5.0 out of 5 stars Imagery Jumps Off the Page
Reading "Seabiscuit" made it clear why it became such a successful film. The vividness of the imagery jumps right off the page. It made reading it almost like seeing a movie in my head, very similar to when I read "My Fractured Life" and "The Time Traveler's Wife" (except in this case "Seabiscuit" is already a film). Having not...
Published on Feb. 3 2005 by Angie Clusterman
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit
The story of Seabiscuit is absolutely remarkable. Out of a nation in crisis rises an incredible symbol of hope and out of the depths of poverty rises a man with a passion. Red Pollard and Seabiscuit are an American legend. Though Laura Hillenbrand attacks this novel with great enthusiasm, she seems to lack a much-needed sense of emotion. She becomes too overwhelmed...
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Joseph Longo
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flaws Make the Greatness,
By A Customer
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Mass Market Paperback)This isn't the story of a great racehorse or a great jockey. That would be pretty formula. This is the story of a mediocre at best racehorse and a fairly unqualified jockey who somehow beat the odds to achieve greatness. That's what makes it a great book. The flawed characters in life are the most interesting. Whether they fail or succeed, it is their flaws that make them compelling. Somewhat like "My Fractured Life" and "The Secret Life of Bees", this is an amazing story that celebrates the flawed heroes among us and takes the reader's emotions for a ride that few have experienced and you can't help celebrating.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful, Feel-Good Story of an American Champion,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)If you ever stand silently and look into a horse's handsome face, you see that they are intelligent, gentle creatures. Laura Hillenbrand's wonderful story conveys this, as well as the excitement that racing fans feel when horses round the turn and charge into the homestretch. More than that, she describes beautifully the heart and soul of a remarkable horse. Seabiscuit didn't look like a champion, but he had heart, hustle, a perverse sense of humor, and he could run like the wind. His owner, his trainer, and his jockey saw what he had, and he took them to such dazzling heights in 1938 that he became more famous than world leaders. Laura Hillenbrand has done an outstanding job of tracing the career of this magnificent horse. Reading her story is pure enjoyment.
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A TREAT,
By A Customer
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awesome,
This review is from: 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!
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit, America and the Great Dream....,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)Hillenbrand has hit the track running with this marvelous book which is at once the biography of an unlikely athletic hero and a superb social/political overview of America just before and during the great depression. Her moving text and unvarnished portrayal of Seabiscuit and the humans around him captures a moment in American history that is long gone and deserves to be shown to current generations. Hillenbrand takes the individual threads of each peron's *horse's* life and weaves them together into a glorious tapestry that will satisfy even the most finicky of readers. If you like horses, racing, American history or a tale of the underdog then Seabiscuit is for you. If you don't read non-fiction, then I challenge you to pick up Seabiscuit this summer...it will redefine the standards by which you choose your next book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit, What A Guy!!!!,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit,
By A Customer
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)I read Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand in February because it came with the Seabiscuit DVD. I first wanted to read this book because I'm a horse lover. Being a horse lover also helped me enjoy this book. This book is full of loss, gain, triumph, and all of the other elements that make up a good book. I recommend this book to everyone because this book is good, even if you're not a horse lover. As I said above, this book contains all of the elements of a good story. This book should be read by everyone who enjoys reading.
I can relate to this book in several ways. First, I enjoy horses. I've also the experienced feelings of joy, triumph, and loss that are illustrated in this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit--All Heart!,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seabiscuit: An American Legend,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Things Are Balanced By Their Opposites,
This review is from: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Paperback)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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Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Paperback - March 26 2002)
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