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 ·  155,891 ratings  ·  4,518 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
Christine I just finished Seabiscuit and there is no offensive language in the book. In one chapter, there is reference to the jockeys visiting a house of prost…moreI just finished Seabiscuit and there is no offensive language in the book. In one chapter, there is reference to the jockeys visiting a house of prostitutes but there are no details. I wish, for your sake, that readers would comment on the book and not the movie.(less)
Bryan to tell the truth, I don't remember, but yes it probably does. shows that the movie Seabiscuit contains: At least 10 "s" words, 12 hells, 4 S…more
to tell the truth, I don't remember, but yes it probably does. shows that the movie Seabiscuit contains: At least 10 "s" words, 12 hells, 4 S.O.B.s, 3 craps, 3 damns, 6 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Jesus Christ," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 of "Christ's sakes."

if that stops you from reading an amazing book about four broken things coming together to make history. it's your loss.

"Although he’s a grandson of the legendary Man 'O War, the horse is viewed as lazy and slow. He loves to eat and finds great pleasure in sleeping peacefully under the trees. But Smith is convinced Seabiscuit can be a winner. The knobby-kneed horse has heart and the will to win."


Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  155,891 ratings  ·  4,518 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Seabiscuit: An American Legend
I have been known to bet a couple of bucks on a horse race or two. I lived in Kentucky for about 10 years where horse racing is king. Now I live within a couple of hours of close to a dozen horse tracks - including Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Because of all this, I figured I might be interested in the biography of one of history's most famous horses.

I was definitely satisfied with the experience!

The story of Seabiscuit reads like it was written for Hollywood and plays out like
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nonfiction haters, Everyone!
Shelves: with-em, nonfiction
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 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

What a remarkable story!

Brilliant once it got going, and wonderfully crafted by Laura Hillenbrand.

I learned a lot about horses and racing. And that jockeys are badass!

Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the sparkling, colorful and vibrant world of racehorses and tournaments with his legends, dramas and passions.... located in the USA of the nineteenth twenties .......
Openly speaking, friends, let me say that I would never have pick up a book about racehorses and only because of the greats and awesome reviews at goodreads, and also because Laura Hillenbrand was the author, did I in the end made my mind up to read this one......and thanks God that I did!!!!!

Let me tell you also that th
Aug 08, 2007 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
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horse lovers.
“It's easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language. Horses stay the same from the day they are born until the day they die. They are only changed by the way people treat them.”
― Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit: An American Legend

I love LOVE..the story of Sea Biscuit. What a horse! He seemed almost human to me.

We here in my family are huge Horse fans and Derby fans and even have had Kentucky Derby parties. There are a few horses that just leave me speechless. Secretariet is one. Sea Bisc
Daniel Brown
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I make no bones about it. This is the book that inspired me to write The Boys in the Boat. It may be the most well crafted narrative nonfiction book since In Cold Blood and The Right Stuff.
Angela M
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't read very much non- fiction but I just loved this ! ...more
Oct 12, 2008 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
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-to-read
Can I give this 6 stars please!!!

Such a moving story!!

Wonderful! Full of heart! Amazing!
I simply just adore it!!
And it was even better than the movie! Which should really tell you something since I probably know that movie by heart, having already seen it 6 times till now.

Seabiscuit is the best!!

Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've had this on my TBR for ages but never got to it but I'm so glad that I finally did! First - I should note that I have absolutely NO INTEREST in horses or horse racing. In fact, I would say that the idea of a book about horses and horse racing makes me want to roll my eyes out of boredom. And then came along Laura Hillenbrand!!!

It is her writing that really makes this book special - That makes it about more than a horse or a race or a sport. She makes the people and places come alive on eac
Rebecca Rosenberg
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Laura Hillenbrand breathes life and intimate detail to the world of horse racing. I loved Sea Biscuit, the underdog, who prevailed to a hero. Laura writes non-fiction like the best fiction, and I appreciate the way she makes it real. Because of Seabisquit, I have attended horse races! And even bet! The latest race was the Breeders Cup at Del Mar, and the horse I bet on, (One Wild Broad?) won! What a thrill!

Rebecca Rosenberg
The Secret Life of Mrs. London
Please FOLLO
Dawn Wells
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Growing up in Louisville, Ky and loving the derby reading this was a given. It being so extremely great was a bonus. Re read 2015 enjoyed it even more
Nov 25, 2007 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
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 ...more
Jonathan K
Mar 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
As mentioned in many of the status updates for this book, I had seen the Jeff Bridges film several times so it made sense to read it. To say this is an inspiring story doesn't do it justice. Given the time frame of the story, the risk involved for Charles Howard to dip his toe into horse racing was monumental. But he was no ordinary man nor were his choices. A tight-lipped trainer that was too old, a red headed jockey that was too big, and a race horse nobody wanted. Who would have thought this ...more
Jay Pruitt
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
“In 1938... the year's #1 newsmaker was not FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. Nor was it Lou Gehrig or Clark Gable. The subject of the most newspaper column inches in 1938 wasn't even a person. It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit.”

America loves an underdog. Such is the case of Seabiscuit. Yes, he was an amazing athlete. But, more than anything else, he became a favorite because pound-for-pound Seabuscuit may have been the greatest racehorse ever. He was only 15 hands tall,
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
This was a VERY interesting and engrossing read. There's lots of information not just about horse racing, but also about the events and times of the 1930's. And Laura Hillenbrand describes the races so well that she had me on the edge of my seat. All the characters are described vividly, and I cared for all of them.
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
Elizabeth A
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, audio, 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
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
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
K.M. Weiland
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a story for the ages. Hillenbrand does a magnificent job of capturing the swirling excitement that surrounded the unbelievable racing career of the unlikely Seabiscuit. Her exquisite attention to detail and her evocative but never ostentatious prose creates a lost world of Depression-era racing. She doesn't flinch from her cast's warts, but, in the end, we love them as much as we love the horse. Fantastic story, fantastically told. ...more
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
JG (Introverted Reader)
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to JG (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
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal read. In addition to a great ‘sports’ book this was also a fascinating glimpse into California of the 20’s and 30’s and of course how popular horse racing was at that time.

5 stars easy.
A very inspiring read - story of Seabiscuit and his rider Red Pollard as well as Charles Howard (owner). Laura Hillenbrand did a wonderful job telling their story. Horse story makes me cry every time... I don't understand why. 😥😄 ...more
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017: Read a book about sports. This book started slow, and then I could NOT put it down. I cried twice during race scenes, and had to stop reading before bed because my heart was pounding! I learned more about racing -- and Depression-era America -- than I ever expected. Especially interesting to me was the psychology of horses (how they play off each other's emotions during a race) and the physiology of being a jockey (making weight & serious injury -- whew). It ...more
Sep 10, 2008 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
Katelyn Smith
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I never thought I would read this because I basically hate horse books/movies (yes, I am probably a horrible person) but I was persuaded by one of my favorite podcasts, "What Should I Read Next." Hillenbrand is the master of research and humanizing and fleshing out historical stories. Seabiscuit and his trainer, Smith, owner, Howard, and rider, Pollard, had me deeply invested. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Secretariat: The Making of a Champion
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
  • Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1)
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
  • Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time
  • The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation
  • The Horse God Built
  • The Man Who Listens to Horses
  • American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
  • Man O'War
  • Hidden Figures
  • Ruffian: Burning From the Start
  • Tuesdays with Morrie
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • Flags of Our Fathers
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
41 likes · 10 comments
“His books were the closest thing he had to furniture and he lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.” 1557 likes
“...maybe it was better to break a man's leg than to break his heart.” 56 likes
More quotes…