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Comments by John Markham on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 08:04 IP Logged
Dear Laura, As a rule, I read mostly mysteries and "serial-killer-on-the-loose" thrillers. But SEABISCUIT was so highly recommended to me by a friend that I realized I had to read it (though I have no interest in horse racing)! I was hooked from the start! The wonderful background stories in 1906; the San Francisco earthquake; the terrible lives the jockeys lived through; on and on, I was captivated. By the time I got to Chapter 8: FIFTEEN STRIDES, I was getting gooseflesh tingles. Some of the most exciting moments were (please bear with me): Page 119: "Smith knew he had the best horse in America." Page 144: "They drew near the Fitzsimmons barn, Seabiscuit's old home. A silent procession of stable hands came out and solemnly gazed at the horse they had let slip away. Regret was evident on every face. Stucki said nothing but kept on going." Page 175: "Someone in the crowd below looked up and recognized him... Soon the whole grandstand was cheering wildly. Pollard straightened himself up and bowed." Page 179: "They recognized it all at once: Seabiscuit, under a tremendous load....accelerated." Page 216: "His right leg was nearly sheared off below the knee." Page 268: "...The horse was coiling up." Page 322: "A thought pressed into Pollard's mind: We are alone." These moments, cited above, were so exciting I had shivers, and on several occasions, my eyes welled up. You've taken a subject and brought it so alive, especially considering it's not a subject I would ordinarily read about. Thank you for a magnificent job. SEABISCUIT deserves to rise to the #1 Bestseller spot, and stay there! I'm doing my part, recommending your book to anyone I know who likes to read. Sincerely, John Markham P.S. Even the acknowledgments were fascinating reading. The opener, about SIR! magazine, hooked me, and I read all the way through. How many people read the acknowledgments, unless they expect to find their own name mentioned?
Atlanta, GA USA

Comments by Denny Hilderbrand on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 06:03 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I thought you might be interested in learning what your surname means if it is related to mine (which I believe it is). It means "battle sword" in German. I have spoken with people who says there are many Hilderbrands in Ireland. A large chocolate company in Germany is named "Hilderbrand Chocolaten." This all may bore you but it is true.
Greensboro, NC USA

Comments by Fred L.Carroll on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 05:27 IP Logged
Dear Mrs. Hillenbrand: My mother, Louise was married to C.S.Howard Jr for the last twelve years of his life until he died in the late 60s. I read your book with particular interest and thoroughly enjoyed it.For some reason I have ended up with several momentos of Seabiscuit's career including one of his hooves (now an ashtray) and the original Seabiscuit painting with George Wolfe up. If you are ever in San Francisco my wife and I would be delighted to host a lunch for you and/or show you some of these interesting artifacts from a fascinating story. Thank you for telling it. Sincerely, Fred Carroll
San Francisco, Ca USA

Comments by Katie Oxford on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 02:44 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have never enjoyed reading a book more. And it was more than reading. I felt as though I lived it! Often times my face flushed, my hands sweat, I would feel my heart hammering out at my chest as if it were me up there not Pollard! Other times I could smell things, see and feel the textures of those times, the stalls, the rain, the mud, the carrots! Like Smith & Howard, I became so attached to the horse that I became incensed at Woolf myself..."why did you do it? George, why did you do it?" After each reading I felt physically and emotionally spent, spiritually rejuvenated. Like wanting to continue a dream and not wake up, I simplly wanted to read on and never come to the end. What a horse and what a book! Made me want to go outside and run like hell myself! Thank you for giving us Seabiscuit again. You've allowed The Biscuit to once again...not only fill the hearts of a Nation...but remind us that we still have one!
Houston, TX USA

Comments by sam ludu on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 02:22 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: As I write this your book is #2 on The New York Times Best-Seller List for Nonfiction. I suspect you are a pace-stalker, very much like Seabiscuit, and I look forward to seeing you blow by The O’Reilly Factor next week and widen your lead. I’m only adding to the chorus of praise when I say you’ve wriiten a singularly remarkable book. Your empathy and love for the Howards, Tom Smith, Red Pollard, George Woolf and so many others more than matches the empathy and love they all felt for Seabiscuit. Your ability to heighten the drama of races whose outcome I was alreadyquite familiar with was astonishing. Your detailed evocation of the hardships jockeys endured during that time was fascinating. I was particularly moved by the portrait of Tom Smith, his almost extrasensory perception of horses and his painstaking care with individual horses, a quiet rebuke to those trainers who today run their stables like multinational conglomerates. Some of your sentences left me positively giddy (“He had a colorless translucence about him that made him seem as if he were in the earliest stages of progressive invisibility.” Congratulations on a wonderful book, something that will surely do more to spark interest in racing than any carefully planned NTRA marketing campaign.
baldwin, ny USA

Comments by Joe Boccolini on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 01:04 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand-Recently purchased your book as agift for my father who owned and trained Standardbreds (trotters).he enjoyed it so much that he gave it back to me to read.What a book! I am an avid reader of all types of books and I have to say that this was one of, if not THE, best story I have ever read.You have brought to life a long-lost era so completely that I was immersed in the sounds,sights and smells of the track.Unbelievable! You have managed to bring all sorts of emotions,from great triumphs to heart-breaking tragedy to the page.Thank you for a great book that I plan to recommend to all my friends.God bless you.
Beverly, Nj USA

Comments by Mary Davis on Monday, April 02, 2001 at 00:50 IP Logged
DANCERS IMAGE. By Native Dancer, out of Noors Image. Any relation to Seabiscuit? Owned by Peter Fuller, won the KY Derby in the '70's, I think. My dad and I caught him before the Derby at Laurel. He was a little, scrawny horse, but GREY and I liked his pedigree. Convinced my dad to put a bunch of money on him, and we went out to dinner that night. But this horse would give you a heart attack, if you didn't know that he liked to come from behind. Your book brought back many great memories. Dad, Dancers Image gone now, but thanks for the reminder. I would like to know, however, if Noors Image is related to Seabiscuit.
Woodbine, MD USA

Comments by Ms. Randi Scott on Sunday, April 01, 2001 at 09:59 IP Logged
Hi, Laura, A member if my Zorro internet list recommended your book. I raise PASO FINO horses. After reading the other comments on this site from people who read your book, I am eager to read it. Ms. Randi Scott Zorro-R@webtv.net
Northbrook, IL USA

Comments by sharon tyree on Sunday, April 01, 2001 at 07:10 IP Logged
Great reading! Couldn't put it down! I look forward to the film. How about also doing one on Swaps, Tenney and Ellsworth?! Sharon Tyree
long beach , ca USA

Comments by nick ben-meir on Sunday, April 01, 2001 at 04:39 IP Logged
Laura: Just finished. Bravo ! Any chance of a large format version with photos and charts, etc., that didn't make this edition ? I think many of us would pay just about any price...And is there film or video available of the Great Match Race...would love to buy a copy... Thanks again, from a Thoroughbred Owner-Lover Nick
los angeles, ca USA

Comments by Mark D. Frankel on Sunday, April 01, 2001 at 02:18 IP Logged
For anyone who has an interest in the sport of kings, your book is a delight to read. The word "whether" should not be followed by "or not" as the word implies a choice or decision.
Tinton Falls, NJ USA

Comments by karen koch on Sunday, April 01, 2001 at 00:37 IP Logged
dear ms. hillenbrand, words cannot describe how much i enjoyed "seabiscuit." i would be interested in hearing from you as i am friends with suzan stephenson and also am involved with the belair stable museum in bowie. i feel like a lot of the other readers who posted messages. i could not put the book down and finished it in a few days.i look forward to hopefully hearing from you. i also eagerly await your next project. karen koch dacquoise@aol.com
bowie, md USA

Comments by Kelly S. George on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 09:30 IP Logged
I just bought your book yesterday afternoon and could not put it down until I finished reading it. It was extremely interesting to read. I remember the article that she wrote several years ago about the horse killings. She is a very good writer.
Harrison, AR USA

Comments by Gene McCormick on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 07:48 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand: What a magnificent achievement. "Seabiscuit" has raised the bar for Truman Capote's "non-fiction fiction" to its highest level. The research obviously invested in your effort is only exceeded by your writing skills. Your book is the most, page-for-page, entertainingly and movingly written biography (of any genre) I have ever read. To read such an artful gem of a book that is centered on my life-long passion--horse racing--was absolutely exhilarating. I know it's an imposition, but could I send my copy to you to be signed?
Wayne, IL USA

Comments by Samuel Korn on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 07:42 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have spend most of last night reading, and thoroughly enjoying your book on Seabiscuit. Synnergistically, there was also a great horse race the same year of 1938, with one of Man 'O War's other get. The horse was named Battleship, the Race, The Grand National Steeplechase in Aintree, England. My grandfather, Louis Korn, owned a small butcher shop in the Village of Haverstraw, New York (located about 30 miles north of New York City). During the Depression, and not wanting to lose a customer selling Irish Sweepstakes Horse Race Tickets, he used the remaining $2.50 in pennies from his cash register to purchase this once in a million chance. As you might have guessed, he had the winning ticket on this 40-1 long shot. However, unlike most, he did not spend his money on frivolity, but used these monies to secure the passage, and needed visas, for 7 of his cousins, and 1 of their friends, to come to the United States from Sweedish and Italian refugee camps. Over the years, I have been able to compile enough information for a book to be published, and now seek help in obtaining a literary agent. I am a Physical Therapist, and have written many articles afor my national professional journals, but have little idea as to how to find the needed assistance to secure an publisher, editor, marketer and publicist. I have entitled the manuscript, "The Ticket," and it recounts the events before, during and after this particular race. Battleship was owned by Marion DuPont Scott, wife of actor Randolph Scott, and heiress to the DuPont fortune. She raised Battleship on her estate in Montpelier, Va., which happend to be the former home of James Madison. It was here that Madison, Jefferson, and Monroe framed the Constitution of the United States. Battleship is buried just to the left of the front portico. Similarily, I have been able to document related stories that now also allow my Family to be assciated with the formulation of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, the beginning formulations of the Declaration of Independence, the capture of British General Major John Andre with the plans from West Point, New York hidden in his boot, and the re-uniting of 2 brothers with 2 of the afore-mentioned cousins, each having been interned with each other in Concentration Camps, and each thinking the other was dead. It would be my hope that with the publication of this manuscript, others' would be able to find their stories. You see, I also have the copies of the ships' manuscripts, not only when my great grandparents, grandparents, great uncles and aunts arrived at Ellis Island, but when they emmigrated 8 days prior from Germany. Thus, not only as a humanitarian or historical recount of these various related events, I know that with this publication, someone will be able to use the information contained to also re-create their own heritange and geneology. I would appreciate any help, or suggestions you might have in this matter, and please feel free to contact me at anytime.
Yorktown Heights, NY USA

Comments by Cheryl Thiel on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 07:35 IP Logged
Got your book two days ago and have already finished it. My husband and I are fairly new to the sport, having gotten interested when Arlington Race Course reopened after the fire. We so love the horses and the sport. Just wanted you to know that of all the books I have read on the races, yours by far exceed all the others. Thank you for taking so much time to research the lives and the times. I see that you have been writing thoroughbred horse books since 1988. If you have the ability to e-mail me, I would appreciate your letting me know the names of other books you have written. Thank you so much.
Saint Louis, MO USA

Comments by JoAnn Blanchette on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 04:10 IP Logged
Just finished your wonderful book. I tried as hard as I could to read it slowly so I would not finish it. Not possible! My favorite part was The Second Civil War. Also, I loved how the distinct personality of each horse is brought to life. I bought the book after a co-worker, who knows of my love of horses, passed on to me the review in the New York Times. I've wanted to learn about Man O' War, since researching the pedigree of my 7 year old QH gelding, and discovering that he was decended from Man O' War. I did learn about Man O' War, but I also learned much about the world of horse racing for which I have a new-found appreciation. I will be passing my copy of your book on to my friends at the barn where my horse is boarded. I'm sure they will all love it as much as I did, especially those who own thoroughbreds who once raced, as it will give them a glimpse into their horses' previous lives. Thank you for an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to your future efforts.
Wilbraham, MA USA

Comments by Joe Kazarian on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 02:58 IP Logged
Hi Laura, I heard you interviewed on the radio today. You were very good. I wanted to let you know that there is a great statue of Seabiscuit in front of the Tanforan shopping mall (the site of the old racetrack) in San Bruno CA., just south of SF.
USA

Comments by JAMES J DUNNE on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 01:21 IP Logged
DEAR MS. HILLENBRAND, A HAVE JUST FINISHED YOUR BOOK AND ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH. YOUR STORY DRAWS A PARALLEL SITUATION TO "RED" POLLARD BEING BLIND IN ONE EYE AT THE END OF HIS CAREER AND WALTER "MOUSEY" BLUM,NOW IN RACING HALL OF FAME,WHO WAS BORN TOTALLY BLIND IN ONE EYE BUT KEPT IT A SECRET WHILE HE RODE ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY.HE IS CURRENTLY A STEWARD IN FLORIDA AND HAS APPROVED AN APPRENTICE LICENSE FOR AN APPLICANT WITH ONE EYE.HE OBVIOUSLY KNEW THIS COULD BE DONE. YOUR STORY IS A CLASSIC! CONGRADULATIONS.
MIDDLETOWN, NJ USA

Comments by Bob Latimer on Saturday, March 31, 2001 at 00:34 IP Logged
Just finished the book. Words fail me. Simply the BEST!
Jupiter, Fl USA

Comments by Bob Werner on Friday, March 30, 2001 at 09:01 IP Logged
The book was fantastic!!!! I started to read it on my flight down to the Carribbean for vacation and I couldn't put it down. I spent the first day of my vacation reading it. The beach, the pool, the sun...I didn't know they were there until I finished the book on the second day. THANK YOU.
Trenton, NJ USA

Comments by Judy F. on Friday, March 30, 2001 at 07:40 IP Logged
Hello Laura: I live just "up the street" from you--off of Connecticut Avenue in Kensington. Thanks for writing such a marvelous book. I read it in two sittings--the second time staying up late until I finished. I haven't done that since being a teenager. How wonderful to get lost in such an engrossing book. I've never been that gung-ho about horses--I'm more of a cat and dog person, even though I'm very fond of most animals. But the reason your book has so many fans outside the horse world is because you've written a romance. A romance between three man and a very fast horse. A romance about America's love affair with racing in the 1930's. A romance that most individuals feel about watching a creature run fast, be it a horse, a cheetah, or even the tabby cat as she races across the yard. The ending was a bitter-sweet. I wanted Seabiscuit's team to always be together. Thanks for a memorable book. I've come away from it with many "mind pictures" including the one where you described how Seabiscuit would sleep in his stall with the monkey at his head, the dog resting near his belly, and his horse friend snoozing beside him.
Kensington, , MD USA

Comments by Ted Colley on Friday, March 30, 2001 at 04:59 IP Logged
Well Done! In future word association games, the response to SEABISCUIT will not be Howard, Pollard or Smith it will be......HILLENBRAND.
San Jose, Ca USA

Comments by J. Van Loon on Friday, March 30, 2001 at 03:36 IP Logged
My compliments on a terrific book. Very well written, good structure and great attention to detail. If one is not familiar with thoroughbred history, as I am not, it reads like a novel. On more than one kibitzing occasion about the greatest athlete of the last century I have touted Secretariat. I may have to re-evaluate that. The book was an impulse buy because of a family story. Along time ago, back in the 50's, Mom and Dad were driving across the country with 3 boys in the back seat. Games were stocked for obvious reasons. One of the games was a very simple racehorse board game. Six little horse figures in segmented colored lanes and a spinner on a numbered dial (1, 2, 3, 4). 'Jockeys' picked their mounts, spun the pointer in turn and moved their steeds accordingly. Much yelling and exhorting ensued - come on Man of War, go Native Dancer, giddyup Whirlaway, let's go Seezeebutt, etc. - until someone's horse was first across the finish line. 3 days and 7 states later a 'what's wrong with this picture' finally registered in the front seat. Mom asked for a spelling on "Seezeebutt." S E A B I S C U I T . Dad almost drove off the road.
AZ USA

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