An American Legend

Hillenbrand, Laura

Book - 2003
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
A deluxe illustrated edition of one of the most beloved books of our time, with nearly 150 historic photographs personally selected by the author The spellbinding true story of how three men and a great racehorse captivated a nation, Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit: An American Legend became an immediate number one bestseller and cultural phenomenon upon its publication in 2001. Named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications--including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, People, USA Today, and The Economist --Seabiscuit was also honored as the BookSense Nonfiction Book of the Year and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and was a finalist for several other major prizes, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. For this lavishly illustrated special edition, author Laura Hillenbrand has written a new Introduction and selected nearly 150 rare photographs from historic archives and private collections. Seabiscuit tells the story of three remarkable men: Charles Howard, a bicycle repairman who made a fortune by introducing the automobile to the American West; Red Pollard, a failed prizefighter and failing jockey who was abandoned as a boy at a makeshift racetrack; and Tom Smith, an enigmatic mustang breaker who came from the vanishing frontier, bearing generations of lost wisdom about the secrets of horses. In the sultry summer of 1936, the lives of these men converged around a bad-legged, floundering racehorse named Seabiscuit. Forming an improbable partnership, they transformed the horse into one of the most extraordinary competitors in sports history. In four tumultuous years, the rags-to-riches horse overcame a phenomenal run of misfortune to emerge as an American cultural icon, drawing an immense following, prompting an avalanche of merchandising, and establishing himself as the single biggest newsmaker of 1938--receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or any other public figure. Seabiscuit is an inspiring tale of unlikely heroes, a classic story of three embattled individuals and a remarkable racehorse overcoming the odds in the Great Depression.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2003
Edition: Special ill. collector's ed
ISBN: 1400060982
Branch Call Number: 798.4 H651ss 2003
Characteristics: xviii, 377 p. :,ill. ;,26 cm


From Library Staff

This is why I love to read history. Who would ever guess that in 1938 a crooked-legged horse would get more news coverage than FDR, Hitler or Mussolini?

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 31, 2014
  • mateen5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book about horse racing!!!

Jun 26, 2014
  • sharonb122 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great book! I thought that reading race details over and over would b boring, but not at all. Stories of the people's lives were amazing. Woven through was history of the 1930s, descriptions of the jockeys jobs and the story of the phenomena that was Seabiscuit. Wish she could have included a glossary of racing terms, but really glad reading program at our library suggested reading a non fiction book about animals. It had lots of pathos, as well.

May 18, 2014
  • Mothercat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a wonderful book! Having seen the movie on TV a couple of months ago, and enjoyed it, I came across a comment somewhere about how good this book was, and how you should read it even if you've seen the movie - and how right that comment was. Incredible partnership between horse and men (owner, trainer, jockies), very moving and such a tale of triumph against tremendous odds. Awesome!

Feb 15, 2014
  • TJJ52 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

excellent description of the period. A memorable passage is the description of these tremendously athletic beasts during a race.

Jun 13, 2012
  • Agent13 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

With racing season upon us, I read this book; a story of overcoming big odds (of the four legged variety). Us "two leggers" can benefit. I think, though, that the author overstates the case that Seabiscuit's plight was deeply felt by America and what we were going through (the Depression) at the time. The highlight of the book is a contest between Seabiscuit and Man O' War, the "Babe Ruth" of horses.

Apr 29, 2012
  • WindsorSteve rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One way to spend a few hours on a gorgeous spring day -- Seabiscuit - the book (ya might recall the 2003 flick) on le patio at the Sugarbowl. Couldn't put this book down. It's the story of a motley crew - an attention loving owner, horse whispering trainer, Shakespeare quoting jockey (who was from Edmonton) and horse with "heart as big as all outdoors". The twists and turns of their story captured the hearts and imagination of America from 1936-40. Found me heart pounding a few times...and no, there was no beer involved (this time anyway) Enjoy!

Apr 04, 2012
  • carolynv rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I wasn't the least bit interested in horse racing but I had seen the movie on which the book was based and thought I would check it out. An amazing story, wonderfully written! I found myself trying not to skip ahead to find out what happens. My heart was literally pounding in parts!

Apr 02, 2012
  • 3puffins rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Picked this book up as an incidental read to kill time and WOW, what a surprise! Like it so much I bought a copy for my home library intending to read again. Great biographical detail on the main characters; facts laced with humour about them and the horse itself; author puts you right in the saddle during the super-charged races and you have to hang on and ride to the end! Would love to find similar writing about Phar Lap and others 'cause I'm hooked!

Nov 21, 2011

There was a terrific author named Ralph Moody, who wrote books about his family: Little Britches, Home Ranch, etc. He also wrote a book about the Sea Biscuit story. I am trying to request a copy of this book. I heard it was also very good.

Nov 21, 2011
  • hiSTORYbuff5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is wonderfully written and I agree with dustypages 100%. Don't be turned off by the length, subject, or genre because otherwise you will miss out on a memorable, honorable book that will teach you about horses, racing, and life.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

May 11, 2014

white_eagle_64 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at MCL