Gypsy Lady's Reviews > Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
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's review
Apr 08, 2012

really liked it
Read in April, 2012

Including acknowledgements, documentation and the index, this is a 453 page edition

Well documented, well researched, well written, indexed.

Page 151
In the winter of 1937, America was in the seventh year of the most catastrophic decade in its history. The economy had come crashing down and millions upon millions of people had been torn loose from their jobs, their savings, their homes. A nation that drew its audacity from the quintessentially American belief that success is open to anyone willing to work for it was disillusioned by seemingly intractable poverty. The most brash of people was seized by despair, fatalism, and fear.

The sweeping devastation was giving rise to powerful new social forces. The first was a burgeoning industry of escapism. America was desperate to lose itself in anything that offered affirmation. The nation’s corner theaters hosted 85 million people a week for 25-cent viewing of an endless array of cheery musicals and screwball comedies. On the radio, the idealized world on One Man’s Family and the just and reassuring tales of The Lone Ranger were runaway hits. Downtrodden Americans gravitated strongly toward the Horatio Alger protagonist, the lowly bred Everyman who rises from anonymity and hopelessness. They looked for him in spectator sport, which were enjoying explosive growth. With the relegalization of wagering, no sport was growing faster than Thoroughbred racing.

Page 314
Beneath a translucent scrim of clouds at eight o'clock in the morning on November 1, 1938, Maryland Racing Commission chairman Jervis Spencer stepped out onto the smoky brown oval of Pimlico With his hands pushed into the pockets of a gray overcoat, Spencer circled the track on foot, moving by a palette of colorful barns and turning leaves.

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