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Extended Audio Sample Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (46,673 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Hillenbrand Narrator: Campbell Scott Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Fascinating . . . Vivid . . . A first-rate piece of storytelling, leaving us not only with a vivid portrait of a horse but a fascinating slice of American history as well. The New York Times
  • Engrossing . . . Fast-moving . . . More than just a horse’s tale, because the humans who owned, trained, and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating. . . . [Hillenbrand] shows an extraordinary talent for describing a horse race so vividly that the reader feels like the rider. Sports Illustrated
  • REMARKABLE . . . MEMORABLE . . . JUST AS COMPELLING TODAY AS IT WAS IN 1938. The Washington Post
  • “Fascinating…Vivid…A first-rate piece of storytelling, leaving us not only with a vivid portrait of a horse but a fascinating slice of American history as well.”

    New York Times

  • “Remarkable…Memorable…Just as compelling today as it was in 1938.”

    Washington Post

  • “More than a tale of a great horse. It’s a window on an era in American history…Hillenbrand also proves to be a wonderful storyteller, with a graceful style that can be appropriately witty, serious, or taut with suspense.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Eloquent…Seabiscuit was a comeback kid for a comeback time, and in the course of this scrupulously researched recounting, Hillenbrand manages to tell not only an inspiring horse story but also an engrossing human one…Deftly resurrects Depression-era U.S. racing in all its dramas, jubilation, tragedies, risks, and dark secrets…Seabiscuit is a winner.”

    Miami Hearld

  • “Seemingly written from the saddle…Even if you’re not a racing fan—especially if you’re not—this self-possessed animal comes across so sharply…that it hurts to lose him again, even after all this time.”

    Newsday

  • “A fascinating account of one of the sport’s most alluring icons.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Engrossing…Fast-moving…More than just a horse’s tale, because the humans who owned, trained, and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating…[Hillenbrand] shows an extraordinary talent for describing a horse race so vividly that the reader feels like the rider.”

    Sports Illustrated

  • “Hillenbrand, a contributing writer at Equus magazine, is a deft storyteller whose descriptions of such races are especially good, filled with images of pounding hooves and splattering mud.”

    BusinessWeek

  • “Wonderful…Astounding…The stories of the races in which Seabiscuit shattered speed records are…almost unbearably suspenseful…The heart of [this book’s] appeal is in its seamless combination of triumph and melancholy.”

    Salon.com

  • “You don’t have to like horses to respond to such a rousing story. Why? Because Hillenbrand doesn’t just tell the story; she recreates it…[She] knows horses, knows racing, knows training, and knows riding, and she relays the skill and sweat and sweet intuition that go into it…Guess what you end up with? A book that’s brilliant and convincing. Seabiscuit belongs in the winner’s circle.”

    Austin-American Statesman

  • “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

  • “Laura Hillenbrand knows racehorses, riders, and trainers. She knows our history. She knows how the two combine. Seabiscuit was a great horse, perhaps the best ever, running in one of the worst decades ever, the Great Depression, bringing excitement and pleasure to millions of Americans when they needed those emotions desperately. This is more than a fine piece of writing about the sport of racing; it is also about our history.”

    Stephen Ambrose

  • “The research is meticulous, the writing elegant and concise…[It] transports you back to the period…This is a remarkable tale well told by a writer who deftly blends history and sport.”

    Economist

  • “Compelling…It is the story of a time when the heroic generation of the following decade was itself being nurtured, and when unsuspected strength and endurance were still values to champion.”

    New York Daily News

  • “This is a terrific biography of what might have been the greatest racehorse that ever lived—and you don’t have to know anything about racing to enjoy it.”

    Arizona Republic

  • “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 [an] incredible tale…In the final stretch, it hurtles towards its climax.”

    NPR, Fresh Air

  • “Hillenbrand’s detailed and dramatic recreation of Seabiscuit’s life and times is a remarkable testament to what four years of meticulous research and a writer’s gift for storytelling can accomplish.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A #1 USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2001 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2001
  • A 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year for Nonfiction
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Nonfiction
  • A 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography
  • A 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for General Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marisa Lyden geraghty | 2/17/2014

    " Fantastic read about the personal story of this amazing horse and those who loved him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Carole Robinson | 2/10/2014

    " Now I chose this one because I totally enjoyed Laura's "Unbroken". I loved her style of writing and appreciated the amount of research she put into it. I think I saw the movie, but don't remmeber. However this book will not be forgotten. I learned so much about the horse racing industry as well as the lifestyle of many during the end of the Great Depression. The characters were easy to know through Hillenbrand's writing. Again, I don't follow racing or horse husbandry either, but this book was well worth the read. Enjoy folks!!! Even if you remember seeing the movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nikolina Hansen | 2/4/2014

    " So moving action. That sounds strange to describe a book about horse racing. The detail about the racing interesting and informative but at times bogged done. I did learn about the history about the sport as well as some other historical events at the time "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Debra | 1/28/2014

    " A well written style that makes you think you are reading a novel. This was way better than the movie. At the end of the movie there were so many unanswered questions, especially about Red Pollard and his abandonment by his parents. In the book you discover that Pollard was not truly abandoned for his entire life. He regularly sent home money to his family in Canada so that they could keep the family house. At one time his father came a great distance and at great expense to see him ride. Also, at the end you receive an epilogu that takes you to the end of Pollard's, Howard's, Woolfe's and Seabiscuit's lives. All in all, a great read. I will definitely read another of Hllenbrand's books. "

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