Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Special Illustrated Collector's Edition)

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9781400060986: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Special Illustrated Collector's Edition)

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.

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Review:

He didn't look like much. With his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, "was mostly in his heart." Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of the horse who became a cultural icon in Seabiscuit: An American Legend.

Seabiscuit rose to prominence with the help of an unlikely triumvirate: owner Charles Howard, an automobile baron who once declared that "the day of the horse is past"; trainer Tom Smith, a man who "had cultivated an almost mystical communication with horses"; and jockey Red Pollard, who was down on his luck when he charmed a then-surly horse with his calm demeanor and a sugar cube. Hillenbrand details the ups and downs of "team Seabiscuit," from early training sessions to record-breaking victories, and from serious injury to "Horse of the Year"--as well as the Biscuit's fabled rivalry with War Admiral. She also describes the world of horseracing in the 1930s, from the snobbery of Eastern journalists regarding Western horses and public fascination with the great thoroughbreds to the jockeys' torturous weight-loss regimens, including saunas in rubber suits, strong purgatives, even tapeworms.

Along the way, Hillenbrand paints wonderful images: tears in Tom Smith's eyes as his hero, legendary trainer James Fitzsimmons, asked to hold Seabiscuit's bridle while the horse was saddled; critically injured Red Pollard, whose chest was crushed in a racing accident a few weeks before, listening to the San Antonio Handicap from his hospital bed, cheering "Get going, Biscuit! Get 'em, you old devil!"; Seabiscuit happily posing for photographers for several minutes on end; other horses refusing to work out with Seabiscuit because he teased and taunted them with his blistering speed.

Though sometimes her prose takes on a distinctly purple hue ("His history had the ethereal quality of hoofprints in windblown snow"; "The California sunlight had the pewter cast of a declining season"), Hillenbrand has crafted a delightful book. Wire to wire, Seabiscuit is a winner. Highly recommended. --Sunny Delaney

From the Back Cover:

Praise for Seabiscut

“A captivating story . . . with the detail of good history, the blistering pace of Biscuit himself and the charm of grand legend.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Remarkable . . . memorable . . . just as compelling today as it was in 1938.”
The Washington Post

“Dazzling . . . [Seabiscuit] does for the world of horse racing what Into Thin Air did for mountain climbing. . . . In daredevil prose that sprints along at a breakneck pace, Hillenbrand tells the incredible tale of Seabiscuit. . . . Like a brilliant jockey, Hillenbrand suspensefully manages her champion of a story. In the final stretch, it hurtles towards its climax.”
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR

“It’s a terrific story, but it’s more than just a horse’s tale, because the humans who owned, trained and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating. . . . Even if your interest in horses goes no further than hansom cabs, you’ll find this book engrossing.”
Sports Illustrated

“Terrific . . . Illuminating a forgotten piece of American history, Seabiscuit brings alive the drama, the beauty, the louche charm and the brutality of horse racing.”
USA Today

“Good sports books are few and far between, good books on racing even more so. So it is hugely refreshing when one as fine as this one comes along. The research is meticulous, the writing elegant and concise, so that every page transports you back to the period. . . . This is a remarkable tale well told by a writer who deftly blends history and sport. Seabiscuit should capture a new generation of readers beyond the world of horse racing.”
The Economist

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