Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” as Want to Read:
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  112,171 Ratings  ·  3,481 Reviews
There's an alternate cover edition here

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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Seabiscuit, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Marsha It's a great story, but if you don't want a 12-year-old to read offensive language, have him/her wait a few years. The jockey in the story had a…moreIt's a great story, but if you don't want a 12-year-old to read offensive language, have him/her wait a few years. The jockey in the story had a filthy mouth.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Dec 04, 2007 Stephanie "Jedigal" rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Angela M
Apr 12, 2013 Angela M rated it it was amazing
I don't read very much non- fiction but I just loved this !
Oct 12, 2008 Atishay rated it really liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Inês Beato
Jan 22, 2015 Inês Beato rated it it was amazing
Seabiscuit foi um dos melhores cavalos de corrida de sempre e uma lenda do desporto equestre. Eu sou uma amante de cavalos, animais absolutamente notáveis com os quais sempre tive oportunidade de conviver desde pequena, pelo que foi com absoluto deleite que li a história deste cavalo fenomenal, contada magistralmente por Laura Hillenbrand.

"Seabiscuit, an American Legend" apresenta um trabalho de pesquisa impressionante, aliado a uma escrita ímpar e uma capacidade para contar histórias digna de
Mar 25, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
The wonderfully talented Laura Hillenbrand makes history come alive in this page turning account of the life and times of one of thoroughbreds greatest 4 legged athletes. After setting the depression era stage, the author examines the back-stories of Seabiscuit's charismatic owners; Charles and Marcella Howard, the enigmatic and gifted trainer Tom Smith, the very talented but hard luck jockey, Red Pollard and of course the protagonist, Seabiscuit. Where I might differ in the universally effusive ...more
Sep 10, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
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
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
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)
Dec 10, 2008 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it really liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Pat
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
Elizabeth A
Jul 24, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2015, non-fiction
I have seen, and loved, the movie based on this book several times, and as I tend to enjoy non-fiction reads during the summer, decided to dive in. I listened to the audiobook which is wonderfully narrated by George Newbern.

This is narrative non-fiction at its best. I loved everything about this story. The characters, both human and horse, are broken but not out. The pacing of the story is excellent, and there were moments that I was on tenterhooks waiting to see what would happen next. Given th
Mar 22, 2008 Panther rated it it was amazing
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.

Apr 01, 2012 Pete rated it it was amazing
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
Ray Campbell
Mar 15, 2012 Ray Campbell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
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
Sep 29, 2012 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 02, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 17, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

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.
Allison Anderson Armstrong
Feb 21, 2015 Allison Anderson Armstrong rated it it was amazing
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.
Cindy McQueen
I've had this book on my to read pile for forever. I'm not exactly sure why I kept putting it off. I've always loved horses. Used to muck stalls just for fun and still have dreams of actually owning a place with a horse or two. But I've never been into horse racing and I guess I thought I knew the story. Boy, was I wrong. This wasn't just a book about horse racing. Laura Hillenbrand brought history to life. She put together a fast paced story that made me feel like I was there. I cared about the ...more
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
Nicole R
I love horse racing. I do not know why I am so enamored with it and I certainly do not follow it year round, but for the few months of the Triple Crown I cannot get enough. I research the horses, I research the jockeys, I read about previous winners, trainers, owners, anything.

That is a long way to say that I knew I would love this book. There is no way that I wouldn't. What I wasn't prepared for his how much I was completely captivated by Seabiscuit's story.

Seabiscuit was an amazing horse. But
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
John Kelley
May 02, 2012 John Kelley rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 09, 2010 Marialyce rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2013 Chuck rated it it was amazing
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
May 14, 2015 Dkovlak rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot about horse racing from this book. The author did an extraordinary job of writing the details of every aspect of the trials and successes of this horse and everyone around him even though the book was written 60 years after the events occurred.

I learned that horses are very intelligent and each one has its own personality. I also learned that being a jockey is a very dangerous and generally a low paying job. I also learned how important a good horse trainer is in the success of
Jan 21, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Susanna-Cole King
I relish the rarity of a book that can wholly tame my restlessness and hold me in the palm of its hand, as Laura Hillenbrand does with "Seabiscuit" about a little race horse who enthralled the nation, amidst the Great Depression. Burrowed beneath a mound of blankets this morning, as I entered a passage recanting one of Seabiscuit's wildly attended races, I felt my temperature spike to feverish heights and my heart pound. What is greater than a book that makes you feel like your really there, so ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Secretariat: The Making of a Champion
  • Ruffian: Burning From the Start
  • The Man Who Listens to Horses
  • Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning
  • Funny Cide
  • A Quiet Storm
  • The Horse God Built
  • Chicken Soup For The Horse Lover's Soul: Inspirational Stories About Horses and the People Who Love Them
  • Stud: Adventures in Breeding
  • Sacred Time
  • Horse Heaven
  • The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation
  • Man O'War
  • Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America
  • Secretariat
  • A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister
  • Pushkin: A Biography
  • Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West
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...

Share This Book

“His books were the closest thing he had to furniture and he lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.” 1577 likes
“...maybe it was better to break a man's leg than to break his heart.” 49 likes
More quotes…