Seabiscuit

An American Legend
Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,163 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller 

From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend. 

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. 

“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.... [Laura 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)

©2010 Laura Hillenbrand (P)2010 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

See you in the winner's circle

I never got around to reading this book when it first came out, but did see the movie and have watched it several times. Because the movie was so perfectly casted with Jeff Bridges, Toby Maguire and Chris Cooper, those were the faces I saw in my head as I listened to the scenes familiar from the film. The real delight was in discovering the details that further fleshed out those characters and the story in general – Howard’s compassionate and feisty wife, Smith’s sly tricks to evade the press, the brutal life of virtual indentured servitude jockeys endured to make a dangerous and financially unrewarding living.

The book starts somewhat slowly methodically, introducing the three damaged men and the horse, who all needed to come together to mend each others’ lives. These introductions also laid out necessary information for the reader uninitiated in racing lore to understand the context of the lives in question. For that reason, some readers may feel it moves slowly. But with the foundation laid, the stage is well set for the exciting racing scenes that had me rooting for The Biscuit, sometimes with victory and more often than I had realized with defeat. If there was one weakness, because the excitement of any sporting event depends largely on the visual witnessing of the event, hearing a verbal narration just didn’t convey the tension, danger, and exhilaration that raised my adrenalin, especially for the lesser races. The major races (the Match Race, and the 100 Grander) were exceptions – very exciting and well written. Narration was good, had the tone of a documentary which this really was. Not as deeply moving as Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”, but that ‘s apples and oranges.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best book ever!

If I rate books on a ten point scale, this one is an easy fifteen, maybe twenty. Just such a well told story! I knew Sebiscuit was a great horse, but the story behind it.... I will re-read it to pick up details, I might have missed. Don't pass this one by, please!

15 people found this helpful

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A Great American Story

Would you listen to Seabiscuit again? Why?

The story of Seabiscuit is the true "can't judge a book by its cover" antedote. Seabiscuit didn't look like a race horse but, a down on his luck trainer, a trusting owner and broke down jockey knew what he was capable of accomplishing. Great narrator!!Would read again. Also wonderful historical events that are chronicled along with the story of Seabiscuit.

9 people found this helpful

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How does she do it?

Laura Hillenbrand writes the most amazing non-fiction. I found myself glued to my iPod during the races. I didn't want to stop listening. I feel like she is simply one of the most talented writers around. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book in every regard.

16 people found this helpful

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Fun, filled with facts, good performance.

This was just a great story. I love the periodical facts that go along with the story. I love this author and the performance keeps the book intact.

3 people found this helpful

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Unexpectedly captivating

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Seabiscuit was my favorite. The horse had the qualities I most admire...courage, heart,and tenacity.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene that revealed that Seabiscuit was more than horseflesh and the winning spirit had to be nurtured not demanded.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Although the end was no secret, the tale of Seabiscuit was more than a story of an unlikely horse winning a big race. It was the story you never hear about. The sabotage, the ruthlessness, the passion, and the politics in the horse racing world.

3 people found this helpful

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An amazing story, and a great storyteller

A great story! I didn't know I'd enjoy reading about horses this much. It did not feel like a historic account, but more like a novel with great characters with, suspense and an amazing story. Thank you Laura Hillenbrand for such a terrific read.

11 people found this helpful

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What a Ride

This was very enjoyable. This was to me a story of survival, hope and overcoming obstacles and misfortunes. A group effort between a trainer, jockey, owner and horse without each one the success would not have come to pass. The key was how the trainer Tom understood Seabiscuit and how he saw the horses heart and honor. A gift few have even had. Understanding humans can be hard enough. This all created hope and enthralled a nation for numerous races where "The Biscuit" galloped.
If you like rag to riches stories, true stories of life then you will do yourself a favor and read or download Seabiscuit.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful Story

Laura Hillenbrand captures the story of Seabiscuit so well that it is difficult to put this book down. It is so moving that you feel as if you are right there during the races and the events occurring in the lives of the persons involved. I highly recommend this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Incredible on every Level

One of the best written, best narrated stories I have encountered. Brave horse, and braver men, with courageous women abounding. A trip back to the last piece of innocence before WW2. Spend your time here. You will not be disappointed

1 person found this helpful