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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (46,541 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Hillenbrand Narrator: George Newbern Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9780307878632
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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 President Roosevelt, Adolph 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. But three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes.

Charles Howard was a one-time 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 amazing American sports icon.

Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that provided hope and happiness for millions.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wild Blue

  • 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
  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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 Herald

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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)

  • “Foregoing any bells and whistles, George Newbern’s understated narration is the ideal match for Hillenbrand’s sweeping account of how a small bay horse—an underdog with crooked legs, often described as ugly—came to be more important to the American psyche than President Roosevelt and the war against Hitler. Newbern’s unhurried pace and warm, comfortable timbre invite listeners to sit back and enjoy this history of horse racing during the Great Depression, to become familiar with some of the major players as well as many of the ne’er-do-wells, and to revel in the extraordinary story of three men—owner Charles Howard, trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard—and the unlikely horse who bound them all together.”

    AudioFile

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

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cooljoe815 | 2/20/2014

    " She is one of the top three non-fiction writer in the world. I loved this book. I learned from it, the time and history and the story was fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glinn | 2/16/2014

    " Loved it! Fascinating characters, fascinating history, amazingly researched. (DO NOT see the movie. Nuff said.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline Thompson | 2/10/2014

    " Always a sucker for an underdog (or horse, in this case), I loved this story of a non descript horse who broke racing records. The book gave a very interesting account of the horse racing industry in the 30's and 40's as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 2/10/2014

    " I learned about the true story in the life of the jockeys, I have not looked at horse racing the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malesa | 1/26/2014

    " I really enjoyed it. It's nonfiction and the author did a great job of telling the story, but keeping it flowing and interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi Metcalf | 1/19/2014

    " When first hearing I would be reading a book about a horse I wasn't so sure I would get through it. It was a page turner! I loved it! Laura is able to bring emotion to it with her words. A MUST READ! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teresa | 1/16/2014

    " This book is written so well. I almost feel I'm right in the stables with owners, trainers, jockies...superb details. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jt | 1/1/2014

    " Loved this book. One of my favorites from my olde book club. Not sure if that was because it reminded me of the black stallion, or like my cat, seabiscuit had an unusual gait. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 S2 Mc | 12/15/2013

    " NOW, I can see the movie....er, when I am somewhere where I can see it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Giorgi Decarlo | 11/20/2013

    " Nonfiction that reads like the very best fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Addie Pulley | 11/14/2013

    " I loved it...it's as good as William Nack's Secretariat!!!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Autumn | 11/1/2013

    " Sometime true stories can be bland but Ms. Hillenbrand's writing is so good! This book is worth the time for sure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dillon Yu | 10/12/2013

    " I enjoyed this book greatly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe Barone | 6/21/2013

    " One of the best non-fiction books I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 6/6/2013

    " absolutely loved this book. couldn't put it down. i got so involved and it blew me away. GREAT author!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joni | 5/23/2013

    " This was more along the lines of a history lesson than a novel, but it was still very interesting and kept me going to the end. I think a reader would have to have an affection for horses to be truly interested in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 4/28/2013

    " Absolutely loved this book and this author! And I never read a horse book before... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anita Williamson | 1/9/2013

    " She is a great writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 10/13/2012

    " Good, not great. Interesting but not engrossing. I was hoping for more from this book since I loved Unbroken so much. Read this one for book club in October and really only finished it out of obligation. 3/5 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 9/19/2012

    " Jockey life is miserable, but obviously worth it in this case. Plus the private health struggle of the writer is inspiring too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kit Sesterhenn | 6/30/2012

    " One of my favorite contemporary journalists. Hillenbrand's "A Sudden Illness" from The New Yorker is an incredible piece of journalism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian | 5/20/2012

    " I loved it!! Read it quickly and was hoping for more! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gabrielle | 4/5/2012

    " We had to read this for 9th grade lit. It was due right as we went on a band trip. I can honestly say no one in the band enjoyed or finished the book. We planned on reading it together and discussing it, but instead complained about the dry writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 1/30/2012

    " Loved this book - what an amazing story. Heard an interview with the author who has struggled with health issues most of her adult life, many parallels between her tenacity in researching and telling this story and the jockey who rode Seabiscuit, what an underdog story! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaye Dewar | 11/29/2011

    " Amazing non fiction this writer is amazing! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherida | 11/27/2011

    " I have read both of Ms. Hillenbrand's books, the other being "Unbroken." She is an amazing author. Her attention to detail is second to none and her writing style keeps you captivated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Clarke | 9/1/2011

    " So good. Captures an entire era and brings it to breathing life, while remaining an edge-of-your-seat sports drama. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/22/2011

    " Although I care nothing about horse racing, this book was a real page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Selene | 5/8/2011

    " Fantastic book. I have no interest in seeing a horse race but the descriptions of horse racing in this book were absolutely gripping. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 5/5/2011

    "
    I'm amazed that this is a true story!
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 5/4/2011

    " I loved the story and all the research held together by the drama of Seabiscuit's life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 5/4/2011

    " I appreciated the hard work that went into researching and writing this book, but I felt it was really tedious to get through. There were WAY too many details for me, especially in a book about a horse. I felt like I learned a lot, but it was kind of a chore to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kit | 5/2/2011

    " One of my favorite contemporary journalists. Hillenbrand's "A Sudden Illness" from The New Yorker is an incredible piece of journalism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 4/26/2011

    " This book was endearing and fascinating. It sent me on a quest to find out more on the subject. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mimi | 4/23/2011

    " Excellent story! Learned a lot about the history of the times in addition to the story of a great horse. "

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About the Author
Author Laura HillenbrandLaura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, and Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. She is serving as a consultant on the Universal Pictures feature film based on Unbroken. Hillenbrand’s New Yorker article, “A Sudden Illness,” won the National Magazine Award. Her work has also appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. She and actor Gary Sinise were the cofounders of Operation International Children, a charity that provided school supplies to children through American troops.
About the Narrator

George Newbern is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and a television and film actor best known for his roles as Brian MacKenzie in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II, as well as Danny in Friends. As a voice actor, he is notable for his role as Superman on the Cartoon Newtork series Static Shock, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. He holds a BA in theater arts from Northwestern University.