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Comments by Carleen O'Brien on Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 07:10 IP Logged
I am not very knowledgeable about thoroughbred racing and was born after the era you write about, so I am ashamed to admit that Seabiscuit to me was only the vaguely familiar name of "a racehorse from the past". Were it not for your painstaking research and compelling writing, I know I and countless others would never have known this remarkable story. And that would have been a great loss. I was halfway through the book on September 11 when I had to leave l939 and watch in horror the events of that day. I thought I had no more tears left to cry , but the last 2 chapters in your book brought them on again today. Thanks for sharing the amazing Seabiscuit story.
Needham, MA USA

Comments by Colleen Jones on Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 06:59 IP Logged
Your book was absolutely great! My husband and I raced thoroughbreds for ten + years. I truly believed that you captured the essence of the race track "society". We do not race any longer and we both truly miss the atmosphere. My husband read your book this summer and I must tell you that is the first book I have ever seen him read in the twenty years I have known him. Colleen Jones
Houston, TX USA

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 05:33 IP Logged
FROM THE AUTHOR: A couple of readers have asked about whether or not Seabiscuit was "declared to win" in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, meaning that if Kayak and Seabiscuit were both ahead of all other horses and Kayak turned out to have more gas in the tank, Kayak could be restrained to allow Seabiscuit to win. This was legal because the horses, under common ownership, were running as a single betting interest. It is true that Charles Howard declared Seabiscuit to win, but it turned out to be unnecessary: Seabiscuit repelled Kayak easily. According to public and private statements made by Buddy Haas, Kayak's jockey, Kayak was running flat-out to beat Seabiscuit, but could not. Seabiscuit, as he was wont to do, was loafing at the wire. I did not include the story in the book because it turned out to be a moot point. Mentioning it would have necessitated long passages of explanation about an issue that was only academic, and doing so in a part of the book in which Seabiscuit's accomplishment deserved the full focus of the narrative.
USA

Comments by Howard S. Dattan on Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 04:36 IP Logged
I was there when Seabiscuit beat Kayak II at the Handicap, and my recollection, and a pretty strong recollection at that, is that Seabiscuit was declared to win. You don't mention this in your book, and I wonder if you left it out simply to be more dramatic about Seabiscuit's win? On the other hand, I could be mistaken. What do your records show on this? A wonderful book! Howard S. Dattan (Age: 81)
Carlsbad, CA USA

Comments by Nancy Holbert on Saturday, September 15, 2001 at 06:45 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have just finished reading your book and am in tears. Seabiscuit was such a great horse. I own a TB off the track who is 14 years old and reading about Seabiscuit gives me a some idea of what she went through as a racehorse. But the book is so good I not only fell in love with Seabiscuit I fell for Red, George, Howard & Marcella and Tom. They all became real to me when reading your book. I also learned something of what jockeys go through even though they have it better nowadays. I always felt jockeys were one of the greatest athletes and now I'm convinced. Thank you for writing this book and I hope you will profile other equines. I look forward to the movie based on this book, also. Nancy Holbert - Chinese Camp California
Chinese Camp, CA USA

Comments by Debbie Adatto Ishida on Saturday, September 15, 2001 at 02:25 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I am still reading Seabiscuit, but I had to stop and tell you personally how reading this book has affected me and consequently, my students. This summer, I decided to do a few things for myself. I have been consumed by my job aand raising 2 children with a lot of activities. I started to go to the gym to work out which I haven't done since the 80's. As I was on the treadmill, with my headphones, listening to CNN, I happened upon your interview. I was fascinated!!! Since our high school just started a 20 min. a day sustained silent reading time, I knew I foung my book!! I haven't read a good book in years! I bought Seabiscuit and the 2nd day of school, showed my class how excited I was about my new book! Now I'm a Spanish teacher, but I just started talking about this "caballo muy famoso". My students seem more enthusiastic about reading because they see how pumped up I am about this book!! I'm telling everyone about it! My daughter's friend who manages jockeys is, I just found out a consultant for the movie. I can't wait till it comes out! I only live 45 minutes east of Santa Anita race track and I am mesmerized by the horseraces!( I just don't have too much time to make it out there) Thanks so much for reawakining the joy of reading again! You have affected over 170 students, since Seabiscuit stands proudly at my desk!! Sincerely, Debbie Isida
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca USA

Comments by Bob Freschi on Friday, September 14, 2001 at 09:56 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I read your magnificent book while on vacation. I enjoyed it so much that I spread out the reading each day. It made every day of the vacation a wonderful experience! I was especially impressed with the way you were able to capture America as it was during that era and also the most incredible way you brought all of the individuals to life. It was virtually like you had been there with them. I've been a huge racing fan since 1970. I also was involved as an owner in most of the 1970s & 80s. We had our own version of Seabuscuit named Talking Lake. We claimed him at Phil. Park for $3,500 and he came right back to win his next race for $8,000. He went on to win many more races for us including several Allowances, Starter Handicaps, and high priced claimers. When infirmities started to affect him, we retired him and gave him to his groom who adored him. As you might expect, my all time favorite was Secretariat. I saw his maiden win, his Belmont, and many other wins (and 2 of his losses also). I also had the privilage of visiting Claiborne Farm shortly after he was retired. I was able to take some great pictures of him, and I have one with me standing next to Big Red & his groom. I am eagerly awaiting the movie. Please make sure those "Hollywood Types" don't ruin your book! The story is so wonderful, it doesn't need anything extra! My prayers are with you and others suffering from CFS. Sincerely, Bob Freschi Mahwah, N.J. rfreschi@worldnet.att.net
Mahwah, NJ USA

Comments by Brian Coonan on Friday, September 14, 2001 at 06:29 IP Logged
A Brilliant book.It's is great to read a book about Horse Racing that is written by someone who knows the sport.We dream of a horse that defies the odds and wins.Particularly after the terrible attacks on Tuesday. we need stories like these.Last Saturday,my wife and I went to Leopardstown Racetrack in Ireland to see Fantastic Light and Galileo(2 of the top notch horses in Europe) race against each other.It was a game race with Fantastic Light beating Galileo.I went hoping to witness a clash of titans,In spite of the race,I found your book more atmospheric and tension packed than the real thing!!Thanks a lot.I'll tell everyone about this book.p.s. I would like you to autograph the cover of my book,Is this possible?.p.s.2 "Horse sense is what stops horses from betting on Humans".maybe in these crazy times we need some Horse Sense
Ireland

Comments by Laura Brickman on Friday, September 14, 2001 at 03:49 IP Logged
I finished the book last night and I could not stop crying. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Thank you so much for this story!
Tonka Bay, MN USA

Comments by Candy Dwyer on Friday, September 14, 2001 at 00:06 IP Logged
I finished the book last night. I cried. Both my daughter and I ride, and truly love horses. I felt the emptiness that I am sure Charles Howard felt when he buried Seabiscuit. I have recommended the book to everyone I know because it was just wonderful. Thank you so much for giving us this wonderful story.
Charlotte, NC USA

Comments by John E. Jaeckle on Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 05:28 IP Logged
Ms Laura: Nov.1,1938 I was 15 and I remember Seabiscuit.Brother Walter worked in Clinton Cty IA because he loved horses.His was farm horses! I've had CFS since 2-22-1969 Found answers mid 2000.How can I get info to you?
Anaheim Hills, CA USA

Comments by Helen Glazer on Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 01:54 IP Logged
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, Our book club chose your book as our selection for this month. We met at my house and I was in charge of leading the discussion since it was my choice. I am old enough, 76, to remember Seabiscuit or at least to have heard of him. Not so the other members of the group, all a generation younger than I, including my daughter, Rachel. Our younger daughter, Rebecca, was a freshman the year you were a sophmore. Thanks to the alumni magazine, I had much information to share with the group and they were delighted to learn of your own story. We talked about the book for over an hour, something of a record. Rachel lived in East Glacier and went to Babb as a speech therapist for the schools there. She said there are Woolfs living there and she thinks they must be related to the Iceman. Of course everyone was pleased with the choice of the book, even Charles Fusilier who objected to the selection as not being "serious enoughl," but you won him over. His wife, Marilyn was so excited by the accounts of the races that she said her heart would pound as she read about each race and she would find herself thinking, "Come on, Seabiscuit". Laura Bennett, M. D., took the interview I had printed out from beliefnet as she has patients with CFS. Of course we all praised your exhaustive research, your clear and eloquent writing style and your determination to complete this project. The night before the meeting I dreamed that I met Megan Macomber and said, "I loved Seabiscuit and I'm so glad you told Laura that she is a writer." I love Kenyon, too, and cried the day Rebecca was graduated as I thought I'd never have reason to return to that beautiful campus again. I did return, though, on my way back from Missouri to Maryland. I went into the book store and loaded up on Mary Engelbreit cards. I divide my time between Maryland and Montana. Here at St. Leo's at daily mass we offer our prayers aloud at the prayer of the faithful. Today I am going to pray, "In thanksgiving for the life of Laura Hillenbrand, and for her return to health." We all look forward to your next book. Helen Glazer
Lewistown, MT USA

Comments by Len Blumenthal on Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 01:41 IP Logged
dear laura, thanks for the good read. the "biscuit" and i grow up together in in the middle thirties and following his career was fun....but now that career as become crystalized. my hope is that universal doesn't brow beat you into making a "shirley temple" sequel from your fine research. they do so want to assuage the 13 year olds. looking forward to the shows premier and any other works you prepare. y seguro servidor, len
Meadowbrook, PA USA

Comments by Ben Clifford on Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 01:17 IP Logged
Dear Ms Hillenbrand As we all know, racing is all about challenge, guts, determination and above all the almost certainty that your efforts will yield few rewards. It is all about the love of the sport. When you say during the finale of your wonderful story that as long as people felt anything towards racing Santa Anita would remain, my thoughts went out to all those owners who continue to feed this most wonderful dream. The dream which you recounted was lived out by only a few but the dream is lived everyday by the rest of us. As long as the likes of the characters you so beautifully described still exist, the dream will live on. I cried with joy. I cried with excitement. I cried with elation. I cried with sadness. I just cried. Your work I hope will keep the dream of our beautiful sport alive. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time in America but my most heartfelt congratulations go out to you on a piece of wonder. Thank you Ms Hillenbrand.
London, UK

Comments by Tim Entry on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 04:59 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Throughout my reading of Seabiscuit, I was completely enthralled by the style in which you wrote it as well as how you were able to piece together the backgrounds of the various characters. It is rare that one can get a picture of another person's life from beginning to end. It seems similar to viewing the earth from the vastness of outerspace. Your writing was profound in describing the synergistic effect of man, trainer, owner, and horse. Specifically, I thought it was eloquent when you described how Seabiscuit, through the training and riding of men, was abel to win a race he could not otherwise have won on his own. In the same vein, you remarkable how you detailed how man and horse borrowed something from the other that each desperately desired. But more than this, I saw the hand of God in the lives of the main charachters, because each received a second chance. God has given you a great talent and orchestrated things in your life just as He did in your subjects. Thank you for your work and your book.
Vail, AZ USA

Comments by Anchen Texer on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 02:41 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Never have I been so impressed by a book. This is definitely one of the few books I would recommend to anyone for a good read, no matter their preference for horses. I am blown away the way you intermingle the facts in such a way that makes them fit perfectly, making every paragraph refreshing and full. I couldn’t read this book at one go because it was simply too full of information – sights, sounds, nuances that needed to be mulled over, considered for their entire content. When I was reading the book, I could hardly tear myself away for my regular duties (not an uncommon experience, yet the feeling was so strong for this one!). I am so happy that there is finally a new book out that is worth the time to read, much less the time it took to write it. I am grateful there are still truly gifted writers who show everyone else the way writing should be. Thank you, and everyone that helped you, for your remarkable book, on a subject I would never have considered reading about. For a long time to come, I will hold all other books up to the standard of yours. Sincerely, Anchen Texter
Eugene, OR USA

Comments by M. Bermann on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 00:23 IP Logged
Simply outstanding writing; deft and powerful without any mawkishness. I hope the author does not limit her talents to horses.
Pittsburgh, PA USA

Comments by Barbara Diskin on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 09:54 IP Logged
I am not a fan of horseracing and read the book only because my college-age son insisted that I would love it. I couldn't put it down, falling hopelessly in love with Seabiscuit and all the main characters in the book. You provided a unique insight into a sport about which I knew very little. I have chosen "Seabiscuit, An American Legend" as my pick for our couples book club. We will meet in mid-November to discuss it. You have an open invitation to join us and share your wealth of information about this legendary horse. Thanks again for a super read!
Alexandria, VA USA

Comments by Judy Cowling on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 08:51 IP Logged
Stayed up late into the night finishing your incredible book...thank you for telling such an inspiring story in such an exciting way. You had me on the edge of my seat the entire story. I am 41 years old and the story was a bit ahead of my time. Again, thank you for telling such a poignant story of heroes, dedication, heart, perserverance, triumphs, and love. You are quite a storyteller...and now Seabiscuit will live on through me.
Va.Beach, VA USA

Comments by Emilie Severin on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 07:45 IP Logged
709 North Cherry Street Alpine, Texas 79830 September 10, 2001 Dear Laura Hillenbrand, Your magnificent SEABISCUIT needs no more encomiums even if I could write one to do it justice. It puts you in the first rank of non-fiction writers, perhaps at the very top of the list. I congratulate you for a magnificent achievement and I thank you for giving me a rich and rare reading experience. I was eight years old when Seabiscuit beat War Admiral and a few years later given a book with full page portraits of the great horses of that quarter century. So the mere title of your book gave me pleasure and revived memories of my horse-crazy childhood playing jockey on our cowponies. You must have spent some time horseback and probably bareback; otherwise, how could you write with such empathy about the wondrous ways of horses? Yours is the first book I've ever read straight through and immediately read straight through again. Now I've read it a third time without loss of excitement and again moved to tears at its most moving parts. Yet you never descended into sentimentality. Even your "acknowledgments" was - is - a delight. Thank you again and again. Sincerely yours, Emilie B. Severin
USA

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 03:36 IP Logged
FROM THE AUTHOR: Please join me in praying for all the people who died and were injured today in New York, Pennsylvania, and here in Washington.
Washington, DC USA

Comments by Sally Harned on Monday, September 10, 2001 at 09:20 IP Logged
Thank you so much for a thoroughly entertaining story. I don't know if I can add anything that hasn't already been said, but his story really touched me, and I can't wait for the movie. Thanks again. Sally Harned
Cape May Court House, nj USA

Comments by Karen McLain on Monday, September 10, 2001 at 08:22 IP Logged
What a wonderful book! If you would like to write a children's version, I would love to illustrate it! I ask everyone I talk to if they have read the book, and if they haven't they will soon. My vet told me about it, and I've told my freinds at the stable. I would love to see some of the original footage of the races. Thanks for a great book!
Tempe, AZ USA

Comments by Dan M. Cliffe on Monday, September 10, 2001 at 07:09 IP Logged
I enjoyed the book as much as anything I have ever read. I found myself sharing several parts of the story with my wife, even shen she was reading anotehr book. The way you humanized Seabiscuit pulled me into his story and captivated me, even though I was not a racing fan at that time. Now I am a big fan. Understanding these magnificent creatures and having an understanding of their competitive drive has been a very pleasant awakening for me. Keep up the good work.
New Orleans, LA United States of America

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