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Seabiscuit: An American Legend
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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  85,783 ratings  ·  2,775 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
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
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
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
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
Christie Bogle
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
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
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
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 neve ...more
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
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
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.

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

4.5 stars

Seabiscuit is such a great story. I loved this book. It was so well written. Laura Hillenbrand managed to capture the horse racing world in a vivid way. And that also included the lives of the trainers and the jockeys. What demanding jobs they had. I can't imagine being a jockey, because most of them had such a sad life and most were destitute.

Overall, I enjoyed learning about everything this book had to offer.
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
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
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
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
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
Allison Anderson
Wow, Laura Hillenbrand amazes me again with her detailed, historical narrative of a subject that I was not initially super interested in. I have always loved horses but this story brought the sport of horse racing and jockeying to life! I can't believe how much research she had to do to write this book, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who just likes a good read. A bit too many facts and detail at times bogged me down, but overall I am enthralled with this writer.
Jane Stewart
4 stars. Book was good but not as great as the subject matter. Audiobook narrator was average.

This is a biography of a race horse. There are a lot of details and facts: names of races, dates, times, speeds, and info about other horses and people. At times it was like a text book. But that’s ok. I want facts. During specific races it was exciting. I recently read Boys in the Boat about a rowing crew. That book was more exciting and engaging all the way through. Probably because BITB was about hu
An extraordinary story about a spectacular horse. Even more illuminating was the reality of horse racing, particularly the life of the jockeys. It sheds new light on the sport and somewhat changed my perspective. It doesn't diminish, however, Seabiscuit's legacy.
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.
Hillenbrand's first book doesn't possess the same refined writing style that ''Unbroken'' has but it still is very much an exciting and fascinating read. Then again, she spent 4 years on the book and 7 years on ''Unbroken'' so there's a huge time gap. of course it's expected for her writing in improve.

Seabiscuit's story was totally unknown to me and thanks to Hillenbrand, I've been made aware of such a peculiar part of American sports history. A great writer can make any subject interesting and
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
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:


(view spoiler)
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
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
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
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2015 Reading Chal...: Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand 1 4 Feb 17, 2015 03:41PM  
The best underdog story? 9 33 Feb 01, 2015 05:25AM  
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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: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive Seabiscuit: The Screenplay

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“His books were the closest thing he had to furniture and he lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.” 1561 likes
“...maybe it was better to break a man's leg than to break his heart.” 41 likes
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