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Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand – Courage And Conviction

September 18, 2011
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

He didnt look like much. With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks arent everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, was mostly in his heart. Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of the horse who became a cultural icon in Seabiscuit: An American Legend.

Seabiscuit rose to prominence with the help of an unlikely triumvirate: owner Charles Howard, an automobile baron who once declared that the day of the horse is past; trainer Tom Smith, a man who had cultivated an almost mystical communication with horses; and jockey Red Pollard, who was down on his luck when he charmed a then-surly horse with his calm demeanor and a sugar cube. Hillenbrand details the ups and downs of team Seabiscuit, from early training sessions to record-breaking victories, and from serious injury to Horse of the Year–as well as the Biscuits fabled rivalry with War Admiral. She also describes the world of horseracing in the 1930s, from the snobbery of Eastern journalists regarding Western horses and public fascination with the great thoroughbreds to the jockeys torturous weight-loss regimens, including saunas in rubber suits, strong purgatives, even tapeworms.

Along the way, Hillenbrand paints wonderful images: tears in Tom Smiths eyes as his hero, legendary trainer James Fitzsimmons, asked to hold Seabiscuits bridle while the horse was saddled; critically injured Red Pollard, whose chest was crushed in a racing accident a few weeks before, listening to the San Antonio Handicap from his hospital bed, cheering Get going, Biscuit! Get em, you old devil!; Seabiscuit happily posing for photographers for several minutes on end; other horses refusing to work out with Seabiscuit because he teased and taunted them with his blistering speed.

Though sometimes her prose takes on a distinctly purple hue (His history had the ethereal quality of hoofprints in windblown snow; The California sunlight had the pewter cast of a declining season), Hillenbrand has crafted a delightful book. Wire to wire, Seabiscuit is a winner. Highly recommended. –Sunny Delaney

Excellent Book, You Wont Be Disappointed.
Seabiscuit follows the gradual rise of an underdeveloped horse born of grand breading. With no expectations of greatness thrust upon him, Seabiscuit enters a life of racing mediocrity. Slowly, his anger gestates as he is forced to lose to lesser horses in training to build their confidence. Eventually his life comes into confluence with a quixotic entrepreneur recovering from a personal disaster, a down-on-his-luck trainer with natural talent, and one of the tallest but most dedicated jockeys in the league. Together this unlikely but somehow perfect team take Seabiscuit to the greatest heights of horse racing, at the time the most popular sport in the United States. Along the way, their journey takes on grander scope than just personal redemption. They become a much needed beacon of triumph and personal renewal for American emotionally wasted by the throes of the Great Depression.

The story is excellently researched, well crafted, and favors reality to fairy tale endings. Each of the characters is presented in written detail akin to HD TV. Hillenbrand should patent HD Words.

Many times a book is not worth reading after seeing the movie (i.e. Twilight), which is a shame because a good book can greatly enlighten the backstory that doesnt come across in moving pictures. Seabiscuit thankfully makes the reading as well as the watching equally worthwhile regardless of the order they are undertaken.

For More 5 Star Reviews and The Lowest Price Visit:
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand


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