JZ Temple's Reviews > Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
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Aug 10, 07

bookshelves: history
Recommended for: everyone who wants an interesting read about a less than familar subject
Read in July, 2005

Seabiscuit is an excellent example of how interesting non-fiction can be. For those who braved to the end of the book and checked out the notes section, there are references to all sorts of items that one might suspect the author created out of thin air. I remember at one point the author mentions one character, on a particular day, wearing a certain hat and waving it, but a quick check to the notes revealed a magazine article where a writer had described the character in question's habit of wearing a certain hat all the time at the track and waving it. Sure, writing it as history might be a bit of a stretch, but certainly it makes the book very accessible for readers.

The author, like Melville, understands how important it is to convey the sense of a place or time to the reader. You learn, for instance, not only how the racetrack in Tiajuana looked, but how it *smelled*. The books also contains some of the best descriptions of how perilous a ride is for the jockey. Hillenbrand again and again strikes the exact balance between detail and narrative. A very good, readable book.
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