- An American Legend
- Narrated by: George Newbern
- Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 11-16-10
- Language: English
- Publisher: Random House Audio
Regular price: $35.93
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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Janice on 06-26-13
See you in the winner's circle
I never got around to reading this book when it first came out, but did see the movie and have watched it several times. Because the movie was so perfectly casted with Jeff Bridges, Toby Maguire and Chris Cooper, those were the faces I saw in my head as I listened to the scenes familiar from the film. The real delight was in discovering the details that further fleshed out those characters and the story in general – Howard’s compassionate and feisty wife, Smith’s sly tricks to evade the press, the brutal life of virtual indentured servitude jockeys endured to make a dangerous and financially unrewarding living.
The book starts somewhat slowly methodically, introducing the three damaged men and the horse, who all needed to come together to mend each others’ lives. These introductions also laid out necessary information for the reader uninitiated in racing lore to understand the context of the lives in question. For that reason, some readers may feel it moves slowly. But with the foundation laid, the stage is well set for the exciting racing scenes that had me rooting for The Biscuit, sometimes with victory and more often than I had realized with defeat. If there was one weakness, because the excitement of any sporting event depends largely on the visual witnessing of the event, hearing a verbal narration just didn’t convey the tension, danger, and exhilaration that raised my adrenalin, especially for the lesser races. The major races (the Match Race, and the 100 Grander) were exceptions – very exciting and well written. Narration was good, had the tone of a documentary which this really was. Not as deeply moving as Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”, but that ‘s apples and oranges.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
By Knutsson on 01-02-11
Best book ever!
If I rate books on a ten point scale, this one is an easy fifteen, maybe twenty. Just such a well told story! I knew Sebiscuit was a great horse, but the story behind it.... I will re-read it to pick up details, I might have missed. Don't pass this one by, please!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful