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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 (46,541 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

  • > Show All
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