Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Posted by nliakos on June 8, 2008

by Laura Hillenbrand (performed by Richard M. Davidson; Recorded Books 2001)

When I was a horsy kid growing up in New Jersey, I knew all about Seabiscuit, Man o’ War, War Admiral and other famous racehorses, but the details had faded by the time I reached adulthood.  I first read Seabiscuit a few years ago when it was first published, and I read articles about Laura Hillenbrand’s struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome.  I saw the movie, and recently listened to the audio book. It seems I can’t get enough of it!

I was kind of amazed at first how this story of a horse appealed to so many people, but when I read it, I understood: this is not just the story of a horse.  It is a story of an era (the 1930s), and it is the story of three amazing human beings: owner Charles S. Howard, who started out as a bicycle mechanic and became a car mogul; trainer Tom Smith, who disliked people but loved and understood horses; and jockey Red Pollard, who did not understand the word “quit”.  How Howard, Smith and Pollard worked together to turn around the career of this most unusual little horse to make him the 1930s equivalent of a rock star makes a fascinating read.  As good as the movie was, there is no substitute for reading (or listening to) this wonderful book.

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