Charlotte's Reviews > Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
by Laura Hillenbrand
by Laura Hillenbrand
Mar 26, 2012
Read in July, 2011
This book was a step outside of what I would normally expect to read. While I grew up with horses, horse racing has never particularly appealed to me. However, I had read a review of this book some time ago, and it was highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try. Its setting in the 1930's, a time my parents have often spoke of, appealed to me and I enjoyed learning more of this era from a different perspective. While I could have done with a less thorough account about the life of jockeys, and descriptions of racetracks, Hillenbrand's character development was superb. Seabiscuit, a thoroughbred with a great pedigree didn't look, act or even have a gait to indicate he be successful. His first owner had major battles with this apparently stubborn, mean spirited horse. Three human characters with simple backgrounds were able to nurture him to the fame he eventually attained. His trainer, Tom Smith, uncommunicative and private, frustrated his human companions, but he had a sixth sense when it came to "reading" the feelings of animals. He understood what would work and threw all his training knowledge and sense into bringing the best from Sea Biscuit. Red Pollard, a young and not particularly successful jockey, who endured unending injuries and lived in poverty, could, under Tom's tutelage, become one with this horse. Charles Howard, a bicycle repairman who made a fortune introducing automobiles to the American West maintained his love for horses and became the owner of Sea Biscuit. He never stopped believing that Sea Biscuit could win the most prestigious race of them all, the Santa Anita Handicap. Through disappointments, successes, and setbacks, these three men and an amazingly plucky horse persevere. Hillenbrand has created a captivating story of their journey.
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