Seabiscuit: An American Legend

by Laura Hillenbrand;

Hardcover, 2001

Call number

636.1 HIL



Random House; 1st edition (2001-03-06) (1800)


The true story of how three men and a great racehorse captivated the world.

User reviews

LibraryThing member brendajanefrank
An amazing story; well-written. Takes you into the horse-racing world of another time.
LibraryThing member FionaCat
The absolute best, BEST book on racing I've ever read. People with no interest in racing have read and loved this book. My sister, who rarely reads nonfiction, loved this book.
LibraryThing member suedonym
I was reading this book in the emergency room while waiting to be treated for a compound open fracture after smashing my finger in a car door. It was gripping enough that it kept me distracted. I do recall reading her very detailed account of the jockey's injuries after a bad fall, and thinking, 'Well, things could be worse.'
LibraryThing member alic
Pretty outstanding for a book about a horse.
LibraryThing member JBD1
A great and most interesting read.
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
I love underdog stories (or, is it underhorse in this situation?). Seabiscuit is a head-scratcher of a racehorse. "Red" Pollard, his jockey, is a head-scratcher of a jockey. Their humble beginnings make them perfect partners for anything but success. But, succeed they did, as everyone who has seen the movie knows. Hillenbrand carefully reconstructs the era surrounding Seabiscuit's unlikely "pony" start. The 1930s come alive as the fascinating characters of Seabiscuit's entourage are introduced; his owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, jockey Johnny "Red" Pollard, the hungry-for-more media and of course, the fans who followed Seabiscuit's every race. Hillenbrand writes with such clarity that every competition is pulse-pounding excitement. One can hear the roar of the crowd, taste the anticipation, see the pop of flash bulbs, and practically smell the winnings.… (more)
LibraryThing member cataylor
Not just for horse lovers! Explores society and the feel of the late 1920s. Through personal interviews and research the small stories within this large one add up to a fascinating tale. And by the way you will fall in love with Seabiscuit before its over!
LibraryThing member brewergirl
I am always impressed when an author can draw me in and get me interested in a subject I don't really know or care about. That is just what happened here, though. I found the story very compelling.
LibraryThing member Alera
This is literally one of the easiest Non-fictions I have ever had the opportunity to read. I would say the easiest but I've read quite a few lately that have also read quite well. At times I would catch myself forgetting to breathe during the description of a race...races to which I already knew the outcomes. I also love the writer's style, while so much of it is based in fact she still managed to give it a flare all her own that I loved and highly appreciated. Overall, my stand, if you like horses, the story of the underdog, pre-WWII America, or the tale of a spirit that lived on long after it's death...this is utterly a book you need to possess and read.… (more)
LibraryThing member jeaneva
Not being a racing fan (having had a family member whose addction nearly bankrupted the family), I didn't really expect to like this book. I DID! The horse version of Horatio Alger is an excellent read, filled with personal anecdotes of those involved and motivational.
LibraryThing member kambrogi
It is no wonder that Seabiscuit was such a huge success. It does what so few nonfiction stories about real people who are long dead manage to do – bring the people to life. I was occasionally frustrated by this in both the well-researched Capote and the early part of A Beautiful Mind, the book about John Nash (an outstanding book, by the way). There was an understandable distance between the author and the heart and soul, the thoughts and feelings, of the primary characters in both of those other books. We know what happened, what everyone else thought, but not what Capote or Nash thought. But Hillenbrand has been especially able in translating her wealth of information into her characters’ motivations and feelings. She is even able to footnote the *thoughts* of her characters, as these are the thoughts the people later stated they had had at the time. The book deepens the vast, unfamiliar world of the jockey, the horses, the people and the history of the times beyond what the movie could provide, and I found it an irresistible read.… (more)
LibraryThing member Stbalbach
2011 is the 10th anniversary of this non-fiction classic and I was curious if reading it for the first time would elicit the same kind of love that critics and fans had for it a decade ago. Overall I would say it has held up well and still captures the compelling life of Seabiscuit and her owner, trainer and jockey, told with expert skill. I'm not really a horse fan but could follow along and understand why Seabiscuit was special. Hillenbrand also does a good job of capturing the spirit of the times, during breaks between reading I often felt as though I was still in the 1930s (the current economic cycle is a compounding factor!). Since I've never followed a horse, it's hard to compare Seabiscuit with anything, but the story stands on its own. I was also amazed at the dangers and rigors of being a jockey and how much difference a trainer makes.… (more)
LibraryThing member thornton37814
This is an account of Seabiscuit, her owners, her trainers, her jockeys, her races, and her competition. It's a well-written and researched account, but it was not riveting as so many have described it. Of course, that may be because I have little to no interest in horse racing or the gambling/wagering associated with the sport. Its detail made it too heavy of a read for someone without the interest.… (more)
LibraryThing member bell7
In the mid-1930s, an unlikely team of men and horse took the racing world by storm. Charles Howard made his fortune selling cars, but purchased racing horses and loved the limelight. Tom Smith was a horse trainer with a unique horse sense and methods. Jockey Red Pollard was a witty, hard-fighting competitor who read classics and affectionately referred to Emerson as "Old Waldo." And then there was Seabiscuit: a stocky, short-legged horse who loved to sleep but also loved to run.

I bought this book years ago at the library book sale and it has languished on my shelves unread. In fact, I had it so long I finally put it in the box of books ready to donate back to the book sale. Then I read Unbroken, and was so completely blown away I had to dig this book out and put it back on my shelves. So, needless to say, I'm a bit behind the times in reading and loving this book. Hillenbrand deftly paints a picture of a moment in history, of a detail that makes it come alive, and of the people involved in these events. This is true in both of her books, though the subjects are very different. Seabiscuit's story is both inspiring and bittersweet, and if you happened to have put it on your pile of books that has been there so long you've nearly given up - give it a chance. You may, like me, be glad you did.
… (more)
LibraryThing member ikhaya
This may be my favorite book. Certainly it is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. I couldn't put the book down. Perhaps the most amazing athelete ever to live.
LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This is the story of a racehorse, Seabiscuit, who became a darling of the public during the Great Depression. Back then racing was big in America and a lot of people saw their own struggles reflected in this underdog horse and his winning spirit. This is the kind of book that reviewers love to say reads like a novel and I quickly got caught up in the story. I'm not really a racing aficionado. I'm there for the Triple Crown races but otherwise can't be bothered and hadn't heard of Seabiscuit before the film adapted from this book. I don't even know that most would consider me an animal lover--certainly not compared to many friends of mine. But that didn't matter--I loved the book. And after all, it's not just the story of a horse or a sport but owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard--and each comes across as a distinct personality in this and have great stories surrounding each of them.… (more)
LibraryThing member BrendaKlaassen
I discovered that the information presented in this book overwhelmed my mind and was difficult to read. The information depressed me. I am sure that some readers found it to be interesting, it just was not up my alley. The story or narrative moved to slow for my liking. The author wrote a well constructed book, it just was not what this emotional reader needed at this time. Because my in-person Book Club is discussing this book; I truly tried to read it, but I ended up skimming it instead.… (more)
LibraryThing member mafergus
Beautifully written. If the depression happened now would we be able to survive as the people did then?
LibraryThing member karriethelibrarian
I listened to this book and had the equivilent of 'couldn't put it down.' I listened to it every moment that I could, and at times thought I was sitting in a pavillion at a horse race, listening to the race being called. It's an amazing story about the heart and will of a very fine horse.
LibraryThing member raymondp
This book considering it was a non-fiction book, and I'm not a fan of very many non-fiction books, was a really great story that not only suprised me on how well it didn't seem like a non-fiction book but also how well the details were about the sport of horse racing.

I'm not a big fan of horses, racing, etc. But I still managed to love this book & Seabiscuit.… (more)
LibraryThing member jbealy
Took me completely by surprise. I never would have imagined that a book about a horse would be not only so incredibly well written, but a page turner as well.
LibraryThing member billyhill21
the wonderful story of seabiscuit. you wont find many books as good as this one. the movie was great also and is with this book
LibraryThing member LibraryOMidas
I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but I was very pleasantly surprised with this book. Seabiscuit is an amazing tale of history and it still reads like a great novel. I know the term "couldn't put it down" is cliche, but I honestly couldn't think of a better way to describe my experience while reading this book. Seabiscuit and Red Pollard are perhaps two of the most astounding athletes I have ever heard of, surpassing many of today's sports superstars with their talent, skill, and heart.… (more)
LibraryThing member Shep

Sporadic black ink-looking smudges on outside edges of the paper. MInor denting/scratching to cover. No curling. Edges look great. Very mildy tanned pages.

LibraryThing member plenilune
I'll admit, I can be a bit of a book snob-- I like to find hidden treasures and tend to stay away from the mainstream bestsellers that everyone's reading. But then my aunt got on my back about how I just had to read this book, and I'm very glad that she did. This is a finely crafted account of a moving story that combines the smooth pace of a traditional novel with the fascination of living history. The characters, both human and equine, are well-drawn and the race scenes are a real stand-out. I felt like I was actually at the races-- I couldn't read the words fast enough to see if Seabiscuit would prevail! I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good story.… (more)
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