An American Legend
by Laura Hillenbrand
Although I'm fond of animals- horses among my favorites- I've never been one to follow horse racing. I did love The Black Stallion film as a child, and enjoyed watching Seabiscuit on the big screen back when I lived in San Francisco. I had my doubts about actually reading the book (because seeing the movie first can ruin it for me), but Hillenbrand's direct writing style makes lively subject that could easily be dry and boring (and I've tried and discarded several other books on horse racing). Seabiscuit: An American Legend tells the full story of how a little horse who didn't look like much became famous and inspired thousands of Americans during the 1930's. The book describes Seabiscuit's startling rise to fame: how he was trained, his quirks on the field, strengths and weaknesses, failures, injuries, medical treatments, and eventually his great success. Much more than just a story about a horse, it tells about the people who worked with Seabiscuit, what transpired to bring them together, and how avidly the public responded to him. At times the amount of names and facts could make my attention falter, but the story kept moving- interesting and full of details about the ractrack. I think besides learning about Seabiscuit's personality, I mostly enjoyed this plunge into the heart of the racing world. I also appreciated the afterward, in which the author describes her personal struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, and how the work of this book gave her contact with the world.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 399 pages, 2001