come out in years, and it should not be missed by
any reader.
Hillenbrand does such a fantastic job of outlining the characters involved, and showing such depth of emotion and feeling of all the men involved in the development of the racehorse Seabiscuit, it is almost impossible to believe she is
so young. Her writing reveals such a strong concept of the
motivations and feelings of these people, all her descriptions
have the feel of having been written by someone of great wisdom
and experience in the world. The fact that she is young illustrates her ability and her commitment to a first-class
story.
Her feeling for, and descriptions of, the Depression years
of the late '30s are also equal to the best to be found, and
she has that ability with her writing to grab the reader and
thrust them into that era.
This is not only a book about a racehorse, but much more than
that; this is a story of determination, the flowering of the human spirit, the heroic never-say-die attitude of all winners,
and the rare ability of a few people to work together to produce
results undreamed of. Here, the owner, the trainer, and the
jockey worked together to produce results that no 2 of them
could have come close to. And each individual was barely getting by in the field of horseracing before they all came
together and produced such amazing results.
The author has so researched her subjects, her book reads like
she was right there with them, and every scene has such a ring
of authenticity, we know she has talked to everyone alive who
was present at the time. Plus, she puts those facts, feelings
and observations together in such a way that her book reads like
a fine-tuned mystery or great novel.
As said, this is much more than a story about a racehorse, and
this book will be enjoyed by any reader.
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Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Audio Cassette - March 6 2001)
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