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Simply put, this is the best book I have ever read.
Steve Scott <>
san diego, ca USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 23:55:34 (EDT)
Each time I finished a chapter I thought this story can't get any better. It always did. This is a wonderful book by a wonderful, gifted writer who does solid research but never loses her perspective. The story is shaped beautifully, paced like a hundred grander race and by the time it crosses the finish line, you will be on your feet cheering. I have never read anything like it. A masterpiece of sports writing. Hell, a masterpiece of writing, period.
John Howard <>
Austin, TX USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 21:46:51 (EDT)
The moment I finished "Seabiscuit" I was sorry it was over. While I held the book in my hands I was truly lost. Books are truly time machines, silicon and batteries will never replace paper and a good place to read. Thank you.
Jim Bowman <>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 21:09:26 (EDT)
Laura, Were you to have been born Seabiscuit, I doubt if your autobiography would have been more heartwarmingly portrayed. Thank you
Howard Raphael <>
Sherman Oaks, CA USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 17:43:43 (EDT)
Laura: Thank you for a truly wonderful book "Seabiscuit." I was enchanted with George Woolf. I think you should write a book about him now! Can't wait to see the movie. Thanks again!
Sharon George
Wichita, KS USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 16:56:27 (EDT)
This was a beautiful, fascinating story. My own small horse has the heart of Seabiscuit and I, too, saw thatin his eyes the very first time I looked at him, just like Mr. Smith. I doubt there will ever be another relationship like the one involving all of these lives and such a great horse. My mother remembers all the notoriety about Seabiscuit. Thanks for bringing it to the rest of us.
Alyce Soffer
York, PA USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 13:21:24 (EDT)
Laura, I am already mourning the moment I read the last page of this incredible book. In the meantime I am savoring every word, every emotion, every experience. When I read I feel as if I am taken back in time. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. As I child I devoured every horse book written. Of course I knew about "Seabiscuit." With every line I read names and stories re-awaken a memory from books read as a child. I grew up in San Ysidro, CA. I had no idea the rich history that race track in Tijuana possesed. As a child I remember longing to visit Agua Caliente. Once my grandfather took me, though I was too young to remember much. What a wonderful story you are telling. Thank you again.
Jere Witherspoon <>
Newberg, OR USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 13:06:57 (EDT)
Dear Laura Hillenbrand: Thank you for introducing me to the Cougar,the Iceman,the Magnate and of course, that crooked legged,big hearted Biscuit.For three days I couldn't wait to get back to my new friends.I'd read some then absorb their feelings ,as you clearly make a reader exist in that time.Alas,the bittersweet moment of parting comes with finshing this story.If a writer's immortality is one of your goals,you need not pen another word.Like generations to come ,I'll be back to visit THE BISCUIT & his crew time after time.I didn't start going to the track until I was two.I have a picture of my dad & me in a N.Y. start. gate then.He looks a little disapp.that I'm a small boy,not a colt readying for the Futurity.It's 53 yrs. later,I read everything,yet when you put me on Please Me W/George Woolf,I was filled W/a rush of life never before created by a written word.I guess SEABISCUIT'S heart was so big,60 years later,it still make,s others race faster through your words.
Jimmy Cav <ALRDLN 23>
Middle Village, N.Y. USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 11:53:06 (EDT)
Simply great! What else can I say? It's a wonderful book even for someone who has never ventured into a track or knows nothing about racing. It's a story so compelling you won't want to put it down!!!!
Ron Barnhard <>
Coconut Creek, FL USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 11:41:53 (EDT)
I just finished reading this book last night and felt compelled to write and let you know what an astounding and remarkable book this was - I hated to have it end. How I wish I had been around to see this remarkable horse in action and experience the devotion and love he inspired. My interest in racehorsing has always been very mild, although I did venture over to Belmont Park to see Seattle Slew win the Triple Crown. I never thought a book like this would appeal to me but now I can't imagine anyone who would not be inspired and touched by it. Very well written as well. BTW - while reading the 2-3 paragraphs devoted to the "moving manure pile" I absolutely laughed out loud and had to read the paragraphs to my husband. Thank you again.
Marie <>
USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 10:36:58 (EDT)
Dear Laura - so the toe chopping off story IS true!, I too, like my cousin Tom had no idea my great great grandfather Tom Smith was so famous! I am loving your book SEABISCUIT so much that I can't put it down! My father, (who is the grandson of Jim Smith) has told me stories of his childhood, growing up in So.Cal and visiting the race tracks with his grandpa Jim and being around celebrities all the time. I truly loved the chapter "the Lone Plainsman" I see a strong resemblance in my father(lookswise)to silent Tom- I'm getting him a grey felt fedora and some glasses!- We have some pictures of Seabiscuit and some memorabelia- but your book has really brought it to life- I wish I could have known my great great grandfather better and your book has given me a glimpse into his remarkable and "enigmatic" life. Thank you once again for recounting in such a wonderful way, this true American Legend! I look forward to the movie and if you could find the time to email me about my g.g.grandfather I would LOVE it! Thank you so much again for SEABISCUIT! Warmly, Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards <>
Santa Rosa Beach, FL USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 10:17:46 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I commend you for writing one of the truly good books of this or any other decade. You have truly placed yourself in the ranks of legitimately great writers. Thank you for your dedication to this project and for your gift to all of us.
Carroll D Simpkins <>
Beckley, wv USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 09:17:00 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Tom Smith is my great-great grand father on my fathers side,(who bears great resemblance to "SilentTom). I am reading Seabiscuit right now and I can't put it down! My father has always told me stories of his childhood in Southern California at the racetracks with his grandpa Jim, seeing famous people and stories about Tom and Seabiscuit. We have some race memorobilia and pictures that I have cherished as the only record of him and I can't tell you how much this book means to me. Thank you for crafting such a wonderful account of this true American legend. I wish that I could have lived back then to have a glimpse of these times, but your book has really brought them to life. Thank you again and I can't wait to see the movie!!!
Sarah Edwards <Beachrunner868>
Santa Rosa Beach, FL USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 08:44:45 (EDT)
Dear Laura: After growing up in the shadow of Saratoga Racecourse, I cannot tell you how this book brings me back to my youth. I was 8 years old when they unloaded Secretariat from his van there. We were all waiting just like the throngs that waited for Seabiscuit. Thanks for taking me there and letting me live through your hard work! Long live the sport of kings!
Bruce Fina <>
Boston, MA USA - Monday, May 14, 2001 at 01:46:40 (EDT)
Just finished reading your book Laura and enjoyed every minute of it. Even found myself tearing up at several parts especially the match race. I attend Del Mar every summer and was especially thrilled to see the chapter on Seabiscuits's time there. What magnificent writing this book is and I can only hope it will be made into a movie soon. Saw your story on the news one night and had to get the book and am so glad I did.
Susan Reierson <>
San Marcos, CA USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 23:46:02 (EDT)
LAURA: Your book, and especially the chapters on the two key races, reminds me of what once was said about a Pavarotti aria (Salut Domnere) that it was the most perfectly prepared high C in all opera. What a great job. What a wonderful book. Thanks. Phil
Phil Howerton <>
Charlotte, NC USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 21:44:18 (EDT)
This is, hands down, the best story...and one of the best books...I've ever read. What a refreshing, uplifting account of devotion, committment and triumph over adversity. Thank you, Laura, for your dedication and painstaking research to capture the true grit of this horse and those who were touched by him. Thanks to you, his courage and their dedication have been reborn to inspire us all.
J. Michael Rainey <>
Leavenworth, WA USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 21:31:54 (EDT)
How your book about a horse showed us the humanity of the times is an inspiring work on your part.I didn't start going to the track until I was two years old.I have pictures of me in the starting gate,my father holding me like he was getting me ready for the Futurity.The most difficult part of your story is finishing it.I,m 56 now and your making me miss people and a horse that you just recently introduced me to.If your goal as a writer is a certain immortality,you don't have to write another word.Rivaling "THE BISCUIT'S"best performances,this book,these people and that bad-legged,big hearted horse will be continualy brought back to life.Thank,s for a new set of memories.
Jimmy Cav <ALRDLN 23>
Middle Village, N.Y. USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 21:00:56 (EDT)
Wow, Lauren. You wrote the book of your life! I just finished reading your book, in the shadow of Del Mar, which is dangerously close to my house and frankly, once I started it, I could not put it down. I actually was cheering out loud (for Seabicuit, of course) while reading the chapter on Seabiscuit and War Admiral's'match race. I remember having a board game and Seabicuit and War Admiral were two of the horses on the game (can't remember the others),and now I know why. The movie should be a smash..kinda like a Charriots of Fire. Good lock with it. PS Tom Merritt is an od friend of mine.
David Dinerman <>
San Diego, CA USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 17:36:48 (EDT)
Thank-you so much for writing this book. As a 40-year-old equestrienne with chicken pox, I can tell you few things make me happy when I'm forced out of the saddle for more than a day. Your book did the trick. My seat has mended, your book has ended, and I can't wait for the movie!!
Laura Mitchell <>
york, Me USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 13:38:14 (EDT)
This is the first "horse story" I have read where I cried as much for the humans as for the horses! My husband heard the interview on NPR and sent me out for the book immediately. He was so excited as he read the story, that I had to leave the room to keep him from revealing the details to me as he progressed in the book. When my turn came, I was transfixed...until the chapter before the match race. When I knew the race was truly on, I had to close the book and rest for a day before I could continue! What a great read! My husband trains dancing horses and has his roots with the great circus trainers of Europe. I would love to let your words bring one of those glamorous stories to life! Just as with Seabiscuit, you must hurry, the links in the chain are dying off fast. Again, thanks for bringing us this allowed us all to ride a great racehorse!
Juliane Jay <>
Grass Valley, CA USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 12:17:34 (EDT)
One of those rare books you can't put down, especially if you're a horse racing fan. I grew up in Kentucky, around horse racing. I so much enjoyed family outings to Keenland and Churchill Downs. My grandfather used to talk about Seabiscuit as the greatest runner he ever saw (he witnessed the contest with War Admiral). Because of that, we could never get him to concede that Secretariat was the greatest of all time. Your book made me understand why he felt that way.
Robert Blythin <>
Newport Beach, CA USA - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 08:36:01 (EDT)
I read in the Wall Street Journal a review of "Seabiscuit:An American Legend" and shortly afterward heard the NPR interview you gave about the book. Both experiences stimulated me to get the book. The recording of the call of the match race with War Admiral moved me tremendously, as you said it always does, you, too. Where could I go to get a recording of it to share with my wife? I bought the book from the book club I belong to and read the preface to my wife. It hooked us both immediately, and over the course of the next several evenings I read the entire book aloud so we could enjoy it together. I had a hard time reading through laughter that your telling of the story often evoked, and an especially hard time reading over the lump in my throat as you brought the story to a close. What a powerful book! I bought another copy for my son and daughter-in-law after I had them read the preface in Barnes and Noble. Your work will certainly deserve all the accolades it will undoubtedly earn. May you triumph over your bout with CFS. Our prayers are with you. Other horses have risen to remarkable heights from humble beginnings (e.g. Seattle Slew), but do you think any other story could touch so many people the way your telling of Seabiscuit's story (and Seabiscuit's very life) has done? Thank you for writing "Seabiscuit: An American Legend." Jim & Suzi Stovall
James H. Stovall <>
Neotsu, OR United States - Sunday, May 13, 2001 at 01:03:19 (EDT)
LAURA: HI! I heard your interview with the lovely Diane Rehm on line and loved it. Both of you are truly inspiring. I re-read Diane's book afterwards. Now, I look forward to re-reading yours, after I loaned it to my folks, who adored it. My dad's an old racing fan who used to be a regular at New England tracks. He knew Babe Rubinstein, the old Suffolk Downs announcer who must have been the guy that couldn't get the crowd to pipe down when the Seabiscuit-War Admiral matchup in the '38 Mass. Handicap fell through. For many years, and it must have started when War Admiral lost, the MassCap had a reputation as a "graveyard" race, unbroken until the likes of Cigar and Skip Away showed up here in the '90s. I spoke to my old friend Daryl Wells, the great Canadian race announcer, recently. He hadn't heard of your book, so I begged him to find it. On what planet is he? Daryl's not a great reader but I'm sure he won't be able to put it down. If and when the movie comes out, I hope I'll be able to see it because my own neurological condition has preven- ted me from seeing many movies due to graphic violence, language and emotional subjects. Whoever said "it should be a PG-13 so everyone, including kids, can enjoy it" I'm with wholeheartedly. I haven't seen a movie in a theater for over 10 years (last one: "Field of Dreams"). I'm willing to break that streak when "Seabiscuit" comes out. Thanks again for the greatest thing I've read in ages. Next year, there will be a Pulitzer for history with your name on it.
Jonathan Cohen <>
Brookline, MA USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 22:23:40 (EDT)
Dear Laura: A great read. Loved the piece on the Match race when the Biscuit was pulling away from War Admiral and his jockey said "So long, Charley" to his rival rider.
John Bigness <>
East Greenbush, NY USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 21:35:19 (EDT)
"Seabiscuit" is quite a change from Auerabach's "Wild Ride" and in different class than Schwartz's "Ruffian." I always thought Seabiscuit was a hype because of his uneven performance and eyesore confirmation; I guess as child of the computer age it never occurred to me that "heart" counts and that a trainer would actually recognize it and use it in training and racing. And that "heart" is emphatically not the same as a horse with a bad disposition. I've not a regular reader of equine publications, but I've often wondered if breeding U.S. thoroughbreds solely for speed was partly to blame for the current popularity of European warmbloods.
Margaret Smith <>
Los Angeles, CA USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 19:27:11 (EDT)
In the midst of reading your great book which brings back very personal memories. I was a child patient in the Howard Foundation for Tubercular Children in 1944 at age 10 years. At the time there was no effective treatment for tb. Because of the segregation it was then an unhappy time for me, but I was grateful to the Howard Foundation in my adult years for the care I received. I can still remember the pictures of CS Howard and Seabiscuit in the foyer. I lost track of Seabiscuit as I pursued a medical career, now am an emeritus professor of cardiac surgery, Stanford University and also a practicing lawyer approaching a second retirement. Please accept a heartfelt thank you for allowing me to learn more about Seabiscuit and C.S. Howard in a most satisfying account.
Eugene Dong, MD, JD <>
Palo Alto, CA USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 18:56:08 (EDT)
Dear Laura, My husband and I heard your interview on NPR and almost had to pull the car over because we were both crying when they played the race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Since then we have seen you on MacNeil-Lehrer and we have the greatest respect for what you accomplished with this book. NOt only are the characters on the page incredibly compelling but the fact that you too have had to battle such health problems added to the story. I work at BusinessWeek magazine in sales and have decided to send your book to as many of my clients as possible. I think there is an important message in the pages of your story and I want everyone to read it! Thank you again for such a superb effort!
annette osnos <>
new york, ny USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 16:54:32 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I have my own Seabiscuit story! Several years ago, I hung a lithograph of Seabiscuit on my wall. It was done by a favorite artist of mine, C.W.Anderson. When my grown daughter and her family visited from MA, my daughter spotted the lithograph right away. "That's Seabiscuit," she said, as if everyone would recognize the horse who in the picture, is looking out of his stall door. "Yes," said my grandaughter(age nine at the time,) "Daddy wanted to get a boat and name it 'Seabiscuit.' I still don't know how they knew so much about this horse who is more of my era than of theirs. Sincerely, Joan S. Byrne
Joan S. Byrne <AlfieDonk@AOL.Com>
La Canada, CA USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 16:14:09 (EDT)
Thank you for writing "Seabiscuit". My words cannot do it justice. I can't remember when I have cried reading a book. I had never heard of Seabiscuit until your book was reviewed in Time magazine. Your book has rekindled my childhood love for reading about horses. I am anxious to find "Come On,Seabiscuit".
marsha lloyd <>
Farimont, WV USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 13:16:21 (EDT)
I am supposed to be studying for law school finals! I am reading Seabiscuit. Although I grew up riding horses in Texas, I never liked racing, because I did not see horses as naturally competitive. Your book opened my eyes on that subject. Very inspiring.
Donna Lucas <>
Gallatin, TN USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 09:43:01 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: What a great yarn! Your attention to detail is extraordinary. Your description of the love of the humans for Seabiscuit is exceptional. I savored the excitement of the races. When I finished the last page, I immediately turned back and reread the narrative of the Seabiscuit/War Admiral match race. Thank you so much for providing your readers with such a treat. Two questions: First, how did you learn that Seabiscuit toyed with his opponents? Second, is there a way I can watch the video of the Seabiscuit/War Admiral race? Gratefully, Jay Patterson
Jay Patterson <>
Dallas, TX USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 08:21:55 (EDT)
Sadly your book came in the mail the day I had to leave with my son for Rolex 3-day Event in Lexington KY. I delayed my last minute packing to try and read a few pages before we had to leave at 3 a.m. to make the show by the next morning. BIG MISTAKE!!!! By the end of the 1st page I knew I would not be getting any sleep before the trip !Then I was fearful that I might lose the book on the trip so I decided to leave it at home. Met a friend there from southern IL and she was so excited about a book she just finished and she would loan it to me, IT was your book!!! Read a few more chapters to hold me over until we got home. Always a Equine enthusiast, I was spell bound by the book. I hope you keep good control of the reins with the movie. Robert Davaul(spelling) I think would be great as Smith ! But what ever actors they get for the picture will just have to remember who the real star is-the horse. Seabiscuit was one of my favorite thoroughbreds next to Man O War,Exterminator,and my dream horse Secretariat.Thank-you Lynn Kullman
Lynn E Kullman <>
Dekalb, IL USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 01:45:58 (EDT)
Laura: Again, absolutely wonderful book! I see that most of the website comments reflect just how I felt while reading the book: Intense emotion and tears. Just a few things about the movie though: I don't know just how much of the integrity of the film version you will be able to control but here is my suggestion. PLEASE tell "Hollywood" to get some real horse people working on this film. The thought of this film coming off like other horse films in the past, with horses whinnying all the time or falling down or even worse acting like Mr. Ed , is frightening. I believe portraying personal in-depth hardships, especially those of the jockeys and trainers, juxtaposed against Seabiscuits’ ferocious will to run and win, is what the public really needs to see. Show the world the real picture of how heros evolve in even the darkest of times and people will learn and be moved at the same time. Thanks, and remember us horse people will be definitely be watching!
Teresa <>
Newport Beach, Ca USA - Saturday, May 12, 2001 at 01:00:36 (EDT)
As a teen, I read a book by Ralph Moody about Seabiscuit, and have never forgotten this horse. Ms. Hillenbrands book is certainly more adult, if no less interesting.
jwolit <>
USA - Friday, May 11, 2001 at 22:50:38 (EDT)
This is a great book! I have been a racing fan for over 30 years and got started when writing a research paper on Man O War while attending Rutgers back in the 60's. Your research skills are obvious as you told this story in such detail that I felt the events surrounding Seabisquit's life were unfolding as I read the book. I just hope you have another book in the works because you've got me as a customer. Thank you for writing this book!
William Kaup <>
Lutherville, MD USA - Friday, May 11, 2001 at 21:23:53 (EDT)
Laura: Outstanding job on the book Seabiscuit. I always knew the biscuit was good, I did not realize that he was one of the finest thoroughbreds ever. Your detail in describing the various races, especially the classic showdown with War Admiral and the final 'hundred grander' had me on the edge of my airplane seat. Please fill me in on the details of the movie. Thanks again for a great story and best of luck in your future projects.
Frank Loffa <>
USA - Friday, May 11, 2001 at 18:26:25 (EDT)
I owe a deep sense of gratitude to Laura Hillenbrand for her efforts in writing perhaps the greatest book published in years. AT no less than ten times my eyes swelled with tears of emotion over the triumphs of the great "Seabiscuit". Truly one of the greatest success stories in this country's history. This book is a must read for everyone.
Jim Perkins <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Friday, May 11, 2001 at 15:22:54 (EDT)
Laura...I can't think of any words that could properly express my feelings after reading about Seabiscuit. But I can say it was the best story, fiction or non-fictuion, that I have ever read.
Barbara Bell <>
Memphis, TN USA - Friday, May 11, 2001 at 13:21:38 (EDT)
After finishing your book from cover to cover, I was delighted to find (on the very last page!)that you created a web page for people to contact you. And just as I suspected, you've received hundreds of thank you emails from people lucky enough to read your wonderful book. I have spent a week of traveling across the country in crowded airplanes and airports and your book made my week. Thank you very very much. It was delightful in every respect.
Rob Donovan <>
Seattle, WA USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 23:52:02 (EDT)
I read your book about a month ago. Fantastic. I read quite a lot of non-fiction. I believe your book is the finest I've read in the past decade. I recently reviewed your book on the political/cultural website which I run. I hope you take a look. Thanks again for a great book.
Shannon Box <>
Canyon Lake, TX USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 22:53:45 (EDT)
This is probably the finest book my wife and I have had the opportunity to listen to on tape during the last five years! We are both horse people and I am fortunate enough to have a one in a million horse but the story of Seabiscuit goes beyond just the horse story and touches anyone that has loved an animal and had the animal love them in return. Congratulations on a book that had us cheering and crying at the same time.
Ed Shoenbach had <>
Grandview, TX USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 21:58:04 (EDT)
This is the first audiobook I ever bought that can't be played while driving. It's so exciting (each time!) that it would surely cause an accident. I don't remember ever being so amped over a book...ever. Thank you!
maggie van ostrand <>
pine mountain, ca USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 18:36:46 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Excellent job. We have just finished your book "Seabiscuit". I am a trainer of a small private racing stable based at Bowie Training Center. My husband, Bill Brasaemle, is a chart caller for Equibase on the Maryland/Virginia circuit. We both enjoyed your book immensely. You did a wonderful job depicting the true flavor of life on the backside. The picture you painted of the hard life that trackers knew during the depression was thought provoking. It makes me wonder over and over about the small value that was given to human life in those hardest of times. The hard ships the horses endured was equally note worthy. Knowing the inside story about a star like Seabiscuit renews the awe I feel everyday about the thoroughbred horse in general and the ones I train specifically. This story gives my job a new perspective. Glimpsing racing in that era makes me look at my barn in a new light when I look down the shedrow in the morning. Your extensive Acknowledgments and Notes where also commendable. What a gift you have. Thank you for sharing it with us. We wish you good health and please know that our prayers are with you. Bill Brasaemle and Joanne Hughes
joanne hughes <>
sykesville, md USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 18:25:54 (EDT)
Laura, As a long time racing fan and Saratoga native I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed your book. The role of Mr. Vanderbilt in pulling together the match race at Pimlico brought back my memories of him-perhaps the kindest man I have ever met. Each year I return to Saratoga for several days and up until his death in 1999 I enjoyed chocolate chip cookies with him while watching the workouts on the backside each morning. After finishing the book I saw in your acknowledgements the reference to you doing the same at Belmont Park. You have done a miraculous job of portraying horse racing at its peak. Every time I go to Pimlico I will think of Seabiscuit roaring down the stretch leaving War Admiral in his wake. Thank you for this book.
Bill Grau <>
Glenwood, MD USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 17:00:04 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hildebrand: Just finished reading about the marvelous "Seabisket" and had to rush to my computer and open your site. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your story with all the local details and the pictures with each chapter. They brought a visual reference and timeframe to the words and made the horse world and Seabisket in particular come to life for me. Very well done! Rosemary Johnston
rosemary johnston <>
Tequesta, FL USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 16:33:55 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand; your book on Seabiscuit was so captivating and the connection between horse, trainer, owner and rider was so pure in their purpose that I could not read the book alone. I had to read to my husband so as to share their remarkable relationship. We both would literally get a lump in our throats and tears in our eyes at the magnificence of this horse's heart. Your narative of the actual races was putting us on the edge of our seats. I did not want this book to end. The fact that the trainer and owner were so genuinely empathic to the needs of this animal described perfectly what a partnership with an animal is all about. My husband and I own horses and are always amazed at their capacity for bonding with humans. I will never look at horseracing in the same light. It is not just all about money - it is about understanding what the horse needs to do to live its own rich life. Thank you. for the movie - perhaps you can consider Tommy Lee Jones for Howard and Chris Cooper for trainer? Chris Cooper is so under-utilized for such a fine actor. Good luck.
Chris Whitney <>
Redmond, WA USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 16:14:01 (EDT)
Laura, I read the short review of your book in Sports Illustrated several weeks ago and decided to buy it. While I am a fan of horses and horse racing, I'm not a gambler, so I don't go to the track. Most of my viewing is limited to the Triple Crown and Breeder's Cup on TV. Your book about Seabiscuit is the best non-fiction book I have ever read, and I read many books. If I didn't know it was a true story, I would have thought it was fiction. The story is almost too amazing to be true. The research you did was equally amazing. To find all the details, including such things as War Admiral's trainer finally acknowledging Tom Smith and Seasbiscuit is what made the book a joy to read. Thanks, I really enjoyed it. Larry
Larry White <>
Overland Park, KS USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 14:18:03 (EDT)
Laura, I never had an interest in hourses, save the time I drew one for a fifth grade sweet heart, but after reading your book, I connot stop thinking about the relationship the people in your story had with that horse! Every time you wrote about Seabiscuit "running down the backstrech" and pouring it on to a win, I had a lump in my throat. And I don't get choked up about things. Thanks for a touching story and for the NPR interview. That is where you hooked me to read the book.
Tom Lilli <>
East Stroudsburg, PA USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 13:19:54 (EDT)
I have been a racehorse fan since 1973 when I elected to spend my afternoons at Pimlico rather than playng for the high school baseball team. As you can imagine, my parents were thrilled by the choice. I loved your book but had two questions: (1) Why did the cover photo not include Seabiscuit's face? (2) Had you uncovered any rumors that Tom Smith was the first trainer to introduce the electric prod? I have heard stories that he used an "electric whip" on many of his horses, including Seabiscuit. Thank you for your response.
David Landau <>
Potomac, MD USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 12:23:32 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand-- I'm in the middle of Seabiscuit, and it is wonderful reading. Have you been alerted yet to a lovely, whimsical piece of music, a rag by William Bolcom called "Seabiscuits"? Well worth checking out and available only on his Nonesuch LP,"Heliotrope Bouquet". If you can't find it let me know and I'll tape it. Congratulations again on your fine book. --Tom McDermott
Tom McDermott <>
New Orleans, La USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 11:25:46 (EDT)
I recently found out that Tom Smith (my great Grandfather)is more famous than I knew about. I am very interested in knowing more about My Grandfather Who I was named after. Being very closely related to "silent" Tom Smith I would LOVE to learn more abot him. I have seen statues of him and seabiscuit at Santa Anita and have a picture of him with Seabiscuit at home but really want to know more about him. I am very interested about learning more about my Grandfather. Please Contact me at your convenience.
Thomas Sallaway <>
Lewisville, TX USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 10:45:20 (EDT)
I have read several thousand books over the course of my life, which began in 1938, the year Seabiscuit hit his full stride. I have never read a book that so thoroughly the people, the events, or the times so well. I could not put it down. Thanks, Laura for your meticulous research and for your descriptive gifts. I know that you agonized over every word, as all writers do; please know that you have created a masterpiece.
Paul Lutz <>
Shrewsbury, MA USA - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 09:05:53 (EDT)
Robert Duvall would be an excellent Tom Smith for the movie and he is a horse owner. Sam Shepard or Clint Eastwood for Charles Howard. Am at a loss for the jockeys.
gary eagling <>
USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 18:16:16 (EDT)
Loved the book. My great uncle was Charles S. Howard. By the by, I have an original program from the match race. Please contact if you have any additional information about my family. Thank you. HLP
Howard L. Poertner Jr. <>
Beaufort, sc USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 16:27:50 (EDT)
Dear Laura: Thank you for bringing back so many of my fondest memories! My father was a racing fan and so was I. Starting in about the 2nd grade, my father would pick me up from school about noon and we would drive to Santa Anita (and later, Hollywood Park) for the races. He only took me out of school for important races, like when Seabiscuit was running. Fortunately, most of the stakes races were on Saturday. I became addicted to thoroughbred racing, and an amazingly good race prognosticator. I loved Joe Hernandez's wonderful baratone: "There they go!" instead of "They're off!". He was a great story himself. I watched Seabiscuit lose to Rosemont and Stagehand with a broken heart, but when he won in 1940 (I was nine) I actually jumped with joy. I was standing by the rail in the infield a short distance from the finish wire. Your photo on page 316 is identical to the mental image I have carried for 61 years. I would swear that Haas was holding Kayak II back at the wire, but was thrilled that Seabiscuit had won. My father and I went often to both Santa Anita and Hollywood Park until they were closed for World War II. Every evening we would listen to Joe Hernandez call the races on the radio. After the war we seldom went to the tracks. Our lives had changed, but the days of Seabiscuit bring back some of the fondest memories of my lifetime.
Dave Tidwell <>
Meridian, Idaho USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 16:22:22 (EDT)
wow, what a treat your book is. i just emailed cnbc and nominated SEABISCUIT to be put on their summer recommended reading list. thank you, and happy trails.
bob striegel <>
biloxi, ms USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 12:40:05 (EDT)
Best book that I have ever read.
John Dietz <>
Garden City, NY USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 12:07:59 (EDT)
I have greatly enjoyed your book and wanted to thank you for resurrecting a wonderful piece of American history. True stories, when told well, are often more entertaining than fictional ones. The characters in your book are, therefore, all the more enjoyable because they were real. I am happy to hear that the story of Seabiscuit will be made into a film. I remember watching the film The Black Stallion when I was a child and being entranced with the match race of Cyclone and Sunraider. As it was with the Seabiscuit and War Admiral match race, the one in the film was east versus west. Perhaps the filmakers had the Seabiscuit/War Admiral match race in mind when they wrote the script for The Black Stallion? I hope that Universal Pictures does a good job of translating the book and does not make it too "glitzy" and artifical. The fact that this all happened during the Great Depression makes the Seabiscuit story so much more powerful. Beautiful things can happen, even when the chips are down. There are stories like this all throughout American history. They are little gems who have been overshadowed by larger world events. However, it is often the little gems that make life sparkle. Lastly, I really like the website and was wondering about one thing. In your book you claim that you had been able to obtain rare film footage of the match race between War Admiral and Seabiscuit (as well as some other old newsreel footage). It would be GREAT too see the old footage digitized and put onto the web. I am certain that there would be many people who would like to see both horses race once more. Would this be possible?
Debbie Adenan <>
Washington, DC USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 10:58:14 (EDT)
Upon listening to your being interviewed on National Public Radio in regard to the writing of your book, I knew immediately that I had to purchase "Seabiscuit." Barnes and Noble did not even have it in their computer yet; I had to purchase it elsewhere. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Brought back some wonderful memories. One question I have on page 338: 694 missions??? At times I often wonder if authors ever get a chance to see the jacket prior to publication. Seabiscuit must be chomping at the bit if all they could show was the better part of his rump on the cover. I have considerable reservation whether or not Hollywood will be able to capture the spell of the moment with multiple themese of the various principals. Steven Spielberg could do it. I trust that Hollywood will be able to included some appropriate music from some of the more prolific writers of that era like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Kurt Weill and others. Seabisuit would make a great musical if handled properly; even better than "Damn Yankees." In my opinion, I believe its greatest success would come from a televised serial version of the book, and could include a good many more stories which your exhaustive research has undoubtedly uncovered. These stories have to be told, if only for posterity sake. I am sure tha a program of this caliber put the "Sopranos" on the back burner. The story line has much wider appeal and greater plot range. I also would like to compare notes with you some time on "motion problems" and eye surgery.
PALM BAY, FL USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 09:22:25 (EDT)
Hi: I own a small portion of the original Howard Ridgewood Ranch for 20 years now, about 375 acres. It was subdivided by the church that bought the ranch from the Howard estate. I read the book with great interest and facination. I am a native San Franciscan,and a member of St Francis Yacht Club, as was Mr. Howard. I would like to chat more about the ranch. Thanks
Robert T. Buich <>
Redwood Valley, CA USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 00:43:46 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand: The most treasured book in my library has always been "Come on Seabiscuit", the first book I ever read, given me by my grandfather over 40 years ago. Your work is a perfect compliment and a very welcome addition. Reading this inspiring story once again, this time from your well-researched perspective, was a welcome reminder that perseverance will be rewarded. Congratulations!
Eric Leins <>
Winter Park, FL USA - Wednesday, May 09, 2001 at 00:02:48 (EDT)
Enjoyed the book. Look forward to seeing the movie.
Bill Patin <>
Houston, TX USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 22:37:13 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I am a horse lover, though I have only taken riding lessons, and, oddly enough, I have never been a huge horseracing fan. I am an avid reader, although I don't know why I decided I had to read your book. I have just finished "Seabiscuit." What a remarkable horse, what remarkable people, what remarkable relationships, and WHAT A REMARKABLE BOOK! I have bitten my nails under the strain, whooped with excitement at their wins, and cried in frustration and sadness. Yours is one of the best books I have read in a very long time - fiction and non-. Thank you for persevering.
Susan J. Duffy <>
Mooresville, IN USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 22:12:28 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have just read interview article in US Weekly mag. I am a writer doing research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and feel that since you were sick after getting food poisoning you could have parasites (20% of parasites don't show up in conventional testing). Quotes from web sites: “It has been our clinical experience that parasite infestation is extremely high in the United States. It can be from one, or many, things either from traveling in another country or even from the food we eat here at home, but once you have them a person can go for years completely asymptomatic. Or there can be cyclic diarrhea, which can eventually lead to a malabsorption syndrome. “One of the indicators of long term infestation is that the patient appears to have non specific transient symptoms in almost every system of the body which seem to come and go often with each reoccurrence being worse then the time before. A profile that can be very confusing as well as frustrating to the doctor as well as the patient. The symptoms can come and go changing in symptomatic presentation, and most of the patients seen come to us with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. “Even with the lab tests that are used for parasitic infestation, more often then not, they give a false negative profile due to the cyclic stages that the parasite goes through. It is usually due to luck when and infestation is found, and the conventional method of treatment by the medical community is with antibiotics, which will give symptomatic relief at best. “It has been found that homeopathic remedies in conjuction with a sulfur bearing amino acid is extremely useful in treating the parasitic infestation of the intestine, both large body parasites and amoebas. Parasites don’t like sulfur; it’s that simple.
Catherine <>
USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 21:10:58 (EDT)
Like all the others,I was totally captivated by the story of Seabiscuit. Not just because he was an underdog but because of the relationships you described between the horse and the three men and because of his wonderful heart and love of racing. Your desciptions of the races were so exciting that sometimes I had to put the book down for a minute before continuing - I felt as if I was part of the race. Your love of horses and people came through loud and clear. Thank you, thank you.
Susan Chadwick <>
Oakland, CA USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 20:16:17 (EDT)
I am a writer and television producer. I would like to discuss a possible new project. Please send me an e-mail address so that I can validate myself and share my ideas. Thanks, Steve Fenwick
steve fenwick <>
Washington, DC USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 18:34:40 (EDT)
Laura, Our interview last night on my radio show was one of the highlights of my years on the radio. I am not sure whether this is the right forum to tell you what an extrodinary person I think you are but, as it turns out, I am left with no alternative. I simply want you to know that you are now part of the lore of the Ralph Steadman show and your book is pretty cool too. I hope that this message finds you well and that we can chat again soon. God's Peace, Ralph Steadman Host, Ralph Steadman Show New Talk 860 KPAM Portland OR.
Ralph Steadman <>
Portland, OR USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 18:06:00 (EDT)
We are ardent horse racing enthusiasts and long-standing members of the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame here in Saratoga. Last year's big treat was Jane Smiley's wonderful book Horse Heaven and getting to meet her when she had a book signing at the Museum the day before she gave the opening speech at the Hall of Fame inductions. We didn't think something that great would be repeated the very next year- but here we are having just read your wonderful book on Seabiscuit- all the kudos and commercial success are most well-desrved! If your health permits it, it would be a wonderful thing if you were to follow in Jane's footsteps at Saratoga this summer! You have more fans than you can imagine! Our very best wishes for your good health and continued success!
John & Jane McNiff <>
Saratoga Springs, NY USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 16:41:29 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I just recieved Seabiscuit for my birthday. I can't wait to read it.I can relate tothis book as I was born and raised in Kentucky and worked on some of the best horse farms such as Three Chimneys,Lanes End and others.I'm sure I will enjoy your book very much. Are you doing any book signing's aroud the Fredericksburg area any time soon? I would love to have you sign my book.
mike brown <>
Locust Grovev, VA USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 16:18:03 (EDT)
As a boy of 12 years old, living on Staten Island, NY, each morning I went to the local newsstand to obtain the New York Daily News for my Mother. I remember clearly the date 11-02-1938, reading on my way home the story about Seabiscuit winning the greatest horse race in history. Thank you for the wonderful book you have written about this great horse. I am looking forward to the movie. Thomas Tolworthy
Thomas Tolworthy <>
Tallahassee, FL United States - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 15:26:37 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I am half way through reading your book. I have been enjoying it from an historic perspective. As I read I find myself wishing that the emotion of the day (race day, various events and dilemmas) were a larger part of the scenes being created. I understand that this is difficult to do if you were not present. I wonder if through the emotions of those whom you interviewed that there was not enough information to develop the emotional points in the story further. I want to be present at these extraordinary events. I find that my emotions ignore the fact that I am sixty years too late better than my intellect can. Again, thank you for a glimpse into another time and place.
N. Torno <>
USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 12:42:14 (EDT)
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, What a marvelous book you have written. Congratulations on its success. I have an interesting and cherished souvenir of Seabiscuit given to my grandmother by C. S. Howard. I'd be happy to share its story with you if you'd like. Best regards, and good luck on your next venture. Joan McGinley,
Joan McGinley <>
Jacksonville Beach, FL USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 11:49:04 (EDT)
Hi Laura & Greetings from Sunny San Diego As a rookie sportswriter off the campus of San Diego State University in 1973, one of my duties at the now defunct Blade-Tribune (Oceanside, CA) was to take the picks for the Del Mar Race Track by telephone from legendary southern California handicapper Ernie Mason. He would growl his selections to me in between cigar puffs, at 5:30 in the freakin' morning. Much to Ernie's distress, I would constantly interrupt his his machine gun delivery with stupid comments. Ernie: "Mary Anna in the second to win, to place I've got..." Denny: "Mary Anna? Jesus, my eighth grade nun was Sister Mary Anna. She hated sports. That's a poor pick." Ernie: "Can it. To place, I've got Lovely Loretta and to show..." Denny: "Lovely Loretta? Now that's a winner. There'a a cocktail waitress at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill by that name and she's a stone cold fox." Ernie: "Enough!" Eventually, Ernie discovered he almost liked me. One morning he asked me if I wanted to join him and his wife Louise, who as "Lucky Louise" sold her tout sheet at the track, for opening day at Del Mar. "Thanks, Ernie, but I like to play tennis or swim in the ocean in the afternoon," I joked. "Be at the Solana Gate at noon," Ernie snapped. Opening Day at Del Mar has been a tradition for me ever since, as are frequent excursions to Santa Anita in Los Angeles and to Golden Gate Fields when I visit my family up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sister Mary Anna just wouldn't understand. Thanks for the splendid book. It's a real treasure. May I send my copy for you to sign? Just e-mail me your mailing address and I'll send it along in a postage-paid return envelope. Hope you're at full gallop real soon. Your readers are anxious for your next project. Cheers, Denny Fallon Pacific Beach Cheers
Denny Fallon <>
San Diego, CA USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 11:27:03 (EDT)
What was it? I felt currents of emotion going through me within the first five seconds of your interview with Terence Smith...I felt your presence, your passion for an age gone by, your earnest pursuit , your good heart. I am giving the book to my Mother, for Mother's Day, who was twenty in 1938. We both know next to nothing about horse racing, but I remember as our family would all cheer the favorite in any kind of contest, we shared a secret smile and a wink, every time a contestant was introduced as the "underdog". The underdog prayer was always heard. Thank you for your book.
Terry Lilly <>
Hollywood, CA USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 05:22:56 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I read that promoting your book is causing a relapse in your CFS. Remember to take as much time as you need to curl up in the hay and get the rest you need. The Biscuit would understand! From a fellow CFSer.
"Tom Smith" <>
Madison, WI USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 00:49:07 (EDT)
Fabulous! I too read stories of Seabicuit as a girl and fell in love with him.. Now I have an adult horsie fix! I haven't been reading much in the past 3 months as I was in a serious accident and this is the first book that I've been able to concentrate on. In a way ,it marks my comeback as a reader(next to horses, my favorite thing). KUDOS and THANK YOU.
Carol Schriner <>
Keizer, or USA - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 00:16:30 (EDT)
I have been a fan of Sea Biscuit for many years now. I cannot wait to see your book released in Australia. A great story that should be released as a Movie.
Garry O'Day <>
Cairns, Qld Australia - Tuesday, May 08, 2001 at 00:03:06 (EDT)
Laura: Just finished the book on the plane home from the Derby this afternoon. Interestingly enough, the guy in the row in front of me was reading his copy of the book! You will lose some money though as my copy is going to be passed on to several friends who are lining up to read it! Great read!
Suneet Ashburn <>
NY USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 23:19:59 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Magnificent, glorious, poignant, and so profound that I can't do your book justice when I try to describe it to others. Three different men came up to me in the airport last week and felt compelled to say something about your book, which I had with me. I am grateful for, not only, "the Biscuit" but for you because you gave him to me. How I envy your ability to write so beautifully. With deep admiration, Tena Bunnell, Cincinnati, OH
Tena Bunnell <>
Cincinnati, OH USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 20:11:50 (EDT)
Dear Laura,I have just begun your book and am very eager to continue, especially after reading all the comments in the guestbook and hearing you on PBS and NbC news feature. Seabiscuit has a special meaning to me in a different way. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wis.. My father was an engineer for A.O. Smith Corporation.This was the year 1940 when I was only 6 years old. My father made a business trip to California during the summer, a major event in itself. when he returned he said he had brought a special little gift for me. It was a delightful figurine of a horse! I imediately exclaimed," Oh that's SEABISCUIT!" My father was more than a little astonished that his little six year old would know about race horses.... but while he was gone my sister and I had been to the movies and had undoubtedly seen a short feature or segment of a newsreel about the horse and he captured my love then. He has remained unscathed, unnicked on my nic-nac shelf for over sixty years now, a precious reminder of my father and of a great horse. The moment I saw the reviews of the book appearing, I knew I had to have the book and I reminded my whole family of the incident.I look forward to continue my reading of the book with great anticipation .The comments of Stephen Ambrose on the book jacket are well deserved praise, coming from him. I have read several of his books already too. Best wishes in your future endeavors!. Thank you!
Ellen Shear <>
Menomonee Falls, WI USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 15:17:32 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand This novel was special, I was once a groom at Belmont racetrack and can say all of your accounts are very authentic.
J cuddy <momanor@peoplepc.cpm>
syosset, ny USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 15:09:40 (EDT)
Ms. Laura Hillenbrand, I have been in the racing industry for over 30 years. I have an interesting story that involves the "Sport of Kings". It is about the Lebon/Cinzano race-fixing case. The story will make a great book. Please contact by fax if interested in hearing the story.
G. Brian Houser <>
West Hempstead, NY USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 14:46:16 (EDT)
Truly a classic..If there were a trainer like Tom Smith around today,I'd be back in the business..BTW.I had never heard the name of Hillenbrand before a few weeks ago..Now there are three of them touching my life.Laura,Patti who works for Dr. King in Melbourne, Florida (My wife's surgeon) and the rookie third baseman for the Boston Red Sox..(A future star) Evidently talent runs in the family name...
Paul Meyer <>
Palm Bay, Fl USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 13:33:54 (EDT)
Dear Laura; Thank you for the wonderful story of Seabiscuit. His development into a champion and icon during the tumultuous days of the 1930's was inspiring, as was the insight into the life and times of the racing industry during that period. One question- why didn't Seabiscuit ever run in the Kentucky Derby and then try for the Triple Crown? This would seem to fit with Mr. Howard's desire for fame and publicity. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you, David Ross
David M. Ross <>
West Palm Beach, Fl USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 11:55:51 (EDT)
Dear Laura: I have thourghly enjoyed your story of Seabiscuit. Its insight into the world of racing and his development into a great champion and icon of the 1930's was truly inspiring. I have one question. Why didn't Seabiscuit run in the Kentucky Derby and then chase the triple crown. This would seem to fit Charles Howard's desire for fame and publicity. I would very much appreciatehearing from you. Thank you. Sewell Wilson
Sewell Wilson <>
West Palm Beach, FL USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 11:25:57 (EDT)
After thoroughly enjoying your interview on the PBS Friday, I knew I had to read the book. It is a "keeper" ~ beautifully written and what a great story of heart, valor, sensitivity, humor and wisdom. "Seabiscuit" will always have a place on my shelves and in my heart! Thank you for a superb book about a true warrior in the mythic sense of the word.
Carole Lange Esley <>
Camden, me USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 09:30:13 (EDT)
Laura...Wonderful book. It's not about a horse, as you well know, but rather about anyone who has faced tough times and perservered which is an awful lot of us. You write majestically. I felt I was on the 'Biscuit against War Admiral so well did you describe the race. Your book deserves to be #1. Congratulations.
Jock Reese <>
Holiday, , Fl USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 06:59:30 (EDT)
Hi Laura, Being a life time horse lover, and long time race tracker, I especially loved your book. Working for CW the last part of my exsersizing carrier I feel like I experienced a piece of great history. Now I sell racing silks and feel very privileged to make the colors of historic stables. By the way have you commissioned any one to make the silks for the movie? I don't have the time to read much, and it takes a well written book to keep me interested. I was captivated. I know it will make a great movie. Don't let the "biz" make it cheesie! Best of luck....Karen
Karen Keeshan-Suarez <>
Monrovia, CA USA - Monday, May 07, 2001 at 00:07:28 (EDT)
"Come on Seabiscuit" was one of my favorite books as a child. Congradulations on telling a great story about a superb horse and his family! You allowed his story to span generations and make his name a houshold word one again. Thanks for a great read -sm
USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 23:17:37 (EDT)
Dear Laura: All my life I've remembered, from the 1950s, a probably minor film "bio" of the great Seabiscuit. I remember it because, age 5, it was an arrow to the heart and I cried the rest of the day about the ending. Now I'm in the beginning chapters of your fabulously rich and engrossing story and I already do not want it to end. However, what about the Hollywoodization of this story that needs no such thing? I do hope and pray that the new movie will be true and honorable and not something retrospectively politically correct or cynical. The intensity of love that a fine horse can generate is one of life's great marvels. I love Tom Smith! My guess is that many other readers do too. Very best wishes and regards -- Judy Pringle
Judy Pringle <>
Tucson, AZ USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 22:39:39 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have just finished your superb book about a true horse racing Icon. While I am not really a "horse person" I could not put your book down.While I read the entire book with with a sense of awe, it was the last chapter that touched me deeply...indeed, I can not remember when I last cried so...after I finshed the last chapter I felt overwhelmed with sadness and a sense of melancholy. After some reflection as to why I felt that way I figured it out...your book is much more that just a great book about a great horse, it is a consumate study in life itself (glorious youth followed by seasoned maturity and finally by age and departure to a different place)I felt the loss of a close the end we all miss the Biscuit. Best Regards. Travis Alexander
Fredericksburg, VA USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 21:32:10 (EDT)
Laura, to have Steinbeck-like skills and to apply it to history is really something. To bring out the personalities of a person is one thing..but to do it for a horse is something else. One thing was particularly noteworthy--that the horse seemed to sense a big event and get psyched up like a great some horses like some humans can do it. This was one very fine trip back and that was the best of times and worst of times. All the best wishes, Earl Weidner
Earl Weidner <>
baton rouge, la USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 20:47:40 (EDT)
I loved reading your book. It was very emotional, sensitive, and most of all I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how well Seabiscuit was treated. My husband and I are small owners/breeders and I am constantly worried about their welfare. I can't wait to see how the movie turns out and I hope that it is done in a realistic way that shows the true beauty and pageantry of the thoroughbred.
Marie Elena Theodore <>
Hollywood, FL USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 19:13:59 (EDT)
Dear Laura, After reading your book,"the biscuit" will be in my heart forever. It took me quite a while to read because I didn't want to finish. I kept re-reading sections and cried when I made myself read the last chapter. Finishing a great story makes you feel like you're saying goodby to your best friend. Please consider writing your next book on the life of Secretariat, probably the second greatest horse of the last century. Thank you for your unveiling of Seabiscuit. I'm looking forward to the film. I just hope Hollywood does it justice.
Billie Rodrigue <>
Austin, TX USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 18:25:04 (EDT)
Great book on Seabiscuit and the Thoroughbred racing scene. Last horse book per se I read was Black Beauty! I'm not much of a rider but I have had horses of my own and I never had a bit of trouble with any of them, under saddle or in harness. They have always had a particular charm for me; something about their willingness, their kindness, and their impressive size. All that power and beauty that allows itself to be controlled by a mere human ... I suppose it's needless to note that I, unskilled as I was in handling horses when I first got them, never had a bit of trouble with them. No kicks, no bites, no meaness. I think they understood that, despite any awkwardness I might have in saddling, bridling, or harnessing, I meant them no harm. I think they are more intelligent that some people, including some alleged expert horse owners, give them credit for. My horses would stand beside me while I pinned flapping clothes to the line, came when I called them, and always did their best to do what I wanted, even when I wasn't all that sure how to go about it! Your book was wonderful. It's a keeper.
Janice Aitken <>
So Royalton, Vt USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 17:40:05 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Its pretty exciting to read how many people are enjoying your book. Just when it seems horseracing has lost all alure in in this country, your book brings back some of the glory. I think racing has always made for great copy. One of your references, William Nack, wrote a pretty fine book many years ago on Secretariat (as well as one of the best sports articles I've ever read on that horse's death.) And you can see other signs of hope for the sport lately -- ESPN classic ran a great set of bios derby week; and the Derby itself did not disappoint. Here's to hoping your great book leads a resurgence for a sport that still has many dramatic tales to tell. Thanks again. PS: I hope you would consider including Seabiscuit's lifetime race statistics as an appendix to any reprint or paperback version. Thanks.
J.B.Poersch <>
Alexandria, VA USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 16:36:33 (EDT)
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, One measure of a great book, whether fiction or non-fiction, is that, when you're reading it the book seems like real life,and real life seems like a book. Thanks so much for writing what amounts to a time machine -- it took me out of my own existence and set me down in that time and place, with those people, and that horse. A page-turned and a heartbreaker, I'm so grateful to you for allowing the horses' natures their full due, the same as those of the humans around them. May Hollywood make a worthy film out of this! And would you ever consider devoting some of your life to other biographies of the great racehorses? Now you've got your feet wet, it would be wonderful to be able to look forward to more of this kind of writing from you. Note: I stopped in the town of Willets last fall to take a break from a long drive, and was mesmerized by the beauty of the area. Do you (or does anyone else?) know if the Howard family farm is still in the family, or what ever became of that land? Thanks for the best read I've had in ages. Diane Goodboe
Diane Goodboe <>
Ben Lomond, CA USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 16:07:03 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I am a horse lover, and will definately read your book. However, I am writing to you about CFS. I have had it for over 5 years.How are you coping with all your interviews...which are wonderful...and you don't sound a bit tired. Are there any meds that you are taking to help you? I admire what you are doing. I was a tennis player, club level, when I got sick, and took up bridge online. Now, I do attend classes, and try to have bridge dates, but ususally have to cancel have of my plans. Good luck to you. Maybe with your success with your book, you can piggyback the realness of CFS to all the people who have not a clue. Thank you. Rene
Rene Blovad <>
Palo Alto, Ca USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 12:00:20 (EDT)
Back in the mid 80's I wrote a lengthy series of articles for THE ALABAMA THOROUGHBRED JOURNAL, and my August, 1985, profile featured Seabiscuit. Just one of the many reasons I was so entranced by your wonderful book. Congratulations on your success. As you know, I'm sure, the Biscuit was ranked 25 (between Nashua and Whirlaway) in the "Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century" published by THE BLOOD HORSE. People forget how really popular some of these legends were during their time. Yesterday, after the Derby, I asked my 93-year-old aunt, who lives in Louisville, if she remembered Seabiscuit. "Of course," she said, "back then, everyone knew about Seabiscuit!" In the Shirley Temple film, actual footage was used of the match race and Santa Anita Handicaps. It will be interested to see how a modern film version will be handled. Best regards!
Lew Koch <>
Huntsville, AL USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 11:45:01 (EDT)
Shakespeare wouldn't have you change a word. Do you know Biscuit's shoe size? John Kelso, Farrier
John Kelso <>
Santa Monica, CA USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 09:21:27 (EDT)
I have been ill with CFIDS for ten years and started following races a few years ago. Its thrilling to find articles about both subjects. The education you are doing about the illness gives me and a lot of others great hope. Somehow it will result in more medical research. They have been curing horses. I have been waiting for my budget to buy the book but I can't wait anymore. Thank you. It also shows if you can't work a regular job you can still accomplish something, and maybe something great.
Kathy Parker <>
New York, USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 03:19:39 (EDT)
Loved your book. I am related to Silent Tom Smith and wonder if you know if any of his family is still alive? I have his obituary from the CA Horse Breaders Association and it has his wife,Janet Smith- Daughters- Mrs. Elline Talbot- Miss Vera Smith and James W. Smith who was a trainer of horses too. Anyone who has information about his family, please send it to me, The book was like seeing a movie. A great story about my relative Tom Smith and my favorite horse Seabiscuit. I bought the book yesterday and finished it today. WOW!
Dean Beck <>
Longmont, CO USA - Sunday, May 06, 2001 at 00:25:53 (EDT)
Seabiscuit was a horse who lived and died before I was ever born, but as a child I read and reread COME ON SEABISCUIT! It was my very favorite! Now I have a new one, the one you wrote. I have no idea why I feel so strongly about a horse I only came to kow in a book, but I do and I always will. I wept in so many places as I read your book. I can hardly wait for the movie based on it! I would also love to find some Seabiscuit memorbilia (sp), do you know where I can find some? Thanks so much for your work on this wonderful horse! Susan Kaney
Susan Kaney <>
Charlotte, NC USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 22:32:39 (EDT)
I am enjoying your book at this very moment, just took a little time from reading to check out the website and am happy I did. looking forward to reading more of your work.
Edward B. Stover <>
Sterling, IL United States - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 21:58:03 (EDT)
wow. Now I know why the phrase" on the edge of my seat" was created. What an incredibly moving tribute to all. I'm sure writing this has changed your life, and not just in the obvious way. Thank you. do you know where I can get the radio broadcast of either the Seabisquit=War Admiral race or the Santa Anita win? Thank you again, marlene Swartz Brooklyn NY
Marlene Swartz <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 21:07:33 (EDT)
Laura: As a California native of the San Gabriel Valley, was raised around and with horses. Names like Kayak, Swaps amd their peers Seabiscuit, War Admiral and others came flooding back into my memory -52 plus years later. Was researching the 'web' trying to find any info on 'Kayak' the sire of my childhood mount, a gelding named 'Comanche' that I paid $50 for at an auction in Chino, CA. He was a Palomino-paint 'throw' with a blue eye and a brown eye. At 17 1/2 hands I couldn't see over him when I bought him and had to stand on a box to mount him. Actually got to break Comanche as he was an unbroken yearling. That experience taught me a lot about animals and horses (a very separate distinction methinks). Comanche was stubborn, mule headed and the fastest thing on -4 feet I'd ever ridden. He refused to be passed by another horse in any riding situation. Looking back, feel it must have been a genetic thing. Comanche was a beloved member of my family for nearly -30 years. I regretfully gave him to a family who had lots of children (Comanche loved kids...go figure..yet, maybe he was on to something)when there was no time for horses and riding anymore. Had my own family and a career to take care of...silly me. After the running of the Derby today, my memories kicked in and thought would try to see if anyone out there knows anything about 'Kayak'. Your website came up. If not, I'll chock this up to one of those 'senior' moments that have heard happen to dottering older folks. Am going to buy your book as it sounds like it just may be the answer to a bibliophile's view of some of the trash that gets published as literature today. Am looking forward to the 'read'.. Sincerely, Don Price
Don Price <>
Discovery Bay, Ca USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 19:05:09 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I saw the piece about Seabiscuit that aired last night on PBS. I also have suffered from CFS for about 14 years and was inspired by what you have been able to accomplish with your limitations. You've made a great contribution.
David S. Rawlins <>
Richland, WA United States - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 15:16:56 (EDT)
this is the only book i ever pickeded and could not put down till i was done and i was up set there was no more to read. no way will they ever make a movie like this book. you are unbleavable
greg wernet <>
n.canton, oh USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 15:04:46 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I have not purchased "Seabiscuit...", but after hearing about the book, reading the reviews, remembering Seabiscuit and reminiscing about my childhood around a menagerie of dogs, horses, goats, etc. in the Santa Clara Valley during the 50's, I am off to the nearest bookstore to pick up a few copies My daughter,Elizabeth, a horse lover and rider will thoroughly enjoy reading about the horse with heart. Thank you for the wonderful snippet of American history, take care and keep on plugging.
Caroline C. Duck <>
Oakland, CA USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 11:35:15 (EDT)
Dear Laura,Seabiscuit is the best book in the whole world. I'm really looking foward to the movie! You are a great writer!!!! Thanks!:)
Katie K
USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 10:17:39 (EDT)
Dear Laura, It is hard for me to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. I discovered it by reading the article about you in "People". I was at work, I am a flight attendant. At the very next airport that had a book store I purchased it. I could not put it down. I grew up around horses as well. My mothers second husband had quarter horses that he raced. There was one that was special. Her name was "Lady". She truely was special. I spent all my free time with her after school and on weekends. I would set my alarm for 4am to get up and go ride before school. She was well past her prime when I came into her life. But you could tell that she had a heart much like the one of Seabiscuit. I tried to tell my friends how special she was but they all just laughed at me and said "she was just a horse". I dont thing there is such a thing as "just a horse". I spent countless hours in the school library reading about the Kentucky Derby and all the winners since its start. I think I have read all of the books about all the great winners of that race and the other tripple crown races. I had heard of Seabiscuit but he was not written about much. THANK YOU for doing so. I thought it appropriate to write on the first Saturday in May to tell you how very much this book moved me. My only regret is that I never got to see him run. I will be setting in front of the TV today at 2pm with tears in my eyes. There is nothing more beautiful than a race horse in full flight. Thank you again
Shawn Fivecoat <>
Memphis, Tn USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 10:14:17 (EDT)
Laura: What a terrific read. When you described how Seabiscuit got in his boxcar for the trip back to Calif. and just lay down and went to sleep, I said out loud to myself, "I love this horse!" You really did a great job of bringing not only his career, but also his very personality to life. Hats off for an excellent read. I have been recommending it non-stop since I finished it. By the way, I bought the book the day I read The Economist's review. Cheers, and we are all looking forward to the film here in Hollywood.
Temple Brown <>
Beverly Hills, CA USA - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 04:35:03 (EDT)
Dear Laura: I gave your book to my friend for her birthday, now she has given it back to me to read, and I look forward to doing so. My friend raved about Seabiscuit. Would you ever consider doing a book about "Ruffian?"
Susan Hopkins <>
Elizabeth, CO USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 23:12:57 (EDT)
Just wanted to thank you for such a marvelous read. My granfather was a young man back when Seabiscuit raced. He spoke about all the racing greats. Reading your book made me remember how much he loved the sport of horse racing. I was lucky enough to ride on his shoulders through the barn area at Santa Anita in the early 1960's. Horses have permeated my life to this day. I too dreamt of being a jockey as a kid, being a girl and being six feet tall as a teen didn't help... But once on an ex-racehorse after riding in the local 4-H show, I got to pretend for a moment. I rode my gelding out onto the Humboldt County fairgrounds racetrack, I was scared I'd get in trouble but StardustIV wanted to go and so we did. It was one of those moments that made life a bit better for doing it. After having my horse for five years he still remembered the track and what it was for. Thank you for making me remember.
denise a. potts <>
USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 22:29:03 (EDT)
Dear Laura: I teach an courses on sport and social history. I am looking forward to what my students have to say about the book when I assign it next semester. You also brought back an important part of my life when you mentioned Joe Hernandez. When I was in my late-teens, he was a customer in the store where I worked. He would give some of us passes to Santa Anita and Del Mar (where he was track announcer) and invited us out to morning workouts at Holloywood Park, where he was part-owner of some horses. It was my first, and only, behind the scenes look at the very special world of racing. i asked Joe once about why there was a statue of george Woolf at Santa Anita. He, and everyone else there started into a series of stories about Woolf. Apparently, no one ever forgot him. Thanks for bringing it so alive and for showing how a sports champion is part of the culture. I did have one question - chapter 8 ends with the loss in the Santa Anita Handicap and chapter 9 starts with Seabicuit's huge popular appeal. I couldn't follow how the one led to the other.
Chuck Korr <>
USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 22:08:54 (EDT)
Laura, Thanks for bringing a great group of champions back into memory. Your work, however, is not finished. I saw the interview on the Lehrer show and it clear that you can get the old racing footage onto VHS format. I'm sure all of us older Seabisquit fans and many of the new ones would be very anxious to purchase film footage his races. Thanks again and please consider selling the tapes.
Keith <>
Forrest City, AR USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 21:11:28 (EDT)
My husband I loved your book. We both felt that we were actually at the racetrack in your dramatization of some of the races. I went to college with a Mitzi Hillenbrand from Batesville, Indiana. Are you any relation?
patty magoun <>
scottsdale, az USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 16:40:58 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I just finished reading your wonderful book, Seabiscuit. I have always admired horses for their beauty and grace, My only experience with horses has been as a volunteer in Leesburg, VA guiding horses for retarded children which I did for a short time. There is something about putting these children on the horses and the children seem to relax. Anyway, your book was well researched and very moving. Good luck with your health problems. I'm telling all my friends to read this book!!!
Pat Sharpe <>
Chantilly, VA USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 16:20:39 (EDT)
Your wonderful book took me back to the time when I was 12 years old and, like everyone else in 1938, totally in love with Seabiscuit. Thank you so much!
Mary Ellen Kosman <>
Highland Park, IL USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 16:03:45 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Hearing you on the Diane Reahm Show prompted me to buy your book. I just finished it with tears in my eyes. Your description of the thrill of the race and the backstage scenes of the track makes me want to experience thoroughbred racing for myself -- something I have always scorned til now. Thank you for the education and the inspiration.
VA USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 14:22:25 (EDT)
I once saw aired an old cartoon of a horse race. The pack of stamped out racehorses were reeling around the track and suddenly out blows a little horse, snorting with his ears back and crosses the finish line with a hysterically funny look on his face that said “Huh? I’m all alone?” At that moment the commentator yells out “and it’s Seabiscuit to the finish!” It made an impression on me because I thought to myself “Was he really like that?” Well, after finishing your book last night, I see that he really was. A horse so intelligent and gifted with sudden dog-headed bursts of speed, proving there is no breed with the heart of a thoroughbred. He was the prime example. Also, I am fascinated with Tom Smith, whom obviously brought out the brilliance and scope in Seabiscuit. I am wishful that he opened his mouth more later on in life and passed on some of his knowledge to others. I do, however, disagree that Seabiscuit was homely. He had a thick, nicely arched neck, straight head and proportioned body…so he was over at the knees! I’ll be watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow with renewed interest thanks to Laura. Teresa LaBorde
Teresa LaBorde <>
Newport Beach, ca USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 13:09:09 (EDT)
What a wonderful book. The descriptions of the races left me exhausted - it was as though I were there in person watching the run and cheering on the Biscuit. I loved Pumpkin, also. And what a splendid array of characters. They are my newest best friends. Thank you so much for the great read.
Cindy Vincent <>
Dallas, TX USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 12:10:39 (EDT)
I'm a cynic, a common worker amongst the masses, a handicapper... Laura, you made me cry. Your book's ending was so human and tender. The whole opus a magnificent work. I came to love the chracters, the horse, and their ends were personally devastating. Seabiscuit was truly gifted. So are you.
Kevin Smith <>
Ocean Grove, NJ USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 11:02:08 (EDT)
Want to see and hear more of Seabiscuit and author Laura Hillenbrand? Here is the interview schedule for the coming days: National television: Friday, May 4 Newshour with Jim Lehrer, PBS 7-8PM eastern, check listings for local times Print: US Weekly, week of May 14 issue (out now) Reader's Digest, May issue Equus, May issue Online Chats, live: Friday, May 4 2:00 eastern, 3:00 eastern, Radio: Friday, May 4: 8:20 AM EST, WZLX-FM Boston 8:40 AM EST, WSJS-AM Greensboro 9:10 AM EST, WMJI-FM Cleveland 6:35 PM EST, WBT Charlotte Monday, May 7 10:00 AM EST, KPAM Portland Saturday, May 19 9:10 PM EST, KTSA San Antonio Thank you for all your support!
Laura Hillenbrand
USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 08:15:42 (EDT)
Dear Laura-- I heard about your book on NPR and through a profile of you in the Washington Post and put it on my list of presents for my wife, Mary. I (the economist) favor nonfiction in my reading, particularly books on historical events like those of Stephen Ambrose, while Mary (the english teacher) prefers really dense fiction, for example Dickens. However, we both love the track and are fairly regular handicappers. I thought it would be a good book for both of us to read. When I gave it to her as an Easter present she was buried in papers to grade so I started sneaking a few pages here and there. Like eating marshmallow peeps, I was hooked. What a fantastic story and what a wonderful, gifted story teller you are. I cannot tell you the last time I was so moved by a book, especially the final few chapters. Your ability to draw out my emotions--excitement, loss--were just unbelievable. Two personal notes: My dad also loved to go play the horses, frequenting many of the Maryland tracks mentioned in your book. He now suffers from Alzhiemer's, but I know he would have enjoyed your book immensely. Also, my earliest recollections of Seabiscuit were from Saturday morning TV, where they would run the old cartoons made in the 30's and 40's and often there would be a reference to him. Now, thanks to you I now have a context for those memories. James Noel
James Noel <>
Frederick, MD USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 07:46:07 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I have been thinking about what I could say to you that would be worthy of the fine accomplishment you have achieved with "Seabiscuit". I cherish my copy of your wonderful work, and loan it only to my most treasured friends. At the same time, I want the whole world to discover this great story, so I tell everyone I know to go out and get this book! Your book is absolutely perfect, so well researched, and told with such a love for both the horse and the sport, and the people of this racing world. All I can say to you is, in my humble opinion, you are an amazing woman...not only as a journalist and storyteller, but also in overcoming your condition to produce such an amazing accomplishment. Seabiscuit is a story about hopes and dreams and humor and guts. The same is true of all of us. Thank you for the inspiration.
Kathi Lott <>
Seattle, WA USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 23:14:26 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I lived the book before I even opened to the first page...and loved it to the very last. We have a company by the name of Equissage, Inc. in Northern Virginia and we teach students from all over the world how to massage horses. We have adopted several ex racehorses who along with our other horses, are models for our program. In the past ten years that I have been teaching, I believe I have met everyone in your book among the 3000 people who have attended our program. My work as a massage therapist actually began at several racetracks in the East and trainers and owners could not help but notice a dramatic improvement in both their training and racing performance as well. Jockeys and exercise riders saw it, and grooms and hotwalkers were very aware of the difference in their attitude. I hope Tom Smith would have let me massage Seabiscuit. What an honor that would have been. I can also relate to Mr.Howard as an owner of many horses who are treated like family members. I also lost my only son, Eric in a Marine Corps. training accident in California in l994. To memorialize him I wrote a book on equine sportsmassage which I would love to send you. And then I read in your acknowledgements that a descendant of Mr. Howard is an officer in the Marine Corps. Seabiscuit, the horse and the book will forever be an inspiration to me. Thank you. Best regards, Mary Schreiber, President Equissage, Inc. e-mail
Mary Schreiber
USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 22:10:21 (EDT)
Although my life is filled with memories of the race track, that is not the point of this letter. Sure my Uncle Joe died in the grandstand at Philadelphia Park, and his brother Louie (THE chalk better) lifted Joe Namath's fur coat and superbowl ring to pay gambling depts when he was Joe's personal assistant. This is about something special to me. Even more exiting than when my "cousin" Bobby Donato claimed John Henry and ran him on the turf for the first time. Or the time I was eight and picked a winner at Pimlico that helped my father make payroll that week. (that business did'nt last long) I have finished reading two books in my life. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and yours. I guess I've been kind of focused on my dream to do well in life but I usually don't sit still long enough to do much of anything except watch television. (mostly old movies) Don't get me wrong, I enjoy life immensely. In fact, it was just before a trip to Florida, with my family, that I spotted your book in Farley's book store in New Hope, Pa. We had recently opened Moonlight there, Our latest restaurant, and I needed some rest. Sorry to carry on so but your work has taught me some things that others take for granted and I wanted to tell you. Yes, the plane ride seems to go much faster while reading, but I was surprised to learn that a book could make your eyes tear. Or that I would ever groan when I read that Red was hurt again and feel really bad about a rain storm that happened over 60 years ago. Guess I forgot a book can be better than a movie. (even if Gregory Peck plays the lead role) I won't keep you any longer but if you ever find yourself in the New Hope area, please be my guest for dinner at Moonlight. It would be very nice to meet you! Thank you very much, Andrew Abruzzese P.S. Moonlight will be reviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer this Sunday May 6. It's our first big one.
Andrew Abruzzese <>
Newtown, PA 18940 - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 21:32:06 (EDT)
Laura, I'm a manager of a B&N in New York City and we are featuring your wonderful book in our Discover Bay. Congratulations. It is a real hit with readers here. By the way have you ever read any of William Nack's writing about Secretariat? I'm thinking of "Pure Heart" written in 1990. It is a worthy comparison for you and for Seabiscuit. Again, congratulations of your achievement
Patrick <>
New York, NY USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 20:40:47 (EDT)
FROM THE AUTHOR: Like to hear and see more about Seabiscuit? PBS' Newshour with Jim Lehrer will be doing a lengthy feature on him on Friday, May 4. Check your local listings.
Laura Hillenbrand
USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 15:06:25 (EDT)
Ms. Hillenbrand - heard about your book on NPR then saw it on NY Times best seller list, bought it this weekend and couldn't put it down. A marvelous story, well told - Congratulations! Best Regards R. Scot Hunter
Scot Hunter <>
Corte Madera, CA USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 14:36:15 (EDT)
Dear Laura: As I gauge by the other comments in your guest book, I wasn't the only one who was deeply affected by "Seabiscuit: An American Legend". I previously had no interest in horse racing, but the blurb in the History Book Club flyer, followed by hearing your recent interview on NPR, led me to order the book. It arrived last week and I skimmed it quickly, thinking I'd put it on the shelf and come back to it when time allowed. By the next morning, however, I had become so intrigued with the excerpts I had read, I decided to read the book immediately. Given my schedule as an attorney, I wasn't able to read it cover-to-cover in a few days like some of your other readers, but I finally finished it last night, with more than a few tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I too feel like re-reading it immediately, but I'm going to give it to my wife first and one of my partners who owns some racehorses, so they too can enjoy it and "spread the word". I just hope the movie does justice to your book, which I think is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize or a National Book Award, at the very least. Perhaps the best thing, however, which your book has given me is an insight into the life of my maternal grandfather, Frank Neel, who was a horse trainer in Tijuana and later Agua Caliente from the late 1920's through the 1930's. His son, Jim, was introduced to jockeying by his father and, unfortunately, like too many of the jockeys you describe in the book, Jim came to a sad end dying well before his time, due to substance abuse, injuries and just plain "hard living". Your book has encouraged me to learn more about their lives in racing by contacting my Mother's last surviving brother who lives in Canada and interviwing him about what happened to my Mom's family during this period, which you so vividly brought to life. I came away with a profound respect for all "racetrackers", but particularly jockeys, who I had previously viewed only as "horse drivers". As you observed, they probably are, pound-for-pound, the finest athletes in sport with the toughest physical challenges. In closing, I'd like to thank you for writing this fine and noble "quadruple" biography about the greatest horse who ever lived and the men who brought him to that greatness. I would deem it a great privilege, if I could have my book inscribed and signed by you. Please let me know if this will be possible and where I may send my copy for you to sign. I don't know all of the details of your illness, but I will pray that, God willing, you recover. In deepest admiration, Stan Wolcott
Stan Wolcott <>
Costa Mesa, CA USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 14:08:50 (EDT)
I absolutely loves your book on Seabiscuit. I have always loved horses and have always loves the relationships that people can have with horses. I have also loved watching horses racing, and over the years, learning the different facets of life behind the scenes. Your book definitely helped fill in a lot of information about a life that most people don't know anything about. I didn't really know anything at all about Seabiscuit, and I'm really glad that you wrote about him to teach people about how amazing he really was, especially for his age, the amount of times he raced, and the weights he carried. I am curious on if you are thinking about getting another book published, or maybe a video made, with more photos of him, or of his races. The photos in the book were wonderful, but it only whetted my appetite about seeing more of him. If you did a video showing his races or workouts, or just being saddled, or whatever films were made of him at the time, it would be a wonderful sequel to the book. I would love to see his movement and his crooked leg kicking out for myself. Or, if you are not planning on any of the above, are there any existing videos showing Seabiscuit racing, etc? I can't wait for the movie to come out. That will help my curiosity, but I would really love to see the real horse himself, even though the films are old and black and white. Also, any plans for writing about any other horses? I will definitely read it.
Natasha Anderson <>
Carbondale, CO USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 13:27:46 (EDT)
I just bought the book last night and I already can't put it down. It's wonderful. I'm 17 and I've always dreamed of becoming a jockey. Unfortunately, I outgrew my dream about 5 years ago and I'm a towering 5'9" at 132 lbs. So now, I'm going to Santa Rosa to excersice and pony Thoroughbreds....the most mystical breed out there. I love your book.
Heather Karnatz <>
Mt. Shasta, CA USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 13:05:02 (EDT)
Dear Laura, A Great read. I had the pleasure to visit with Marcella Fenton (formerly "Howard") at her home in Pebble Beach, CA. in the late "60's. She had one room in which were dispayed photos of the Howard horses and, of course, many Seabiscuit momentoes as well as trophies. It was there that we had cocktails and talked about horse racing. It was the most beautiful room in the house. A lovely lady.
Jim Atkin <>
Charlottesville, VA USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 09:15:43 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I just finished your book and can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to me. You have taken a great story and made it legendary with your prose and detailed research. My father went to the track "under contract" at age thirteen in the late 1930's. Reading your book was like sitting around the table listening to his stories on track life all over again. My siblings and I grew up with tales of pranks pulled on newcomers sent on fruitless searches for "saddle stretchers" and the "key to the quarter pole." My sister and I even pulled the saddle stretcher routine on a neighborhood friend. You nailed the constant battle to lose weight accurately. My father and his jockey co-horts referred to the unpleasant task of forced vomiting as "tossing". They would fill-up on stew at the cook shack, go "toss" the meal and return for more. Today's bulimics have nothing on jockeys. My father never spoke of the harsher realities of the contract system other than to say he got his "butt kicked" every morning for smoking, and he didn't smoke. I am sending copies of the book to my younger brothers. I know it will help them to understand a father they never really knew. Thank you for rendering this era, it's people and magnificent horses with accuracy and so much heart. Seabiscuit's story would have been a maudlin mess in lesser hands. As I write this the Kentucky Derby is only 3 days away. I hope those who have read your book will watch the race, either for the first time, or with eyes newly opened and see the beauty, spirit, hard work, love, danger, excitement, sportsmanship and horsemanship that is horse racing. You have not only reminded the world of Seabiscuit's status among the great, you may have created racing fans who can see beyond the betting windows.
Linda Phillip <>
Pocatello, ID USA - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 05:33:26 (EDT)
I picked up your book in a Barnes and Noble store in Cocoa Beach, Florida, while on vacation. I remembered the reviews from the papers.I read it in two days and was sorry it was over. Congratulations on a fine achievement. I have been interested in horse racing for a long time. Can you recommend a magazine for someone interested in the sport? I notice the good business sense surrounding your work and am surprised there are no links from your site.
Richard Ranville <>
Flint, Mi USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 20:42:55 (EDT)
Laura, Thank you for the wonderful book.
Chris Adamski <>
USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 16:43:50 (EDT)
Laura, Thanks for writing such a great book! You captured the spirit of Sea Biscuit, Charles, Tom, Red and George with a touching style. Your thorough research brought them back to life. I'm looking forward to the movie.
Bob Kahl <>
Tucson, AZ USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 16:22:53 (EDT)
Dear Laura, What an amazing book you have written. I'm only on chapter 4 and I plan on experiencing the rest of the book like a fine wine...a sip at a time. I'm sure I will rue the coming of the last sip. It would be impossible for me to better express all the wonderful sentiments you have already recieved from your many estatic readers. Some of them very eloquent and touching - I had tears running down my cheeks just reading them - I'm sure I'll be a basket case by the time I finish your book! The connection between animals and humans is one of the truly great joys of life - we have 3 dogs and a wonderful thouroughbred related to "Foolish Pleasure" - "Dancing Pleasure" is his name. He never accomplished much on the racetrack, but he has brought more life and joy to my wife than I'm sure he realizes....I will be so looking forward to the movie, and if it has the wonderful touch of your book it will be a truly moving motion picture. The best kind. I have not seen many movies relating to horse racing, but one that stands out in my mind is a little known one called "Pharlap". It was wonderful and gave one a feel of racing in the earlier part of the century. If you haven't had the opportunity to see it, you might want to try. Thanks so much for giving us "Seabiscuit". I wish you nothing but the best in the future. Sincerely, oldgus.
Wayne Lynch <>
El Sobrante, CA USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 15:31:34 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: I was absolutely thrilled to hear about your book and just today bought many copies for all my family members. My mother, Mildred (Heppler) Colton Rogers, was George Woolf's first cousin. I have photos of George Woolf's grandparents, Martin Woolf and Rose Eltha Hyde Woolf, and their home(s) in Cardston, if you are interested. My mother has memories of George, and says he used to come over to their granparent's house in Cardston and ride horses with Mom and her sister, Enid. Mom rode "Brownie" and Enid rode "Blackie." Did you know that George's grandmother was a descendant of Anne Hyde, as is Queen Elizabeth II? This may be premature writing you, as I haven't even read the book yet. I just got my copy of the hard bound and also an audio version. I have read the article in Reader's Digest, and was spellbound. I could not resist the temptation to write you immediately, so forgive my not having waited until I was finished. I will be soon! Sincerely, Sally (Colton) Ruddy
Sally Ruddy <>
Waterford, CA USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 15:22:26 (EDT)
To the magnificent "seven" who had the patience to endure, the courage to resist, and the steadfastness to perserve--Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand, Tom Smith, Charles and Marcela Howard, Red Pollard and George Woolf---a lesson and tribute to coaching and life. John Deti football coach Laramie High School, Laramie, Wyoming.
john deti <>
laramie, wy USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 14:34:14 (EDT)
I just finished reading SEABISCUIT and I wanted to tell you how much I loved your fabulous portrayal of the glory days of racing, and the stories of the characters who came together to form the incredibly successful Team Seabiscuit. I have always been in love with horses and thoroughbred racing, but these days, the only horses that the media (at least the major TV/news outlets) pays attention to are those in contention for the triple crown races. Once a horse reaches his or her fourth birthday, they rarely receive any media coverage. What a shame that great older horses of today will go unnoticed. Thank you for a wonderful, inspirational story.
Diane Peterson
Wausau, WI USA - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 12:20:48 (EDT)
Dear Laura, I am smiling through my tears as I write this message. I bought your book two days ago hoping to enjoy it - if it's about horses I figured it couldn't go wrong - but I never expected such a completely overwhelming experience. The passion and lyricism and sheer beauty of this book made me laugh and cry...I was like George Woolf slowing down to taunt War Admiral in the homestretch, deliberately slowing down my reading so it wouldn't have to end! But it's over and I am so emotional I am just trying to catch my breath before picking it up to experience the magic again. Thank you and congratulations on producing such a beautiful story. Whoever produces the movie, please do NOT let them screw it up!
Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre <>
Nassau, NP Bahamas - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 11:13:31 (EDT)
Dear Laura, As soon as I finished your book, I read it again. Red Pollard and I had something in common....we both rode Seabiscuit. I grew up in the "tiny lumber village called Willits" and my parents took my brother and I to Ridgewood in the early 40's and Red Pollard put us up on Seabisbuit and let us ride around the corral. We were probably 5 & 6 at the time and were thrilled. I also saw Seabiscuit exhibited at the rodeo grounds during the July 4th Frontier Days celebration in Willits in the mid-40's. Is the statue of Seabiscuit that is at Santa Anita the same one that was at Ridgewood and could be seen from Highway 101? Congratulations on your wonderful book and the upcoming movie. Thank you for the pleasure of a wonderful read, and for bringing back many fond childhood memories. Sincerely, Bob Hellums
Robert Hellums <HELLUMS@AOL.COM>
Redding, CA USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 22:20:43 (EDT)
Heard about you CFS and wondered if you have tried any herbal options. If I have heard many testimonies from people who suffer as you do. If you are interested, I will be glad to help.
Nancy Lillie <>
Marathon, FL USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 21:22:38 (EDT)
Ms. Laura Hillenbrand, Your book on Seabiscuit was incredibly uplifting. My heart was racing as if I was at the track rooting Seabiscuit home.I was wondering if there is any way that I could get a 8X10 photo of Seabiscuit which I could purchase to hang in my office for inspiration. Being from Kentucky I have watched the Kentucky Derby since I can remember. Thank you for a truly moving book about a courageous horse and the great people around him.
John Jolley <>
Tulsa, OK USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 19:38:00 (EDT)
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, your mastry of suspense has me so keyed up that even though I've seen the name "Audax Minor" in your index -- the race writer who signed his pieces that way used to take me racing in the sixties when I worked at The New Yorker -- I refuse to peek ahead until I arrive at the mention of him in the narrative. Congratulations on a terrific book. We've all known about Seabiscuit for years and discovering through you his great story is such a joy. Yours sincerely, Virginia Allen
Virginia Allen <>
Chicago, IL USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 18:47:38 (EDT)
Laura:I read an article about you for the first time last night talking about CFS. My boyfriend has had CFS for 8 years, he has his own Sports Show - is only able to work 2 hrs - if it wasn't for his show he would give up. He has a doctor in CA that mention to him ECT,have you tried this - if not what medicine do you take . If you could suggest something I would be so grateful. Also Congratulation on SeaBiscuit. Janet
Janet Allred <Arkatect>
Covington, TN USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 17:06:30 (EDT)
Dear Mrs. Hillenbrand: I,too, was overcome with emotion and tears as so many of your readers experienced readying the story of Seabiscuit. Not only the excitement of the races, but the tenderness and love Tom Smith and Red Pollard had for their horse, and the consideration Marcella and Charles had for their team members and staff. Growing up in Pasadena, quite near Santa Anita, before the war, we neighborhood kids would walk to Santa Anita and run around the barns. After reading your breath-taking book I am amazed that we were not asked to leave. Those childhood memories will be with me forever as will the exceptional story you have written.
Joanne Anderson <>
Aptos, CA USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 16:36:16 (EDT)
Dear Laura: Thank you for a beautifully written book! Once started, I couldn't put it down. I've only had the book 2 days and I've already read Chapter 5 three times, it's really masterful. You give a grueling description of what jockeys went (go) through but you also give us a soaring description of the euphoria that a powerfully running horse grants to the rider - horse poetry - that makes all that suffering worthwhile. I've often thought that, for me, the supreme sports experience would have been to ride Secretariat in the Belmont but thanks to you I now have another - being George Woolf on Seabiscuit in the match race with War Admiral. Thank you
wayne christiansen <>
chapel hill, NC USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 16:06:01 (EDT)
Loved the book. A wonderful, nostalgic look at the horse and the times. Thank you for the supreme effort and time it took to research the story. I also am a FMS sufferer and empathize with your toil.
Fran Rolfsen <>
Elizabeth, CO USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 16:02:28 (EDT)
I didn't like your book. I loved it. I didn't read it. I inhaled it. Chapter 19 was one of the most exciting I have ever read in any genre. The rest of the book was merely remarkable. Either you, or your editors, or both, are exquisitely gifted. Thank you for writing Seabiscuit.
Jeffrey Rich <>
Morristown, NJ USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 15:48:13 (EDT)
hit me up with the latest rave info soon as you can. you site is killer.great job. peace out jas
jason <>
edwardsville, il USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 12:11:25 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thank you very much for giving us "Seabiscuit, An American Legend". It is a book of classic proportions and the most thoroughly documented work that I have seen since the late Truman Capote wrote "In Cold Blood". As an old racetracker, I enjoyed every line of it. You have captured the reality and spirit of the wonderfully complex world of thoroughbred racing. Peace to you and thanks again. Kelso Sturgeon, Henderson, NV
Kelso Sturgeon <>
Henderson, NV USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 11:15:42 (EDT)
I have only been to one horserace in my life and have only ridden a few times as a kid but I have always been fascinated by horses and racing in general. I watch races on tv and read a few books on them. Your book "Seabiscuit" made me feel as I was riding the bony legged creature during each race. The description of the 1938 Santa Anita race brought me to tears. I felt worn out after those pages. I felt I had ridden the horse the way you described it. I was actaually on a plane and we had a rough landing as I was finishing that part of the race. My wife saw the glistening in my eyes and thought it was the landing and I told her the race had been lost. I also laughed out loud at the antics of the horse and trainer. What a perfect pair. Thinking back to that time, to have the nation and the world love such a creature tells you a lot about Americans and how we pull for the underdog. I got this copy from the library but I will surely add it to my collection. Thanks again for a terrific book about a real American legend.
Kim Youngblood <>
Orlando, Fl USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2001 at 08:57:31 (EDT)
Dear Laura, Thank you for the marvelous book on Seabiscuit. One can hardly know in advance the full effect of one's diligent creative work on the lives of others, even extending to the animals they keep. And thrilled I am to know a movie will be forthcoming on which you personally have been a consultant. Just briefly to outline the effect of your book on one individual: The book, for me, was an instant (because I could not put it down until I had finished it ) course on horse racing as an entire sport (owner, trainer, jockey, horse, racing); it was a thrilling, riveting tale of the life of so wonderful an equine being that tears flooded, then outright laughter, then pensive musing, etc.(reminiscent somewhat of Strongheart, as painted by his keeper, J. Allen Boone in his book, Kinship with all Life); it made me (at age 54 with a somewhat tentative back) want to go forth, find a horse to know and love, find a way to bring it home with me and care for it and learn from it the rest of my days (along with my 7 cats and my incomparable dog); it had the effect of drenching me with information until I could only beg for more. You have produced a truly artistic work of great worth and merit (I feel I can use the word artistic because I am a musician and a photographer and I am aware of the liminal boundaries wherein "work" becomes "art" as conscious direction bows to the shaping of unconscious intuition). Any serious, productive, creative, artistic person reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend, at once knows how much intensive labor was demanded and how prodigious was the flame in you that inspired it. I am only disappointed that you have not written 20 other books already. I am now equally fascinated about Hastings, Fair Play, Man o' War, Fair Knightess and even all the various "little Biscuits." (Did Fair Knightess ever produce a little Biscuit?) One can only hope you do not take a long vacation from writing except to restore yourself. As I was reading your book I deeply felt that homo sapiens is at its most sublime when in tandem with animals. We are incomplete without them, although what we add to THEM is questionable--"they only know and they aren't talking." Wishing you the very best and thanking you so very much for the book. Dora Davis
Dora Davis <>
USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 16:22:58 (EDT)
Thank you for a wonderful racing novel just when the sport could use it the most. My family and I enjoyed every minute of your well written book. We would love to know if any racing video of Seabiscuit exist and is available to the public. Thanks again John
John Volkman <>
crowley, tx USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 15:07:25 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. As a horsewoman and avid rider, I was so pleased to read a well-researched book about horses and horse people. Looking forward to the movie. May it be as true to life as your wonderful book!
Janet Wassilak <>
Whitmore Lake, MI USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 14:27:09 (EDT)
Wow! what a great book. My husband and I read and loved it. We raise dressage horses. Our 4yo is a grand-daughter of Treasury Secretary.Extremely athletic. Reading a book by an obvious horse person makes it so much more enjoyable for those of us that have spent a lifetime in horses. We can't wait to see the movie. Keep up the great work.
Frances Keller <>
Chester Hts, Pa. USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 10:36:24 (EDT)
Dear Laura...I finished reading "Seabiscuit" less than ten minutes ago. What an outstanding book! When I was ten or eleven years old (1958 or 59) I received a board game for Christmas. It was a thoroughbred horse racing game where each player would choose one of the pre-named horses and then "race" each other. Progress and position was established based on the outcome of spinning a dial. I knew nothing about horse racing...although I did know that famous racehorses of the past, like Seabiscuit and Whirlaway, were among the horses which players could choose to "ride" in this game. I always "rode" Seabiscuit and I won..alot. Your book brought back those memories and it has helped me to develop an appreciation, not only for Seabiscuit and those people who were part of his life, but for the sport of thoroughbred racing. I can't wait for the movie. Regards, Chuck Robertson
Charles A. Robertson
USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 08:21:30 (EDT)
Laura, I own a black Thoroughbred mare that is the great, great grand daughter of Man O'War. The fact that she is related to Seabiscuit makes me love her all the more, thou she tends to have gotten the Man O'War / War Admiral dispositon. As a child I read, re-read, and memorized, "Come On Seabiscuit". As an adult, I would pull it out every so many years and read it again. When I saw the write up on your book I think I was probably the first in our county to put it on order. I took it on vacation with me and devoured every page. Finishing it on the plane flight, I found myself wiping tear after tear off my face. To cry over a horse dead some fifty years ago is not only a tribute to a wonderful horse with a huge heart, but to you as a writer. Thank you! I will drop everything to go see the movie when it is released, and when it eventually goes on video, I will play it for Seabiscuit's distant relative out in my barn... Thank you Laura.
Judy Neiberg <>
Holt, , MI USA - Monday, April 30, 2001 at 02:09:00 (EDT)
I remember accompanying my grandmother to horseraces at the Tijuana and Santa Anita tracks, among others. I was too young to really know the details of what was going on, but as your book filled in the gaps for me all the sights, sounds and smells, all the excitement of the events came back to me. Thank you for several wonderful hours, and for taking me back to days I had long forgotten. I can't wait for the movie!
Mike Burt <>
Cathlamet, WA USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 23:13:45 (EDT)
I have just begun to read your recount of the life and times of Seabiscuit. As a young girl I read the book, COME ON SEABISCUIT, and have never forgotten it. I am so excited to be able to reread this story in more depth as an adult. It makes me feel young again. Thank you, Laura for all the research you must have done to compile this great story.
SandraMcKinley <>
Chickamauga, GA USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 21:25:01 (EDT)
I am neither a horse or horse racing enthusiast; but list me in the "couldn't put it down" catagory. This is both an "underdog" and "come-back kid" story; if Hollywood does it right, it should compete for best picture. I hope the movie will adequately develop the three human characters and emphasize the War Admiral and "Hundred-Grander" race at the end. Another point: The radio interview with Pollard/Woolfe should make the script> but clean it up in such a way that the kids can come see this movie too. Gee, I wish I could write the screen-play for this movie! Laura, you deserve all the accolades. Not many people could have made this story into a best selling book. It is one of my favorite books in all my 30 years of reading.
Greg Gentry <>
Huntsville, AL USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 20:57:03 (EDT)
Your book is absolutely marvelous! I am on the committee of a fundraiser scheduled for Derby Day, May 5, and your book will be one of the treasured prizes offered. One of the events at the fundraiser will be a hat contest, and I was intrigued by your reference to "Seabiscuit hats" worn on 5th Avenue at the height of Seabiscuit's popularity. As a hatwearer of some local renown and a pretty fair amateur milliner (of necessity) I would love to contribute a "Seabiscuit hat" as one of the prizes. Could you provide a description or a source for a picture? Thanks!
Katrina Garner <>
Mount Vernon, Iowa USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 20:40:14 (EDT)
I'm just old enough to recall some of the great radio sports broadcasts of the late 30's that you evoke so well. When I taught courses on learning and motivation I often used as an example of classical conditioning an episode from a Dick Francis racing novel. The mystery was that a large number of otherwise ordinary nags suddenly began winning races with blinding bursts of speed in the home stretch. The denouement involved a gang of crooked gamblers who had conditioned these horses by pairing the sound of an ultrasonic dog whistle with an aversive stimulus. So, when the horse entered the home stretch someone in the stands would blow the whistle, whereupon the horse would uncork a Seabiscuit-like dash for the finish. Long odds, big profits. I don't know if the example is plausible, but I do know that if I were still teaching I would replace Francis' episode with your account on p. 201, where Tom Smith raises a buggy whip and flicks Seabiscuit's flanks just as he hits the bell. This is a lovely and true example of classical conditioning, and your characterization is right on: "By pairing the touch of the whip with the sound of the bell, Smith was teaching Seabiscuit to associate one with the other so that he would have the same reaction to the first as to the second: run." A+, Ms. Hillenbrand! Compliments on a wonderful book from James Allison, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington. And that dread question: What's your next project?
James Allison <>
Bloomington, IN USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 20:28:58 (EDT)
Hello Laura: I bet my father bet on Seabiscuit. He loved the races. You can bet you have a classic on your hands. One of the best books I have read in a long time. I can say you captured the true essence to love a horse and the horse to love you back. You provided lots of insight into the game of racing. One thing that I wondered about is the South Carolina stay. Aiken, SC is noted for their winter thoroughbreed traing grounds and have a museum for famous racing horses that trained there. It is only about 60 miles from Columbia. We have Arabian horses the foundation of a thoroughbreed. I hope the movie reflects the greatness of this story so well told. I will never forget it. Regina
Regina murphy Werry <>
Kenosee Lake, SK Canada - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 18:03:35 (EDT)
Just finished your book last night, after hearing your interview last weekend on a sports radio program. Terrific book. I find myself wanting to go see a horse in person for the first time.
Gary Graham <>
Vestal, NY USA - Sunday, April 29, 2001 at 17:59:09 (EDT)
Thank you for writing so beautifully the story of Seabiscuit. When I was a child, living in Saratoga Springs, I was surrounded by history and horse racing,and of all the great horses I learned about, Sebiscuit was the one I loved the most. I am glad,through your book, more people will know about him and realize what great spirit and heart he brought to horse racing.
Susan McCoy <>
Carthage, NY USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 18:14:32 (EDT)
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: You've produced an exemplary book through long sacrifice and hard work. You know how to tease with a sentence buried deep in a paragraph, and to bring the payoff chapters later. No one, having begun "Seabiscuit", could hope to put it down without finishing it. Like many readers, apparently, I heard you being interviewed by Bill Littlefield on "It's Only A Game" some Saturdays ago, and nearly drove off the road making sure to write your and your book's names down, and bought it the first chance I could, and then read it compulsively through to the end. You are a gift, and we readers all now love Seabiscuit, the horse, and you, who brought the Howards, the Pollards, Silent Tom Smith, and The Iceman to life after long years of rest. Congratulations. Yours, Joseph Sefter
Joseph Sefter <>
Marlborough, MA USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 12:26:32 (EDT)
Your story flies out of the starting gate and eats up the turf all the way to the finish. I can't remember being so engrossed and so affected by a story so well told. I hope the film version is wildly successful, but I for one will always come back to this book to read and reread this amazing story again and again. Congratulations on a truly fantastic accomplishment!
Jared Aswegan <>
New York, NY USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 12:23:49 (EDT)
I am nearly halfway through your book, having started it last night. I find your writing style to be incredibly beautiful and I can't put the book down. Your research is thorough and mostly accurate. I wanted to set the record straight, however, concerning Bluegrass Heights farm. The farm is still in existance today, and still run by Horace Davis, although it is now Horace Davis III, the grandson of the owner at that time. The farm may have been new at the time of your story, but it was not obscure. It was a boarding establishment where mares were sent to be bred to local stallions, and Mr. Davis had a few mares of his own, as it is now. As such, it had already been home to two derby winners, Black Gold, in 1924 and Burgoo King, in 1932. Few farms have had such luck in the years before or since. That luck may have been due to the fact that Mr. Davis was a skilled veteranian. The barn in which these two great horses were foaled still stands, as does the barn where Hard Tack stood stud. Granted, it doesn't share quite the reputation that Calumet or Claiborne had, but it was far from obscure in the 1930's.
Thirza Peevey
Versailles, KY USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 12:15:31 (EDT)
Thank you for writing this book. You have shown the world what it is to understand the heart of a horse.
daidayton <>
Bridgehampton, N.Y. USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 09:24:20 (EDT)
I heard the NPR interview on the way to a memorial service for a gifted young man who took his own life. Your communication of the brilliant life and energies assoicated with this story gave me a sense of connection with the life that I had lost. After the service I went directly and bought the book and read it and loved it. Coming out of the subway one morning after reading the War Admiral chapter on the way to work, I had the sense of seeing Sea Biscuit's features in the faces of the people who I passed in the street. You communicated a lot. Thank you so much for your book.
Dwight Eastman <>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 08:31:48 (EDT)
I read this on vacation. Wonderful book! I cried as I read all the racing parts. You bring depth to Seabiscuit personality that horse lovers know and other come to know through your words. I could not wait to get home to give my horse a huge hug to let him know I think he has a heart as big as Seabiscuit's! Thank you for this book.
Nell Carroll <>
Cedar Creek, TX USA - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 00:09:16 (EDT)