Length: 457 pages
Audiobook Length: 13 hours and 13 minutes
First Published: 1999
In 1938, the single biggest newsmaker was not Hitler or Mussolini, but the crooked-legged racehorse Seabiscuit, an unlikely hero who became an American icon. When Charles Howard wanted to own racehorses, he teamed up with Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from Colorado, and Red Pollard, a half-blind former boxer turned jockey, in a partnership that would transform bad luck and injury into an inspirational success story. With long shot odds and dramatic twists and turns, Seabiscuit has all the hallmarks of a great sports story and Hillenbrand’s brilliant narration will thrill any reader, no matter your interest in horseracing.
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.
Quotes from Seabiscuit
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.
His books were the closest thing he had to furniture and he lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.
So long, Charley.
Movie Trailer for Seabiscuit (2004)
About Laura Hillenbrand
Laura Hillenbrand is the author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken. She is the co-founder of Operation International Children, which provides school supplies to children through American troops. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.