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I walked into Barnes and Noble looking for books on tape. The first I had heard of the book was when I saw the cover. I had heard of Seabiscuit from my mother. I read the cover, and being a history teacher, I thought I would learn some good depression history. I bought the tape, went home, called my mom. Before I had a chance to tell her about the tape I was going to listen to, she told me an old friend of hers had sent her the book and she recommended it to me. My mom was born and lived in Pasadena in 1931. She had told me stories of how she would go to Santa Anita every day - not to bet, but to work in the stalls. She just loved being around the horses. When I was young and growing up, we would watch the races from Santa Anita on TV together (my favorite horse was Native Diver). Listening to the tape made me think of those great times growing up, wathching the races with my mom. Your book made me laugh and cry many times. Thanks! By the way, I've never been to Santa Anita, but now I know that it is a must.
Terry Giffen <>
Fresno, CA USA - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 15:56:41 (EDT)
Laura, I think you went to Blair Academy?! And were in my English class - Underwood or Van Rooten. I can't believe I have forgotten. Regardless, I have heard your story and will read your book. I am so impressed. Please write and let me know. I am so curious. Best wishes, Sheila
Sheila Ellenbogen <>
Lincoln, MA USA - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 13:29:30 (EDT)
Dear Ms Hillenbrand; Your book, both the subject matter, and the heart and discipline with which you told it, should garner you as many prizes as Seabisquit. It has allowed us to enter into four heroic lives that came together in such a touching and triumphant way. It is a celebration of the spirit, of the best in humans, and of the best of what horse racing can aspire to. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Steven Hartung <>
Beaverdam, Va USA - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 13:12:42 (EDT)
Hi! This website has a slight error. The Diane Rehm show on which you appear, Laura, is April 17, not in May as stated on the "appearances" page. Everybody can listen to this program online with RealAudio software. The page is Laura, I have severe CFS too, and I can appreciate more than most the herculean effort you have put forth. Most people cannot even imagine. Preserve yourself. God bless. I look forward some day to seeing the movie.
Eric Anderson <>
Ankeny , IA USA - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 13:11:30 (EDT)
Thank you, thank you, for such a delightful book. It is one of the few books I have read where I was so anxious about the outcome (of the races) that I had to read ahead in order to eliminate my anxiety. I felt as if I were there! After I had finished the book, I was talking to my mom and recommended the book. Little did I know that, when my mom was a girl, she had a picture of Seabiscuit over her bed - built into the wall and lit with reading lamps by my grandfather. Can you tell me how I might go about finding film footage of some of the races? I hope the movie will contain lots of footage.
Debbie Brenner <>
Bronx, NY USA - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 10:38:57 (EDT)
Laura, I was born into a racing family. My father was an owner/trainer . My mother bred thoroughbreds . As a teenager I dieted to keep my weight and down drove 25 minutes away from home at 4:30 am to exercise racehorses at the old Hagerstown Fairgrounds which at the time had been reduced to a training track . During the summer of my seventeenth year I was granted an apprentice jockey's license . I rode for only that summer as i was 5' 7" and had large bones . I couldn't keep my weight down . I am proud to say I was one of very few females riding at the time , as "we" were just gaining our freedom to do so. It was an experience I will never forget , and has helped me "know " things as a trainer. As a little girl in the fifth grade I first read about the biscuit in the Hooverville Elementary school library . I never forgot him and he was one of my favorites of the past . I kept him in mind and tried to see through horses that were pretty much given up on , losers... I have been know for my ability to see talent in horses that were given up on . Once bought a horse off a "killer" truck that was thought to have a broken shoulder . It was just an infection from a dirty needle used to inject cortisone into his shoulder. I got my little bit of "fame" form this purchase . His name was Bent Pine . I gave the last I had to buy him and nursed him back to health . 6 months later I began to put the "pony" tack on him and ride him around , just walking at first like they did the Biscuit . Eventually I taught him to pony horses . Shortening the story, he became known as a pony that was the best in his job in the morning , and a tough competitor as a racehorse in the afternoon . He developed a following . They would see us leading him up to the paddock for a race and most of the backside would follow to watch Barb's pony run . Won some races with him , cashed some tickets with him . But I say all that to say this; you book touched me deeply because the era of racing which I was born into was one of change . I was helped along by the last of the "oldtimers" The ways you wrote of in the book have vanished and given way to the "fix it quick generation" If it can't be fixed quick tap it block it and run him . If he breaks down, so what go get another one . You account of how it was IS how it was almost as if you were around back in the day . It was reading about the old time ways and the loyalties that existed and the pride taken in getting the horse to his race in the best shape possible . Taking their time to do it right , all those things together that made me cry. It is a day gone by...
Barbara L. Armstrong <QBBLA@AOL.COM>
Charles Town, WV USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 22:18:44 (EDT)
I can't adequately express what this book and the story of Seabiscuit has meant to me. I have very few pleasant childhood memories, but in the late 1950s I distinctly remember playing a racehorse game with a spinner and five or six racehorses, and somehow the horse Seabiscuit became my favorite. Now that I know his story, it is fitting that he was my favorite. Let me know when and where they are filming the race scenes in the movie, I want to be in the stands cheering, and you won't have to pay me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful, almost life changing book, in my case. I've actually started to believe in myself again. If "the Biscuit" can race and win at the age of seven, I can realize my own dreams as well.
Pati Howard <>
Orlando, FL USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 18:32:18 (EDT)
Laura, I heard about the book from my racing associate who highly recommended it. I then heard about it on the Motley Fool radio show. I obtained an Advance Readers copy and took it with me to the cottage this past week. I couldn't put it down. I must commend you on your abilities to write this story while keeping it an ongoing suspense thriller. You didn't miss a beat. I very much am looking forward to the movie. What is the timeline for it's estimated release date? I'm also curious as to what other equine literary projects you have completed or are working on. Thanks again Laura for a very enjoyable read!! Doug
Doug Jarvis <>
Toronto, Ontario Canada - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 13:58:05 (EDT)
I just finished your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing the stories of Howard, Smith, Pollard, Woolf, and, of course, Seabiscuit. What an unlikely hero. I do have a question, what happened to Grog and Pumpkin?
C. A. Thompson <>
Morrisonville, NY USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 13:27:07 (EDT)
i have been reading all of the previous comments about your wonderful book and smiling all the while. what else can i add!!? i too remember a childhood game in which seabiscuit was one of the game tokens. the book is a treasure for so many reasons: the beauty and eloquence of the language, the way in which the era of my parents' young adulthood was brought to such vivid life, and of course, the amazing story of seabiscuit himself. thank you, laura hillenbrand.
barbara <>
cleveland, oh USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 03:19:08 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand, As a teenager I worked on the track in Canada. My claim to fame so to speak, is that i worked in the barn next to Northern Dancer. And actually went with him to the Derby. Read your book, just excellent. You certainly know and understand your topic. I especially enjoyed your descriptions of the key races. Wow. And thanks very much.
Udo Machat <>
San francisco, ca USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 01:07:28 (EDT)
A wonderful read- your writing brings this story to life and your words capture the excitement that one must have experienced witnessing the races of the indomitable Seabiscuit. Like Seabiscuit, 1938 was also memorable for me- it was the year of my birth. Continue your good work.
John C. Wirth, Jr. <>
White Plains, NY USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 00:12:25 (EDT)
Now I'm reading it again! I'm savoring the terrific lines like "Even at a standstill, he was a glittering thing," A stunning description of War Admiral. Marvelous writing!
Joan Byrne <AlfieDonk>
La Canada, CA USA - Sunday, August 05, 2001 at 00:00:54 (EDT)
Thank you for not only a wonderful story about an amazing horse and three unusual fellows, but also, and especially, for being an articulate, dignified, and highly qualified spokesperson for the reality of CFS. Like you, I've had "it" since 1987. . .the unwelcomed 14th anniversary is later this month of August. Also like you, I've tried to keep going and do something to maintain a connection to the world, to use the parts that still work on a regular-enough basis to reap that most important nostrum for an incurable illness, a sense of purpose. Unlike you, none of my efforts have turned into a national sensation!:) So a really big huzzah to you for doing all of the above!! Well, maybe not the CFS part, but for using your own talent and the somewhat questionable gifts provided by a nasty disease to such good effect. Loved that line about life needing to be something more than "lying around metabolizing" (please pardon the paraphrase, the meaning was and is perfectly clear to me!) I know enough about horses to tell a pony from a thoroughbred, the differences between a stallion, gelding, and mare, rode on my uncles' farms in Idaho on summer vacations, and took some pretty good pictures of a Paint with blue eyes this summer when my granddaughter (11) had a week at horse camp. Given that background, you'll probably understand this comment -- when I looked at the pictures of Seabiscuit in the book, I couldn't see the crooked legs or the short tail -- just saw a glossy horse who looked like he could run! Or maybe that's just the effect of reading your wonderful story, looking at Seabiscuit through the eyes of those who believed in him.
Ellen Atwood <>
Sacramento, CA USA - Saturday, August 04, 2001 at 22:38:35 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: I live in Willits, not far from the Ridgewood Ranch. I go to Howard Memorial Hospital when I need emergency care or medical tests. The hospital is a boone to this small rural community. I know Dr. Babcock's daughter. I am a teacher at Willits High School and I am interested in using your book in my curriculum for the coming year. Your book is wonderfully written, is historical writing, and about the local history of my town. I think your book would be a sure winner with my 12th grade English students. The story of Seabiscuit's will and determination, his never say die attitude would be a good message for my 12th grade students. The connection to local history and the connection to sports would really pull my students in. What I need to know, is if there is a discount to educational institutions for multiple copies of the book and how I connect with that source? I would be glad to share with you, how my use of the book went. As you know, Ridgewood Ranch has changed alot since the days of the Howards and Seabiscuit. Every time I drive by now, I wish it was the way it was and that I could take my students to visit Seabiscuit's grave and tour the Howard's house as it was. Please reply, and let me know if I can obtain multiple copies of the book for educational purposes. Thank you. And thank you for a wonderful summer reading experience.
Jeanne K. King <>
Willits,, CA USA - Saturday, August 04, 2001 at 22:36:15 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I enjoyed reading Seabiscuit more then I can express, but who approved the book jacket? Where is Seabiscuit? The jacket is a disservice to you,the book and especially to dear Seabiscuit. Rospectfully, Jacqueline Nelson
Jacqueline Nelson <>
Yorktown Heights, NY USA - Saturday, August 04, 2001 at 14:09:19 (EDT)
I am a slow reader and rarely finish a book. I could not put SEABISCUIT down. I don't know when, if ever, I have enjoyed a book more than this one. When I finshed it I wanted to find you, Laura, to thank you for this moving experience. I am 73 years old and have my own Paso Fino Horses. I started when I was 59 and have my own story to tell, but am not a writer. If only I could write half as well as you do. I may give it a try anyway. Several of my non-horse friends insisted I read SEABISCUIT; one does not have to love horses to love your book!
Nancy Searles <>
Brevard, NC USA - Saturday, August 04, 2001 at 11:51:27 (EDT)
What a book!!! Like many others who have written to you, I feel like I was on the Biscuit for his races. I grew up with show horses (hunters & jumpers)as I grew to be much too tall to be a jockey but you rbookmade me feel like I rode him. I too cried at the description of the race with War Admiral and again when he and POllard came back to win the Santa Anita. Thank you for sharing this truly special horse and his team with us.
Mary Beth Regan <>
New York, NY USA - Saturday, August 04, 2001 at 07:05:16 (EDT)
The best book I ever read in my life. Really, thank you so much. I am a jailer at the Santa Monica Police Department and have lived her all my life. I bought my first horse a month ago and ride him on my days off. I am recovering from breast cancer and decided to follow my dream of owning my own horse. I hope you are feeling better and I look forward to the movie. Thanks again for such a great adventure. I cried at the end because I didn't want your book to end. Sincerely, Cathy Milliken
cathy milliken <>
santa monica, ca USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 21:31:39 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thanks for Seabiscuit the book and all of the ephemera which made it so entertaining and educational. My vocabulary increased as well as my knowledge of horses and the horse racing business. As a 'crazy chemistry teacher' I would gladly welcome the oppotunity to play the part of the Frank Hawley. He was a true alchemist. Just a side story... my dad used to go to Yonkers Raceway. When he came home, he'd tell us stories of how he would hang out after the races and help the jockeys. One of them was Red Pollard. They'd never eat, just drink. I am presently writing sports articles for a local newspaper. I'd love to do a story on horses but I need more expertise. Could you point me in the right dierction so that I can pursue a story that tells local folks what horses are all about? You are a PRO! Joe Sencen
Joseph Sencen <>
Somers, NY USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 18:41:59 (EDT)
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, I just finished your superlative book. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. The real life drama of that wonderful horse and the people around him is better than fiction. During the 1930s, when I was a small boy, we lived near the Arlington racetrack. Though I never saw Seabiscuit, I did see the great Equipoise run a match race there. I, too, was caught up in the nation's love affair with Seabiscuit and we all listened to his victory over War Admiral. Thanks for giving me the insight into th art of training and riding those thoroughbreds and for giving me a time warp back into those remarkable days. Please write more on the racing sport. Sincerely, Stan Newman
MajGen, USAF(ret) Stan Newman <>
OklaCity, OK USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 17:17:40 (EDT)
Thank you for an extremely enjoyable book and slice of history. Your research and the weaving of the resulting tale is just great... and as an owner of horses (show not racing) I felt you provided a perfect mix of horsey and non-horsey stuff. Everyonne should enjoy your work.
Tom & Cyn McCrystal <>
Scottsdale, AZ USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 15:59:51 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I've been reading the comments posted here, and it seems that your superlative book has inspired many of the writers to eloquence. All the praise they've lavished upon you and your wonderful book goes double for me. I checked Seabiscuit out of my local library, but it's clear I'm going to have to buy my own copy, so I can enjoy it again and again and again. It is one of finest works I have ever read, and like a street-corner preacher, I'm exhorting everyone I know to pick it up for themselves. Just excellent stuff. That you wrote this masterpiece while coping with such a debilitating illness makes your story especially poignant. You are every bit as brave as the heroic Red Pollard and the great-hearted Seabiscuit. Thank you for giving me so many enjoyable hours in a world long gone.
Suzanne Johnson <>
Lake Oswego, OR USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 15:56:38 (EDT)
Dear Laura-- I read your book and couldn't put it down on into the night. My wife had the same experience. I graduated in 1950 and, after majoring in english, worked as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Kenyon gave me an enormous appetite for writing. Then, Business Week, foreign correspondent, Forbes Washington bureau chief and now my own journalism business writing for all sorts of magazines. I had tears running down my face when I read the story about you in the Bulletin. When all else seem to be going bad, I, too, find writing to be the greatest thing in the world--actually, another world. God bless you. I see that we are neighbors (we're about 10 minutes from the American University area. I know you are pretty much house bound, but if there is any way we could meet, I would love to talk to you. Did you know Kenyon had an actual "horse show" down at the end of that road by the Weaver Cottage (named after my father Robert, A. Weaver, a grad and long-time trustee). My brother Bob (also Kenyon grad) and I owned a racehorse, War Courier (descendent of Man O War) who ran at Charlestown. Cheap claimer. We sold him to a man who trained him as a jumper and used him in the Potomac Hunt. The guy died and donated WC (we called Wacky) to the the Park Police where he had a long and distinguished career. Keep it up. I can't wait to read your next book. Peter Weaver, Kenyon 50
Peter Weaver, Kenyon '50 <>
Bethesda, MD USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 14:32:29 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, My family thanks you and my boss thanks you for not making this fascinating book any longer! I want to thank you for such a masterpiece. As I gave myself over to this mesmerizing story, I realized that this book is like lace - wondrous as much for what it contains as for what's left out of it. It would have been easy to sidetrack this riveting story with more information about the Howards' and their family dynamics; or about Red Pollard and the other jockey's off-track lives; or about Tom Smith's personal life. But like Seabiscuit, you remained focused to deliver a complete yet riveting work. Thank you for a book so engrossing, I found myself reading whole passages aloud to whoever would listen! Lori Keener
Lori Keener <>
Cleveland, OH USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 13:08:12 (EDT)
-I just want to say that the story of Seabusit is the Story of a true champion, and a Champion of whom should be remembered...-
Lindsey <>
New Bloomfield, MO USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 12:09:21 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I am writing Oprah. I am calling my favorite disc jockey's, Jeff and Jer' in San Diego. Everyone needs to read this book! It's a classic!!! Thank you. Love, Terry Deneen
Terry Deneen <>
San Diego, CA USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 10:58:41 (EDT)
Thank you for letting me know Seabiscuit. I know how he feels under me on the backstretch fighting to go, I know how he smells, how he reacts when he's frustrated, the look in his eye when he's weighing his chances of outsmarting someone, and a whole lot more. More than an author, you're a genius at your craft.
martha hertz <>
Locust Grove, GA USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 10:30:51 (EDT)
My son graduated in '94 not '54. Another senior moment!
arthur einstein <>
katonah, ny USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 08:18:13 (EDT)
I think what writers need most is to know they are loved, and you obviously are. "Seabiscuit" is not only a great, great American story, it is beautifully told ... a real page turner I'd been meaning to buy, picked up in an airport, and couldn't put down. The book touches my life in a couple of other ways. I'm a great fan of Kenyon, your alma mater, from which my son graduated in '54 (got this URL from the profile of you in the current Alumni Review). And, early on, reading the book, it dawned on me that Charles Howard was the owner of a spectacular Murphy-bodied Buick that is being restored by a close friend. Great coincidences that made the book personally meaningful. It's hard to convey how much I enjoyed the book. Congratulations on a really spectacular achievement.
arthur einstein <>
katonah , ny USA - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 08:15:06 (EDT)
My first love is rowing racing--I am a rowing coach. Your telling of the races was superb. Anyone who likes sport racing -- swimming, track, or rowing -- would be completely taken with your writing. Bravo!
Andy Anderson <>
Chilmark, MA USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 20:47:48 (EDT)
I have just finished reading your marvelous book. Much as I love horses, I have never been a racing fan. I might not have bought the book if a review in our local paper hadn't pointed out that it was equally about the people involved, and the conditions under which the jockeys worked. I could not put it down! I found myself alternately moved to tears, anger, laughter, and a strong desire to stand up and cheer. Thank you so much.
Janet Almasy <>
Youngstown, OH USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 18:03:51 (EDT)
Wonderful book!
Linda Spencer <>
Modesto, CA USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 17:37:51 (EDT)
The BEST book I have read in years! I love Seabiscuit! I cried when the story ended and was glued to this book! I even tryed to read slow so that I could savour it longer! Wonderful book, wonderful writing! Seabiscuit was just amazing! I am so glad that you wrote this great book to edicate people that horses are more than 'dumb' animals! The writing style made it even more interesting! Hats off to you, my dear! And, hats off to Seabiscuit! Truly a Wonder-Horse!
ruth soltis <>
Saratoga, CA USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 15:01:25 (EDT)
Hello Laura, I am an English racehorse trainer and writer living and working in Florida. The quality and standard of your work and research is probably the highest I have ever seen. The finished article, your book, is without doubt brilliant and by far best I have ever read. I am rarely drawn to tears, but the depth of your writing drew them from me on more than one occation. My novels are good, but you are in a league of your own. Many congratualtions.
Alan Benning <>
Fort Lauderdale, Fla USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 12:50:50 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, i live in Germany an my english is not so good. The book about Seabuisciut i was reading in two days and I´m enthusiastic. I think the book is very interesting not only for people like horseracing, it also interesting to learn something about the american history an people. Thank´s for this phantastic book, good luck and bye, bye from Germany.
Angelika Haselbach <>
Leipzig, BRD - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 11:30:29 (EDT)
I really enjoy thius great book...lots of insites into racing...we have standbreds, but the horses, and people who work with them are the same, heart and guts....are you coming to the saratoga meet to sign books? would like some autographs for christmas presents thank you again...look forward to your next book
thelma sroka <>
broadalbin, ny USA - Thursday, August 02, 2001 at 08:55:52 (EDT)
PL,. GROVE, AL USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 22:34:53 (EDT)
Dear Mrs. Hillenbrand: Your book is magnificent! The story of Seabiscut the race horse was fantastic, and you are one courageous lady. I've not read a book this enjoyable in a long time (and I read a fair amount of non-fiction). I couldn't put it down, in fact, I'm reading it for the second time starting tonight. Did Seabiscuit ever race at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, or was that before the track was built? I spent many happy times with my Dad there when as a teenager.
Bob Williamson <>
Asheville, NC USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 21:25:43 (EDT)
I'm at a loss for words. I read probably 4-5 novels a month and have never been so enthralled or moved in my life. I still have tears in my eyes thinking about certain aspects of the book. You are a masterful storyteller and the way you put your reader right in the middle of the action is amazing. I can still hear the crowd. Thank you so very much.
Shannon Powell <>
Helena, MT USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 17:16:51 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I've never been on a horse, never been to the races but I absolutely adored your book! I think that is a tribute not only to your wonderful skills as a story teller but also to your understanding that this was a tale for the ages. How wonderful it was to watch as those odd and disparate characters came together to create a brilliant moment in history. Please don't let the Hollywood crowd ruin the epic. I am breaking my own rule about recommending books and telling everyone I know to read Seabiscuit. Thank you so much!
Leo Tracy <>
highland mills, NY USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 16:05:44 (EDT)
Thoroughly enjoyed your book! I read a lot of non-fiction history and believe, as the title suggests, this is truly the story of an American legend and dream. Final success overcoming adversity through talent and dogged perseverance. Congratulations on a superb product! I look forward to your next effort.
Bill Crouch <>
CO Springs, CO USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 15:58:01 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thank You for a truly great story, your efforts and heart made for a winner. As one who has been on the back track the names while in the past for the most part were familiar to me. Saratoga sales are next week hope to see you . Thanks again I truly enjoyed.
Phil O'Donnell <>
Worthington, Ma USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 14:44:51 (EDT)
Dear Laura,A novel I wrote about the life of a jockey,"A Magical Talisman"(1998),is set at about time of your "Seabiscuit".It's based on my own life experiences and imagination...or so I thought... I was amazed to find that your biographical description of John Pollard paralleled many of the characteristics of my fictional protagonist.Now I wonder if it was really my imagination or incidents that I had read about long ago and stored in my subconscious? I would be glad to send you a copy if you can give me a mailing address. J.Young 114
Jack Young <>
Carbondale, PA USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 13:45:32 (EDT)
My husband and I finished reading Seabiscuit on Memorial Day. The following day I couldn't speak or smile over the knowledge of not having it to come home to. The magnificance of your book cannot be described... your writing is utterly beautiful. You are in my prayers for restored health. What a marvelous woman you must be. Please write again.
Meredith Henderson
USA - Wednesday, August 01, 2001 at 09:35:50 (EDT)
I loved your book, Seabiscuit. My grandfather was a great horseman, and, I'm sure, followed Seabiscuit's career. He would have loved this book as much as I did. Thank you for writing it. For all horse lovers, it's a real gift.
Helen Turner <>
Seattle, WA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 23:40:41 (EDT)
Laura, Brilliant book. Beautifully written, impossible to putdown, joyful and heartbeaking at the same time. Best book I've read in a long time. My child hood memories of going to the Santa Anita race track with my Dad and his buddies came rushing back to me. That was in the days when Round Table and the great Silky Sullivan were racing. I spent endless afternoons playing in the infield, going to the race track was the only adult activity I didn't mind being dragged to! Oh, in case any production people with the Hollywood film are checking this guest book, here are my casting sugestions: Howard- Gene Hackman or Robert Duval- Smith- Harrison Ford (proven box office, same age now as Smith was) or Clint Eastwood as Smith- Pollard: Sean Penn- Sean Penn! and if Penn won't do it- go with the long shot- Scottish actor Robert Carlyle (Full Monty-Trainspotting) he's the right size,slight build- if he could pull off a North American accent he'd be great. For Woolfe, Billy Cruddup. Unless, somebody could convince Tom Cruise to take a supporting role and play Woolfe. Thanks, so much Laura for writing such a wonderful book.A true classic. I wish you the best of health and hope effective treatment can be found for your CFS.
Elizabeth <>
Oakland, CA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 22:15:02 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, My husband almost "wrestled" with someone at the local library to obtain your book for me. We are avid horse lovers and, in fact, owned part of a race horse once which got injured during his first big race. You captured the excitement, ecstasy, heartache and defeat perfectly. What dedication by the owner, trainer and jockey! What a horse! The story moved me to tears. Thank you! Please do not stop writing! Renate C.
Renate Cappelletti <>
Boca Raton, FL USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 21:35:36 (EDT)
Great writing, great subject, write more!! Did not want to put the book down - did not want the book to end. Wilford Brimley would make a great "Tom Smith".
H.J.Henckel <>
West Bend, WI USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 19:33:47 (EDT)
Dear Miss Hillenbrand-I read your book and really enjoyed it. My grandfather, Clyde Blunt, worked as a top farrier at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Warner Brother's Studios. I was wondering if you ran across the name anywhere. He is long since gone, as well as anyone else connected to him and the time period. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Best Regards, Bill Fletcher
Bill Fletcher <>
Yreka, CA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 18:09:43 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: My aunt lent me the book recently (I'd buy my own, but my horses clean me out regularly). "Seabiscuit" is well researched and told, never wavering. It's great when good writers and horses attract attention. Have you read any of Charles Bukowski's racetrack stories? Sincerely, Dave Wyatt
David Wyatt <>
Hinckley, OH USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 13:30:05 (EDT)
Dear Laura... I polished off your outstanding book "Seabiscuit" on Sunday afternoon. Hackneyrd cliche or not,I literally could not put it down. I found the book to be very readable and absorbing. I could feel myself in the crowd around the gates,my legs were stiff during the descriptions of the races. This is a triumph...Thank you!
Steve Johnston <>
Prince George, BC Canada - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 12:52:23 (EDT)
India Mountbatten <>
Manhatten, NY USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 11:22:00 (EDT)
Thank you for this wonderful book -- I fell in love with this horse!
Atlanta, GA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 11:20:15 (EDT)
I hope that William H. Macy will play Pollard, and Hank Azaria,George Woolf, if they are small enough. Thank God Clint Eastwood is not directing; he ruined 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.'
Tory Braden <>
Savannah, GA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 11:11:28 (EDT)
Pulitzer Winner is written all over it.
Savannah Robillard <>
St. Simons Island, GA USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 11:02:20 (EDT)
I am kind of embarrassed to add my two cents here. I seem to be the only respondent who read a recommendation of this book in PEOPLE magazine, at least I think that's where I read it, who can remember now! My brain is filled with HORSES! This book was thrilling for me to read. The responses here by NONhorse loving type people are going to encourage me to tell others about the book. For some reason I was thinking those people might not appreciate it. I was certain that those that found the writing of the races to be so....exhilarating would surely mention Walter Farley's books too? Now after reading all these superlative literary reviews, how silly of me to compare them! But, those books, read by my best friend and I, on slow summer days, in the shade on the front porch....taking turns reading chapters aloud to each other of The Black Stallion series, and I wanted desperately to be a jockey! The races were always the best part. Linda does a superb job of bringing the excitement and tension alive on the page. Only having ever read of the horse, and heard him discussed in awed tones, it has been fascinating to feel like I've been there, in the stands, listening to the feet thunder around the track and in my heart! On page 270, when War Admiral's jockey thinks, "Seabiscuit is faster." I actually shouted out loud, "HA!" Thank you for writing this book about these remarkable underdogs. I was cheering for them the whole book. And like others who posted previously, so saddened that their lives went on separately and with some degree of tragedy and sadness, rather than an overwhelming sense of joy, and exuberance for life and what it can hold. Well done, Ms. Hillenbrand! Well done!
R Helms <>
Peoria, IL USA - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 02:31:40 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I thoroughly enjoyed your book on Seabiscuit. My only hope is that (to paraphrase Red Pollard) 'Hollywood doesn't f**k it up like they always do'.
Neil Turner <>
Montreal, Que Canada - Tuesday, July 31, 2001 at 01:20:10 (EDT)
dear ms. hillenbrand - since hearing your interview on npr, reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend was something i had to do. the way you talked about the horse and his world was so interesting and entertaining. i wasnt disappointed. it was more than a story about a racehorse - it was a story about an america and a culture which doesnt exist anymore - its a history as a history should be written. there are so many things i can say about the book, i think the entries in the guestbook echo my thoughts. i was also touched by how youve managed to complete the herculean task of writing the book while being afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome. i am a fan of keith jarrett, a jazz/classical musician also afflicted, who has not been able to fully practice his art - a loss for all of us. i hope you can continue to create - you have a breath taking talent. thank you for giving me such pleasure from your book--
steve ladin <>
new paltz, ny USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 22:13:46 (EDT)
Dear Laura: I'm a retired sports editor and currently am the Games Coordinator for the Massachusetts Senior Games. I heard about your book and finally had the chance to pick it up at the airport last week when I was in Baton Rouge for the National Senior Olympics. I started reading last night and am on Page 42 as I write this. So far the book is exceptional. You are a very talented writer. I'm reading about how Seabiscuit was raced so much when he began his career. We had a race track only miles from my home in Agawam, Massachusetts. The track didn't stay open long as far as I recal...perhaps three years at the most. I believe it was called the Agawam Race Course but there really are not too many people around who remember it that well. Seeing Seabiscuit raced so often in New England I'm very curious if he might have raced in Agawam. Would you know or could you put me in touch with someone who might know. I'm not sure if the Daily Racing Form would have his past performances. I would love to find out. Meanwhile, I'm going back to reading the book and can't wait for the movie. Thanks again for the great job of writing a book that is so informative and so well done. Anyone who picks it up and doesn't feel the same is missing out. Regards. Richard M. Osgood, 36 Duclos Dr., Feeding Hills, Ma. 01030
Richard Osgood <>
Feeding Hills, Ma USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 19:45:32 (EDT)
Dear Laura-I loved the book, I've read more than a few in my years as a teacher of history & English. Margot & I read it together(It was her idea), and I have never been so profoundly moved by a book. I was also impressed with your research, it was one of the first things I looked for, you certainly know how to uncover the facts. We're looking forward to a sequel, and the film. I wonder if the Howard ranch near Willits is still intact, and who owns it now? Are the decendents of Charles Howard still in the area and involved in horse racing? Do any of them know Seabiscuit's resting place or was that buried with Charles Howard's sons? I hope Tom Smith got the new car, he seemed to have had so few joys in life. His funeral I hope included his family and close friends. Information on what happened to Pollard's childrens' children would be of interest to me. If I were to walk into a bar, and find Charles, Tom, George, and Cougar I'd want to talk to Cougar. He was a fascinating character and my favorite for a sequel. He was one tough Irishman. One last question, do you know where Cougar and Agnes went in Catalina for their honeymoon? I've been there many times and Margot & I had ours there in Two Harbors. I look forward to hearing from you. P.S. This is my first E-Mail. ph is 858-452-7226 in case you wish to call.
Jerry Freeland <>
La Jolla, CA USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 19:39:29 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, You are a woman after my own heart! I LOVED your wonderful book & I am eagerly anticipating its movie version! So far, (to me, at least), the only good horse racing movie has been "Phar Lap," and that, I believe, was made in Australia-by good, I mean it's the only technically correct movie about thoroughbreds & racing in general. With your guidance, I think the adaptation of your book could equal or surpass it. I sobbed at the end of your book-I did not realize that George Woolf died such a grisly death, nor did I know about the harrowing life of Red Pollard. Also, it tore me to pieces to read that Tom Smith died such a lonely death & that he was suspected of crooked racing practices by people in the industry who should have known better. That he was supported by Elizabeth Graham and other contemporaries was cold comfort. He didn't deserve to be treated the way he was at the end. Additionally, I sobbed even harder when I realized that Eddie Arcaro, Lucien Laurin and other racing titans I adored as a young girl are gone now. But, your book will keep them alive, thanks to your lightning prose. I think Grantland Rice & Damon Runyon would be right proud of you & your work. I wish you continued success in all endeavors. Thank You for keeping the spirit of a hard-knocking handicapper & his connections alive. Sincerely, Audra Bezio
Audra Bezio <>
Colorado Springs, CO USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 18:48:38 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I'm yet another horselover who found your book engrossing and rewarding. I'd heard of Seabiscuit of course, but you've done real service in writing about his inspiring connections as well. Did Tom Smith ever get in the trainers' Hall of Fame? If not, it's shameful. The film to come is of great interest too ; how about James Cromwell or John Mahoney to play Charles Howard? Many of your corres- pondents are concerned about your health--add my good wishes to theirs.
Lynne McGrath <>
Pasadena,, CA USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 18:38:51 (EDT)
I just finished your wonderful book on Seabiscuit. I have been a follower of the Triple Crown ever since Secretariat, and found your history of Seabiscuit very entertaining. You might want to research a book on the Labrador Retriever NAFC, NFC Super Chief. He belonged to the August and Louise Belmont of Easton MD. Augie and Louise were acquaintances of mine during my field trial days, and the story of Super Chief would be a great one to make public. The Belmonts are the same ones of the Belmont track winner of recent years. When Augie purchased that horse we were at a field trial in Jacksonville, Florida. Louise was partially disabled at that time but never let it slow her down. If you want another good story, do a bit of research on them and their success in the world of Retriever Field trials. It would make a good story.
Robert Woodrow <>
Asutin, TX USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 17:54:50 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Just finished reading "Seabiscuit." I hated to put it down, even for the little time it takes to cook dinner or do dishes! When I was a kid of nine or ten back in 1938-39, even though no one in my family or in my surrounding small New England town was interested in horseracing, we all knew who Seabiscuit was. I loved the book, which gave me so much drama and insight into the racing world of which I was almost totally unaware. I shed tears at the end, perhaps selfishly, because I was too young and not in the "right" cultural world to truly appreciate what a wonderful lift it gave the whole country. Here were four "losers," three human and one horse, who proved to a desperate population that all was not lost. Your book is a marvel. I only hope that Hollywood has the good sense not to try to hoke it up too much with the Pollard romance, etc. There is plenty of drama and pathos in the book to make several excellent movies. Good luck with it. I look forward to seeing it. In the meantime I am telling everyone who has not read the book to drop everything and get hold of a copy! It's been a long time since I have read anything that touched me as deeply as this story. Thanks for writing it.
Maryellen Lake <>
Becket, MA USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 16:17:00 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand, I spent a most enjoyable vacation on the beach in North Carolina w. your book. Like you, I developed my love for horse racing at Charlestown/Shenandoah Downs. My closest friend, to this day, lived on a T'bred farm. They bred 2 Tri-State Futurity Horses, Softly and Cojak, the latter who ran in the Kentucky Derby/Preakness in the 70's. More to the point, I enjoyed the book immensely and look forward to reading it again. Your efforts were most emphatically appreciated by one who has spent time in the breeding barn, backside and rail. Thanks again.
thomas chase <>
frederick, md USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 14:44:46 (EDT)
Hi Ms. Hillenbrand, I am thoroughly enjoying reading Seabiscuit right now and what I want to know is: Seabiscuit is the son of Hard Tack who was the son of Man O War and War Admiral was the son of Man O War, right? So... if I've got that right, they are first cousins, once removed. I was just curious about that. I'm not at all a horse afficionado, but my uncle whom I spent alot of time with was August Belmont, the grandson of August Belmont II. Later in my uncle's life, he got into horse racing and I spent a few weekends with him driving to places to look at his colts etc. His best horse was Caveat, who I watched win at a Belmont race many years ago. Anyway, the book is great and you deserve all the praise you received for it. (I also happen to live right off of Chevy Chase Circle, which I gather is close to you) Page Winstead
Page Winstead <>
Chevy Chase, MD USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 13:45:19 (EDT)
I guess I am out of step! I was looking forward to something DIFFERENT after hearing your wonderful interview on NPR. When I finally finished your bokk I truly wondered who did that interview, it sure wasn't the author! The book is a typical history of egos and money and, unfortunately, those who make both at the expense of animals. I will file your book with the others like it, destined for the trash heap. Sorry!
Jim Mayor <>
South Albany, VT USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 11:57:53 (EDT)
the cover picture was a grear disappointment. thank god i didn't judge the book by it's cover. it would have been nice to see seabiscuit's face as well as tail end on the cover
lindamthorpe <>
USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 11:57:14 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Finished the book last night and loved it. Both my sisters will be getting it for Xmas and I'm e-mailing my friend Patty down in Texas about it as soon as I finish talking to you. (She spent her first 5 years of life Whinnying instead of talking. In spite of her poor mother's attempt to get her counseling, she is still a horse nut.)I had heard of your book through BOMC, and thought it sounded interesting, but didn't buy it. But it lurked in the back of my mind, as some books do, whispering that I was missing something. (Maybe I need Patty's dr.!) I saw it sitting on the new book shelf at the library and pounced on it! As I was reading it, My husband would laugh at me making little exclamations and saying "C'mon, c'mon" under my breath during the race scenes. I call them scenes because your writing made me see what was happening in my mind. I hope you will have control over the movie, so Hollywood won't have the chance to ruin another great story. I also enjoyed reading your notes at the end of the book. They solved a little mystery for me. There is a jug band around these parts called the Juggernaught Jug Band. They play jug music from the 20's and 30's. Excellent band. Anyway, one of the member's of the band goes by the name Roscoe Goose. I always wondered where that name came from. Now I know it was the name of the 1913 winning Kentucky Derby jockey! I can't wait to dazzle Roscoe with my new found knowledge! Thank you so much for a wonderful book. It will stay with me for a long time and find a place in my permanent collection. My long-suffering hubby groans when he hears this. At this rate we're gonna need a bigger house! Keep writing and I'll keep reading!
Ann Self <>
corydon, Ind. USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 11:25:07 (EDT)
Laura, I really loved your book. Easily the best one I ever read. Everyone on my Christmas list will get a copy this year. Thank you for bringing Seabiscuit to life. I will never forget him, or you. Thank you again.
Don Benvenuto <>
Chester Springs, PA USA - Monday, July 30, 2001 at 03:23:08 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thank you sooo much for your wonderful book. I hated for it to come to an end. I met you a few years back at Paabo where I have worked for over l8years. My hat is off to you for a wonderful book it was a thrill to read.
Barbara Lynch <>
Rockville, Md. USA - Sunday, July 29, 2001 at 20:39:23 (EDT)
Laura: I have just finished reading your book, "Seabiscuit, An American Legend." Thank you so much for writing it and bringing Seabiscuit and all those associated with him alive for me. I have tears streaming down my face as I write this. I'm at a loss to explain why it has affected me so. I enjoy thoroughbred racing at Del Mar where my son is a professional handicapper -- "Deuce Bruce." But other than admiring the horses and betting on them, I was ignorant of their personalities, spirits, and hearts until your book. I can't thank you enough for all your efforts in researching and writing such an inspiring masterpiece. Karol Andrews
Karol Andrews <>
San Diego, CA USA - Sunday, July 29, 2001 at 17:40:21 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, We loved your book; thank you for sharing Seabiscuit’s story with us. My husband and I read it together, and now I am going through it again for a second time. We now have a much greater appreciation for the sport and history of thoroughbred racing, and a very special place in our hearts for Seabiscuit. We should like to have copies of several of the prints from your book to hang in our home library. Could you possibly provide me with a contact name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address or any other suggestion as to how I might obtain each of the seven prints noted below? We are, of course, willing to purchase each print, and they will be used solely for our own personal enjoyment in our home, and not duplicated in any manner. Thank you again for your beautiful book. Sincerely, Barbara A. Eddy Three Island Lake HC01, Box 3178-D Manistique, Michigan 49854 beddy@up,net Phone 909-573-2699 PRINTS WE WISH TO PURCHASE (as taken from your book): 1. page 30, Smith and Seabiscuit AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS 2. page 182, Seabiscuit, Tom Smith, and C. S. Howard BETTMANN/CORBIS 3. page 198, …and Seabiscuit (Seabiscuit and Red Pollard) BETTMANN/CORBIS 4. page 216, Seabiscuit and his walker visit with Red Pollard… BETTMANN/CORBIS 5. page 250, …Woolf and Seabiscuit streak over the Pimlico track… MORGAN COLLECTION/ARCHIVE PHOTOS 6. page 302, At Seabiscuit’s stall… (with Red Pollard) LOS ANGELES EXAMINER 7. Jacket Photo, owner C. S. Howard, Seabiscuit, and jockey Johnny "Red" Pollard, Arcadia, California, March 5, 1940. BETTMANN/CORBIS
Mrs. Barbara A. Eddy <>
Manistique, MI USA - Sunday, July 29, 2001 at 14:33:17 (EDT)
I see this country beginning to broil with excitement over your sensational book. The stock market is going to go up and a fervor will build towards a new theme in horse racing. Your writing and strength of heart will help lead the nation in a time of searching for better health and well being thru creativity. I send you is the greatest power in the universe and yours is very apparent, touching thousands. Sincerely, Amanda Ford
Amanda Ford <>
Charleston, s.c. USA - Sunday, July 29, 2001 at 14:00:47 (EDT)
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to tell you how much joy you have given me by writing your book.
Tom Brenholts <>
Mountain Top, PA USA - Sunday, July 29, 2001 at 11:22:17 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Well done! You are to be commeneded for your efforts in presenting this remarkable story. Thanks for breathing lfe into The Legend! Best wishes for continued success with the film. Regards, Tom Pendergast
Tom Pendergast <>
Hazleton, PA USA - Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 23:05:55 (EDT)
Christopher Reeve said of me in his book "Still me" that I had taught him how to read (not quite true) and that my story-telling in his reading class had led him to think of becoming an actor one day. Would that I had had a copy of "Seabiscuit" in my hands 40 years ago from which to have read excerpts to Chris and his classmates. "Seabiscuit" is one of the finest books I have read in all of my 76 years.
Wesley McCaughan
USA - Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 17:01:14 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand. Greetings from the other side of the water. Yes, the exploits of Seabiscuit have made it all the way to the UK.As a racing fan, your book was a real page-turner. I'd loved to have been there! During reading each race was awaited like a real classic. I also enjoyed the insight into a country during a time of great change. Industry, depression and even prohibition! Whatever next? Of course, war was just around the corner. I was a little disappointed to discover that the people who had triumphed through so much adversity appear to have drifted apart, and even more sad at the plight of Tom Smith. It does seem that if you don't have much to say, someone else will say it for you! Anyway, congratulations on a great read. I saved the last 30 or so pages for a special session- sure evidence of a real winner. ******For all you racing fans in the US, our English and Irish Derby winner, the Colt Galileo, has today won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. He'll have a couple of runs now before hopefully coming to Churchill Downs in October to challenge Point Given at the Breeders Cup. Take care.
London, UK - Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 13:40:10 (EDT)
I am almost blind and my wife just read to me the Readers Digest version of the "Seabiscuit" story which I really enjoyed. My question is "how did he spend the rest of his life after the famous race? Thanks for your response.
Bill Mosley <>
Fresno, CA USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 21:48:52 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand, Thank you for this wonderful book about a wonderful horse! My parents attended the race between Seabiscuit & War Admiral! I hoped that I would not go to the Delivery Room before I knew if Secretariat had become the Triple-Crown Winner! (Yes, she waited until after the race.) I had also wondered how any other race could compare to the Alydar & Affirmed rivalry? The Biscuit was a marvel; I thihk he could have beaten any other horses. Do you plan to write about Alydar & Affirmed,or Secretariat? I would look forward to reading it! Thanks again for a great book!
Janet Abdel-Gawad
USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 18:26:09 (EDT)
Dear Laura, My best friend gave me your book for my birthday, warning me not to buy any books that began with S beforehand. As soon as the Biscuit appeared in your pages I was conpletely enthralled. But when I headed off to Oconomowoc, WI for a family reunion I forgot it. Tragedy! My father had to buy me another copy, which I promised I would mail him for HIS birthday. What goes around comes around, yes? Anyway, I then proceeded to visit my son who is working at the Jazz Festival in Aspen, and I was so engrossed in the book, I hardly noticed the horrendous thunderstorm we f lew through from Denver into Aspen. I felt I had the bit in my mouth!Thoroughly charmed by all three main characters and the equine icon they adored I could see why Seabiscuit was the NO.1 news item. For it's not the looks but the heart of a horse. I would like to send you a copy of my book, LUPUS NOVICE, if you are interested. You might relate. There is a new edition out with a preface by my doctor, Dr. Jesse Stoff who is a leading specialist in CFS. Have you read his book? HarperCollins? Please let me know where I would send this book if you would like to take a look, or check out my website for more Thanks again for a splendid birthday read. (My husband,Mason Rose, is also a Kenyon graduate, and we enjoyed your article in the bulletin. He gets the book next. It will clearly make the rounds! Best wishes, Laura Chester
Laura Chester (author) <>
Alford, MA USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 16:59:07 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand, I just got through chatting with your justifiably very proud Father. He told me about your problem. Your book was little short of remarkable. Considering the pain you endure, it makes your book all the more memorable and moving.I can now understand how you were able to write with such empathy about trials, tribulations, and injuries of Jockeys. Your book should be, correction it must be a shoo in for a Pullitzer. Heck I think you ought to get a Nobel Prize for this effort as well. For the record, I should tell you that I have lived these many 78 years and have never sent anyone a Fan Letter. Young lady you merit a million of them. My very warm congratulations and sincere best wishes and prayers for your health. Frank Ridge
Frank Ridge <>
Reston, Va USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 16:05:58 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Your book has been passed down in my family and is now going through all of our friends. I am going to buy my own copy! I can't thank you enough for bringing such an extraordinary animal and the courageous people who believed in him back to life. They will be a part of me forever! Sincerely, Stacey
Stacey Olney Mertz <>
Greenville, NC USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 15:11:37 (EDT)
Laura, I literally just finished reading your book. It is one of the best books that I have read, ever. What a great story of a real American hero. I can't wait for the movie. Well done! Mike Hester Tomball, TX.
Mike Hester <>
Tomball, TX. USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 14:23:36 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I have the post-great-book blues. I just finished your wonderful book, and don't see anything in the immediate future to fill up my spirit as Seabiscuit did. A brief tour through your guestbook reveals so much adulation, and racing-specific memories, that I don't know how to fit in. My love of your book is twofold. First, it is well researched and beautifully written. Personal computers have given birth to the notion that everyone is an author. Everyone is not, but you are. Thank you for the pure pleasure of a great story, well told. On a personal level, my father loved horses, and would take us to Belmont for a day of family fun together and $2 bets. We grew up in Brooklyn, and later moved to Nassau County. Even now, that I live further east in Suffolk County, Long Island, Belmont is still my favorite destination for Father's Day, or any given Sunday. My Mom and Dad would tell us stories, over and over, of their "football" wedding, where sandwiches were tossed across the room to wedding guests, like footballs. The party went through the night, and the racing form would appear in the wee hours of the morning for those who wanted to continue on to the track. Your book is about people with heart, who overcome obstacles and make no apologies for their failures. How refreshing in this day and age of talk-show panderers, giving an audience to every weakling who doesn't know what to do with his or her life. Thank you so much for your terrific book. Can you recommend other good books on horse racing? Sincerely, Philip Calderone, St. James, New York
Philip D. Calderone <>
USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 14:21:48 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: I just finished Seabiscuit this week. It was a fabulously written book and what a great story. I can hardly wait for the movie to come out. Leanne Edinger
Leanne Edinger
Kennan, WI USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 10:49:51 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I bought a copy of Seabiscuit just before heading to Louisville for this year's Derby. Last week, I finally picked the book up and started reading it and I can't put it down. As a part-time journalist covering the sport, your book has provided me a lot of insight into the sport of racing. I hope to finish it soon and I look forward to seeing any movie or documentary projects that may result from the book. From what I have read on the history of the sport, Ken Burns should consider a documentary project that could equal the Baseball series. Please visit our website at and we would love to have you on our radio show sometime in the near future. We also hope you will come to visit us at Colonial Downs sometime. The turf racing here is the best in the country.
Kenny Powers <>
Richmond, V USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 10:46:11 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I am the creative director for Books Are Fun. Perhaps you've heard of us. We are the largest direct marketer of books in the world, and a division of reader's Digest. I was touched by the USA Today article. I was at my company's conference in San Diego when I read the paper. Congratulations on your book! Everybody is offering you their recommendations for your CFS as I am about too! I'll make it brief... Please go to and do a search for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The nutritional supplements mentioned are from a company called Mannatech, a R&D company with a product line that is proving to be quite effective for a wide range of health conditions. CFS is being researched closely and there are many people who have been through CFS and have experienced profound results. I'll leave it at that and hope that you take a look at the website. The good news is, no matter what, I am confident that you can get relief from your disease inspite of your doctor's care (sorry for the jab, couldn't resist!!) These supplements from Manatech appear in the Physician's Desk Reference, so you can have confidence that the medical community is taking it seriously. Okay...enough said. I wish you well and great success. If you have questions, please email me.
David Bordow <>
Fairfield, IA USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 09:33:28 (EDT)
Oh to have lived in 1938!! Thank you, Laura, for taking me there and introducing me to the legend himself. And my thoughts and wishes are with you in your own personal struggle.
Becky <>
Alamo, GA USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 09:19:33 (EDT)
Dear Laura, It was such a pleasure to read your incredible book. I see that several people have already offered advice re CFS, but I did want to suggest that you consider the macrobiotic diet. You can get information and guidance from the Kushi Institute ( - it's incredible what following this diet can do for many serious conditions, including CFS. I know from personal experience. Recently I began acupuncture treatments; combined with the diet, this seems to be an added benefit. If you haven't already done so, I hope you will investigate macrobiotics - it really is amazing. I wish you the best of luck. Peggy Hunter
peggy hunter-jenkins <>
Newport, VT USA - Friday, July 27, 2001 at 01:29:29 (EDT)
Dear Laura, My heart went out to you when I read your story. I know what it's like to have doctors tell you it's all in your head when you can hardly walk across a room. I have been using 2 specific supplements for my CFS and they have greatly helped me, although my CFS is not nearly as bad as yours. They are grape seed extract and milk thistle. I would love to talk to you more about this if you have the time and energy. My prayers are with you. God bless. Cheri
cheri rupp <>
USA - Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 22:58:55 (EDT)
My goodness. When I was in my twenties I worked at DRC, here in Detroit. I worked for the likes of Ben Ciborne, Jack Van Berg, Dave Zakoor,etc,as a hot walker, and finally moving up to a groom. The tracks you wrote about in Seabiscuit ended in the decade I worked in the tracks...1970's. My memories went back to those early mornings, and I found myself telling my children stories I hadn't shared with them. I, too, worked on a horse that everyone else had given up on, while I worked at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas in 1980. His name was No Sad News and I called him Good News. He had girth really bad, his ears laid out like helicopter propellers..not a very attractive horse at all. But I wasn't the most attractive person in the world either, and he and I became friends. I spent my extra money on him, buying him his own brushes so his disease wouldn't spread,etc. T-Redd was his owner, and he wouldn't put the horse in any races...he considered him dog food. So, Good News and I would spend the afternoon, talking and waiting for his chance. Finally, I talked Redd into putting him in a cheap race..Redd waved me off at first, then agreed. Good News came in second. Redd took the horse from me and gave him to his girlfriend to groom after that. I left ARkansas shortly after. I left the race tracks, shortly after that as well. But your book is xcellent. I grew up hearing stories of Seabuscuit. My parents having lived during those times..were some of the black fans that little horse had. Not having lived in those times..I cheered on Secretariat, having his picture in my room, much like other girls had Donny Osmond,etc. Just wanted you to know how much I loved the book...and I may just study for my trainers license one of these days, if 42 isn't a bit old to do so!!!!!! HorseRacing never leaves your blood, I guess and your book reminded me of that!
virginia hernandez <>
detroit, mi USA - Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 18:47:43 (EDT)
Hi Laura, I have read many books, yours is without a doubt one I will remember and return to many times. I am an animal lover and just lost my dog of many years. These creatures can sure worm their way into our cold hearts, can't they? Well Seabiscuit has a place there too, thanks to you. I can only imagine how many times you had a good boo-hoo when you were writing his story.I was truly enchanted with the whole book. Thank you for your bull-headed courage to write it.Seabiscuit was a real pickle, and I have had a few animals with similar personalities. Thanks for the hearty laughs from his story. Now I read you have CFS, well I have fibromyalgia, and it can really tick you off when you can't go and do what you want. I have found the best solution is to get educated about your condition, find a good Dr., then spit in the eye of your illness! Stay ornery, and take care of you. Oh and do not give up on your writing, you can really punch up the suspense! Good luck.
Pat Stierhoff <>
USA - Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 14:25:15 (EDT)
I just finished riding Seabiscuit!! Err... I mean Reading Seabiscuit. Actually, I listened to the Audio version. It was great! Thank you.
wil johnson <>
Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA - Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 10:59:41 (EDT)
This is old-fahsioned sportswriting at its best, reliving an event through printed words rather than seeing it on television. Unparalleled elegance in writing. Here are some old horseracing postcards to cheer you up, Laura: Tom Lathrop
Tom Lathrop <>
Newark, DE USA - Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 09:08:33 (EDT)
I read Seabiscuit as soon as it came out and I've watched the incredible reader response with great interest. I'm not a big message poster but I'd like to add my 2 cents now. In 1978 the NY Times said this about my standard for non-fiction, John McPhee's "The Pine Barrens": "It will be a long time before another book appears to equal the literary quality and human compassion of this one. Among books of its type, it could be a classic." Well . . . . I think you've done it. Your reaction, at the moment you realized just what a book this could make, must have been much like old Tom Smith's when he understood for the first time the world-beater he had in his hands. It's a great story. But your writing does it credit. You put your heart on your sleeve in writing this book but did not lapse into sentimentality, which is quite a trick. The tension of the match race was perfectly teed up, and my sense of being there cheering in amazement as Seabiscuit "sailed into history, running easy" is one that many seem to have had and few will forget. That chapter, and a number of other passages, go beyond the printed page in a very rare way. The theme of finding and redeeming great value among the cast-aside and forgotten also resonates -- be it people or horses. I couldn't help comparing Seabiscuit's transformation from "mean, restive and ragged" to the change we've watched as one of our rescue dogs settled in, filled out and (more or less) got it together. My wife gave me quizzical looks when I'd try to explain why I kept re-reading this book. Then she read it. Her first comment was "this woman is a really good writer." As soon as she finished, she started again. So we're both hooked. This was easily one of the most enjoyable, engrossing reads I've ever run across, and any and all accolades are most well-deserved. Good luck in overcoming your health problems and keep on writing!
washington, DC USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 21:49:00 (EDT)
To Kathy Shoemaker: No, Tom Smith was not Ted Smith, but Ted was one of his brothers. I am excited to hear of yet another connection to our family. My grandfather was Tom's brother. I just finished a trip to the Unaweep for some history research on the subject. Please e-mail me directly and we can set up yet another conversation with Tom Smith's long-lost relatives! I have photos of Ted from a LONG time ago.
Kat Walker <>
Kerrville, TX USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 19:24:25 (EDT)
Was Tom Smith also known, at any time as Ted Smith? In the early 1950's, my family used to go visit and elderly couple named Ted and Jenny Smith on various ranches that Ted was managing near King City, California. My Grand Junction, Colorado relatives claim that Ted was the trainer of Seabiscuit. Are Tom and Ted Smith one and the same? There is a distinct resemblance between the book's photos of Tom and my memory of how Ted looked. Can anyone help me clarify this?
Kathy Shoemaker
USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 18:50:38 (EDT)
We have relatives in Louisville and I have always loved horses and horseracing. My husband grew up in Lexington. I have never been to a "real" horserace in thoroughbred country of Kentucky, but that is my dream. I am bedridden with CFS for 11 yrs, with seizures, and all the rest, as you well know what it is like. I bought the book because I have CFS and love horses, but was amazed to find I could not put the book down. You are a brilliant writer! And a great hero to writers everywhere but MOSTLY a hero to us suffering with CFS. Your story gives me hope to keep hanging on when I feel like giving up. What a book and what a writer! You're my heroine! Hope you make a million after all you went through to write it - a hero just like Seabiscuit's story. Love and good wishes, Beth
Beth Williams <>
AL USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 13:34:05 (EDT)
Hello Ms. Hillenbrand, My family has greatly enjoyed your fine book. Being Marylanders we especially enjoyed the "home" associations. The article in USA Today has led to many health suggestions. One that I did not see is perhaps the very best. Please accept my recommendation that you investigate Tahitian Noni Juice. It is a relatively new juice produced from fruit harvested in the Tahitian Islands. In five years, Morinda, the originator of the initial product has reached $1,000,000,000 in sales. We constantly share it with our friends and loved ones. CFS is just one thing that it seems to help. My wife has had great success with her Fybro Myalgia. My parents with a Cancer like blood disorder. I would be happy to send you literature with no obligation if you supply me with an address. Please give it a serious look. (You can log on to to see more.) Dave Burgman 624 Sawgrass Bridge Road Venice FL 34292 941-412-1103
David Burgman <>
Venice, FL USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2001 at 12:20:09 (EDT)
Laura, I loved your book! I'm sorry to hear that you've been ill with CFS. I have MS so it is difficult to ride horses, but I still do -- I love horses! It is so wonderful that you wrote the book about Seabiscuit. He was so for gotten. Although I knew of him (photographs, etc. in books about horses) your history about him was so refreshing. It's a shame he died so young. However, it was a grand history of an incredible horse. Keep up the good work -- I've read some of your stuff in EQUUS. You must be very excited about the Seabiscuit movie, and I can't wait to see it! Gale
Gale Lucy <>
Miami Beach, FL USA - Tuesday, July 24, 2001 at 23:56:36 (EDT)