An American Legend

A quintessential American Story, SeaBiscuit chronicles the lives of Charles Howard, Red Pollard, George Woolf, and of course, SeaBiscuit.

In an era when American’s needed something to root for, SeaBiscuit, an unattractive, oddly-walking horse, gave them inspiration. Capturing America’s imagination, SeaBiscuit and his favorite jockey Red Pollard, were the ultimate underdogs. They overcame baffling odds to become winners.

Plucked from obscurity after years of abuse, SeaBiscuit is trained by unconventional trainer Tom Smith. Smith has a way with horses and recognizes SeaBiscuit’s bad behavior for what it is. Boredom and a reaction to having been abused. The horse is far too intelligent to be trained with traditional methods.

Tom Smith coaxes the best out of SeaBiscuit and is rewarded by SeaBiscuit’s fierce speed and competitive nature. But their path to greatness is fraught with poor weather, injuries and bad luck.

Like the true winners they are, they never give up and eventually earn their place as American legends.

While this non-fiction story started off slowly by going into the history of the four main characters, once it got started it was impossible to put down. Every character is larger than life and fascinating.

Whether you are a horse-racing fan or not, SeaBiscuit offers a poignant look into American life in the 1930’s. It is one of those rare stories that will live on in the minds of anyone who reads the book. Loved it!

Book Blurb for Seabiscuit

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 changed Seabiscuit s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.

Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2010 5.00