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by Laura Hillenbrand

published 2003

This is the story that became a hit movie, also in 2003.  The book and movie are similar, although the book naturally has far more detail and nuance.  After extensive research including hundreds of interviews, Hillenbrand presents the saga of a small team of people and one remarkable horse who, defying all expectations, captured the imagination of a nation in the midst of depression.

Seabiscuit was a racehorse during the 1930’s.   Though descended from a high-value racehorse pedigree, in his early years he was disregarded as deformed, lazy and unmanageable.   Auto millionaire Charles Howard purchased the horse upon the advice of his down-and-out trainer Tom Smith.  Teaming up with down-and-out jockey Red Pollard, the foursome became the ultimate underdog team.  In a nation hungry for a second chance, Seabiscuit won the hearts of the American people.

Hillenbrand is a talented story-teller as well as researcher, and she does an excellent job with the wealth of material she uncovered for this project.  The text is a quick and pleasant read, and manages to be a page-turner even though we already know the ending.  The Biscuit’ will ultimately win the big match race against War Admiral, yet the characters and story are so compelling that the reader ultimately cares about the outcome of each of the story’s characters.  A good read from a talented author.