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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  77,755 ratings  ·  2,606 reviews
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Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men...more
Mass Market Paperback, 457 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published June 30th 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephanie "Jedigal"
Sep 09, 2011 Stephanie "Jedigal" rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nonfiction haters, Everyone!
Shelves: nonfiction, with-em
Prior to November 2003, non-fiction only entered my reading choices on sporadic occasions. In November 2003, a pioneering member of my book club was the first to choose a non-fiction book instead of a novel. That book was Seabiscuit.

Even though I have always loved horses, I had avoided reading Seabiscuit. I just couldn't believe that all the hype was real. So many times I had picked up a non-fiction book on a topic that I was really curious about, and either put it down unfinished or forced mys...more
Swaps55
Aug 08, 2007 Swaps55 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone. You don't have to know anything about horse racing.
Shelves: horse-racing
I'm jealous of this woman, because she writes better than I do. I've always been a little snobby towards Seabiscuit, as I'm a devoted War Admiral fan, but this is probably the best book out there that really captures the essence of horse racing, and she picked the right horse to do it with.

This story is not just about Seabiscuit. It's also about humanity, and most importantly (to me), racing itself, as it was in the 1930s. You will be astonished at what you learn from this book, from the incredi...more
Atishay
A true inspirational story about broken hearts and lost souls, the golden thread that holds them together and yes.. belief. Belief in oneself.
A horse, trained to lose right from its birth. Lose so that others can look good when they win. Lose, so that when they win, they can look back and see others way behind. A horse, which has learned to live with pain and humiliation. A horse, which is angry. It is this horse that catches the eye of Tom Smith, a veteran horse trainer employed under Charles...more
Christina
Nov 25, 2007 Christina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in horses
This was, truly, "fast-paced non-fiction." This book galloped along with all the speed of the horse it followed, which I find rare for books that simply relate a true story. Hillenbrand did a fantastic job giving a straightforward account of the history and background of Seabiscuit and the people around him, yet not once did she stoop to sounding like a pedantic authority on the subject. This book had all the tone and pace of great novels I've read, but it was so interesting to keep reminding my...more
Eric_W
After having achieved fame and winning races all over the place, there was a great deal of pressure to run Seabiscuit in a match race against War Admiral, his blood relative who was cleaning up the tracks in the East. After finally making the arrangements for a race at Belmont in late 1939, not so easily done because War Admiral, a triple-crown winner, was due to be retired at the end of the year and what did the owner have to gain by possibly losing to a rival, the race was called off because...more
Christie Hall
okay, so can I admit that I was weeping at the open of this book? I know, it is stupid. I love animals, and horses in particular, way too much. However, this book was opened so powerfully, I don't know if I can blame my love of animals for my tears this time around. Very well written for pleasure reading and captures the fanfare that was really a part of this horse.

I let my grandmother tell me the whole story of how the world was divided as much by the rivalries between fans of Seabiscuit and fa...more
Laura
Just arrived from USA through BM.

Since I absolutely loved Unbroken, I decided to read LH's famous book after have watched the movie based on this book a long time ago.

The main characters, Charles Howard, Red Pollard and Tom Smith are entwined into Seabiscuit's career and the book shows how his life changed their own lives forever.

Even if it's a non-fiction book, Hillenbrand knows how to give a true fictional character to the narrative itself, putting her own heart on it.

I am looking forward for...more
Heather
Sep 19, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Book Clubs, great discussion book
What an amazing story! I only regret that I didn't live in the time of Seabiscuit's glory! I fell in love with this horse! I have recently taken riding lessons (English)and this story was more meaningful because of the little experience I have had with horses. I have always loved this animal since my youth so reading a "horse" book sounded like fun. Being a true story made it a remarkable read! I liked the way it was written (by someone who knows horses inside and out). Very beautiful and descri...more
Lisa Kay
★★★★★ I LOVE this book! I have the full novel in the commemorative pictorial, the DVD, and now the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Campbell Scott. Ms. Hillenbrand has researched her topic well, but she brings it to the page with insight, humor and an emotional depth that make it additive. You want to find out more about these three misfits – excuse me, make that four misfits, including Seabiscuit – and find out how they won the love of a nation in the midst of the Great Depression. There is...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Seabiscuit. An American Legend. I think the only reason I even know the horse's name is because of the movie they filmed a few years ago. I'm obviously not a horse-racing fan, right?

I don't even remember why I grabbed this at a library book sale. A friend here on GR must have given it a good review. But I am so glad I read this.

I've gotten much better about reading non-fiction over the past six months, but I was amazed at what a page-turner this was for me. I've been reading non-fiction before...more
Panther
Sep 05, 2008 Panther rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dell
Shelves: recent-favorites
I just started this book. On page one of the prologue, I had the chilling and paranoid feeling that I had better not read it yet because it was going to be one of the best horse books I could ever read (and now that I've read Horse Heaven, after this book, all horse books must only be downhill, it seems to me right now), and about the very best horse who has ever lived. So I should save it, HOARD it, like a hamster, put off the pleasure and savour its expectation.

However, I am still reading it.

A...more
Ray Campbell
Really nice surprise. I'm not a betting person nor interested in horses. I was also under the impression this was a novel on which the movie was based. I was wrong. This is a straight history. It begins at the turn of the century and paints a vivid picture of the world at the time. From the San Fransisco Earthquake to the Great Depression, Hillenbrand draws a line and tells not merely the story of a great racing horse, but expresses the meaning of him life in the context of his times. Not at all...more
☮Karen
Such a diversity of emotions I felt while reading this. Although I was rather bored in the preliminary introductions of horse and the men around said horse, I hung on for dear life along with the jockies during the detailed descriptions of the races. There are actually two climaxes to the story, two long-anticipated races in Seabiscuit's career. I felt chills and tears in my eyes during these perfectly-described, history-making events. I wish I had read Seabscuit's story before I and a group of...more
Heather
Seabiscuit has been sitting on my shelf for years because I never seemed to be in the mood to read a book about horse racing. Finally, trying to clear space, I decided it was now or never. Within the first chapter, I was hooked. The pacing is impeccable, the people (and horses) come to life, and I felt as if I were at the racetrack. The book reads like fiction, but the endnotes attest to its veracity. Now I'm trying to get my husband to read it, but he's never in the mood for a book about horse...more
Pete
I absolutely loved this book. Hillenbrand's pacing and style draw's the reader in. Her attention to detail is captivating from the very first page. This is a book teeming with interesting and fascinating characters, not the least of which is Seabiscuit himself. As I read this book, I grew to love this magnificent animal; his quirky and mischievous personality, his gluttonous eating habits, his inner peace and serenity through tumultuous periods and, most of all, his unrelenting courage against a...more
Renata
I was told that this book was good even if you don't care that much about horses. Which was true, it's well-written and an interesting story. But when you get right down to it, I still don't care that much about horses.
Chuck
I cannot rave about this book enough (at least in my own mind). Not wanting to waste your time with my unskilled rants, suffice it to say that this is a well-written account of the historic run of Seabiscuit the racehorse. Seabiscuit is an underdog story about a beloved animal and the jockeys who rode him, and the man who owned and had faith him. I know little about horses or horse racing, but this book was easy to read and it kept my attention like few books do. A fine first effort by Laura Hil...more
Mary
I give this book 5 stars and would have made it more if I could. It was an absolutely absorbing tale, covering the stories of the jockey, owner, trainer, and yes, the horse. Who knew a writer could get inside the head of a horse? Yet Laura Hillenbrand did, and made us love that horse who struggled through his early years as an unappreciated, so-so racer on his way down until a trainer with a good eye, an owner with a lot of trust (and money), and a skilled, sensitive jockey all came together to...more
Devlin Scott
This review is not to revere SeaBiscuit, he doesn’t need me to expound upon his virtues, he’s already won the honors of the greatest racehorse in history and you would be a fool not to read this book and enjoy the ride; this review is to honor the author Laura Hillenbrand. Never have I seen such passion go into the description of a horse race. But, you decide for yourself…here’s an excerpt from the book:

SPOILER BELOW

(view spoiler)...more
Marialyce
I thought this book to be fast paced, well written, and an adventure to be followed. Ms Hillenbrand was able to make on feel the pathos, and emotional upheaval that all the characters went through in order to bring Seabiscuit to his full potential. Writing of the jockeys and their lives as such, was a lesson to me. The way in which they needed to keep their weight down was appalling. I loved all the characters as they interacted with each other and the horses.

Red Pollard was certainly a man who...more
John Kelley
In March, 2012, I watched again as I did in 2003, the movie Seabiscuit. For some reason I meant more to me than nine years ago. I order Laura Hillenbrand's wonderful book Seabiscuit Americn Legend and read with great delight. My interest in the story is wound up with my family history. My grand father, James Tracey Flaherty, if he wasn't working, he was going to the race track. The story of Seabiscuit reached its height with the November, 1938 race against War Admiraol, the winner of the Triple...more
Sera
What a fantastic book - the last few chapters had me sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next, even though I knew how it would all work out. Seabiscuit was a racing horse who took America by storm in the 1930s. Boxy and with weird legs, the horse did not fit the "look" of the typical horse during this time. He meets up with trainer, Tom Smith, owner Charles Howard and rider, Red Pollard, all of them misfits or damaged in their own right, but together with Seabiscuit...more
Linda Edwards
My favorite book! I stayed up all night reading this immensely entertaining and informative tale! Laura Hillenbrand writes with a sportswriter's sensibility of the most celebrated horse of the 30s and 40s, the underdog who was never supposed to win who gave hope to the downtrodden after the Depression. This book's detailed account of the Depression should be required reading for every high school student, and her description of the hard life of jockeys is nothing less than mind-boggling. Seabisc...more
Jessica
This is one of my favorite non-fiction books. I read it after I saw the movie, which I also really like, but the book is so much better. Like with every book adapted for a movie, so much is left out.
Seabiscuit is about one of the most famous American racehorses, who ran during the 1930's. He was a symbol of hope for many. In addition, it tells the amazing stories of his jockey, his trainer, and his owner, all of whom represent a type of person who has essentially died out in our times. Hillenbra...more
Patricia
I wouldn't give away this book for love nor money.
Seabiscuit became a hero of mine through Ms. Hildebrand's eyes.

Seabiscuit was a race horse down on his luck until a group of men, also going through hard times saw his potential and made him and star--and themselves in the process. And not only for them is Seabiscuit an icon but for a generation of Americans who were also hard on their luck because of the depression. Each man who had an interest in Seabiscuit from owner, Charles Howard, Trainer...more
Eileen
So....I'm one of those people that doesn't like "hype" around books and I wait to read it after all the hype dies down.

I wish I would have read this when it was "hot". What a passionate entertaining non-fictional book. It gives a glimpse into the world of racing in the 1930's, and tells the story of how this horse came from no where to be one of the greatest racers of all times.

The author is brilliantly gifted in being able to place you back in time into the world of horseracing, and jockeys, an...more
Kellie
Wow Wow Wow Wow. What a book. This is a great story of Seabiscuit and the men that played the role in making him one of the best racers in history. Charles Howard, the owner, Tom Smith, the trainer and Red Pollard the jockey and Henry Woolf, the other jockey who filled in for Pollard when he was hurt. The story was very well told. It starts out with the history of the each of the 3 men. And then the story begins. Sometimes, when there are so many characters mentioned in a book, it is hard to kee...more
Steve Kettmann
I didn't think I was so much a fan of the kind of book that makes you feel like you're sitting back watching a newsreel in an old-time movie theater, but Laura Hillenbrand left me no choice: She evokes the era so well, to me the book is less about a horse and a jockey and an owner and more about understanding how the character of a time often finds expression in the major sports figures who dominate the public consciousness. I'd love to see someone with Hillenbrand's talent and work ethic bring...more
Nadia
I'm going to stick with my opinion that non-fiction is another word for textbook. I was bored the whole time. I rarely not finish books, but this one was a waste of time. I told myself to try to read a fourth of it but I gave up before I got there. I can't do non-fiction. And I couldn't care less about horses, especially if they're named Seabiscuit. I also disliked the movie Black Beauty. That should have been a sign. (Rating: 1 star)

UPDATE: I'm not a quitter. I'm going to finish this book of th...more
Lorraine
I am looking forward to listening to another Hillenbrand book because she has the knack of incorporating a mammoth amount of research into a context-rich, fascinating and easy to follow yarn.
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Laura Hillenbrand (born 1967) is the author of the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend, a non-fiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001. The book later became the basis of the 2003 movie Seabiscuit. Her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Equus magazine, American Heritage, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbr...more
More about Laura Hillenbrand...
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Unbroken (the Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive Unbroken (En Espaol) Mti: Unbroken Seabiscuit: The Screenplay

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