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Comments by Melissa Blair on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 04:34 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, Moments ago I finished reading your wonderful story of Seabiscuit and I had to immediately write to you and tell you how much I enjoyed it. Not often have I found a biographical account of events shaped in such a way that made me laugh out loud and pause in reading until my tears had stopped. You so should be so proud of yourself. What a wonderful job you have done. I am going to look to see if I have the Seabiscuit Breyer model from my childhood days, and if I don't, I'm going to buy it. I want to be able to look at it remember the wonderful horse, the people, and the love that surrounded them.
Erie, PA USA

Comments by Bob Huston on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 03:06 IP Logged
I finished your masterpiece,went to bed & dreamt all night long of all the races in living color!! Being born mostly deaf I even heard the hoofbeets and the crowds since you perfectly detailed the whole "era".Thanks for the pleasure.
hatboro, Pa USA

Comments by Toni Kanne on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 02:10 IP Logged
Laura, I am one of those people who have horses "in the blood". Your book on Seabiscuit was excellent! I enjoyed every page and eagerly await another book about another racehorse!. I was sad when I finished the book because it was over. Thanks for such a great piece of writing! Toni
Chesterfield, MO USA

Comments by Carol Ann on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 01:25 IP Logged
Dear Laura, What more can be said, it was a great book, written by a great writer. With every word l read l could feel the love you had for this wonderful story. I have told everyone who will listen to read this book. I work at Monmouth Park ( the resort of racing)and l truly believe we had the best meet in years because of the interest you brought back to horseracing. Thank you, molto grazie. Carol
Long Branch, NJ USA

Comments by Debbi Gillotti on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 00:35 IP Logged
Laura: I bought your book to read during a recent European business trip and cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. Your style of writing is outstanding and this is a truly wonderful story you have told. I really hope you recover from your health problems so that you can share your gift again and again with us. PS: While reading the text I kept visualizing the human characters in a movie version and thinking Tom Hanks would be marvelous as Tom Smith. If Hollywood can do half as good a job with the film as you have with the book it will be one terrific flick. Best of luck and will be waiting eagerly for your next project.
Mercer Island, WA USA

Comments by Bob Hutt on Friday, September 07, 2001 at 00:20 IP Logged
Dear Laura: We recently purchased a 2-year old race horse named Carey's Gold. He was neglected as a baby and was sold on the first bid as a yearling for the modest sum of $1,200. He was what best can be described as an "Ugly Duckling" and was picked on by all the other yearlings in the paddock. In any event, he was nursed back to health and became determined never to take any bullying from any other horse again. He became the alpha horse (leader) and has the scars to prove it. Well this handsome chestnut has matured and became a beautiful swan. He has the strange glint in his eye that he will not be beaten and a stubborn determination. He was purchased by us privately after his initial start in a claiming race. We entered him in the Florida Stallion Stakes and were laughed at. My lady friend presented me with your book to read. I did so on the plane on the way to Carey's first stake race and his date with destiny. The similarities between the immortal Seabiscuit and Carey are frightening, as are the cast of characters. To make a long story short, Carey easily won his division and came back 3 weeks later to win the second division as well. He is now perfect with a 3 for 3 record and is the only horse remaining that is capable of sweeping the Florida Stallion Stake Triple Crown. He next races on October 13th at Calder. If he is up to the challenge, he will be only the 6th horse in history to sweep the series. He must run faster and further than he ever has before in order to win the 1 1/16th $400,000 Stake. Your book, and the legend of Seabiscuit, is the inspiration for our dream. We believe in Carey as if he is the reincarnation of the great Seabiscuit himself. Life is about believing in ourselves to make all of our dreams a reality. I want you to know that Seabiscuit's story and your words have touched me in a way beyond comprehension. Thank you for your touching tribute to one of the greatest stories in American history.
Forked River, NJ USA

Comments by Aleata Evans on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 07:14 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I just couldn't put Seabiscuit down. What a wonderful book. I was so moved my the horse, the people and the events. You are truly a fantastic writer. Each race, each injury, each joy made me feel as though I was there. I could feel myself on Seabiscuit's back, feeling his mane snap across my face and his muscles unfurling under me. That sense of whispering in his ears as he thundered down the track was almost more than I could bear. You made "Pops" come alive. Thank you so very much. My best to you.
Chicago, IL USA

Comments by Bob Saigh on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 07:05 IP Logged
Terrific story, wonderful pacing, thorough research - an altogether great ride. In subsequent editions, please correct the initial, last-name-only reference to War Admiral's trainer, "Conway," on p. 152. Obviously, there was a slip in final editing, which a publisher as experienced as Random House certainly should have caught. There are a few nagging typos, too, but they didn't jar me the way the "Conway" flub did. Also, War Admiral's story ended abruptly after the match race with Seabiscuit. I think a few lines on how he lived out his days and what his place is in horse racing's pantheon are deserved. Finally, I think some observations on thoroughbred owning, breeding, training and racing, then and now, would be a valuable addition. It's inevitable that readers will make comparisons between the Biscuit and War Admiral and contemporary greats like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Alydar and even this year's star horse, Point Given. All things being equal, how might they have fared? Of course it's speculation that never will be answered, but some reasonable conclusions might emerge, with no diminishment to the reputations of these fine animals or the sport they graced. Good luck, and thanks again.
Hinsdale, IL USA

Comments by Eric R. Giers on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 03:16 IP Logged
Dear Ms.Laura, Your story about the "biscuit" is an awesome read! I for one, have never been that attracted to horses or horse books. Your book was reccommended to me by my stepmother and I will thank her and yourself for this insight into life at that time. I must also add, that with your talent if you do not immediatly write more books, you are a kook! And the rest of the world will be a sadder place because of it. Seriously, you are one talented, gifted writer, and I would consider it an honor to meet you someday or even just to see you... God Bless! A new Fan! :-) Eric
Fairfield, CT USA

Comments by Jonathan Davis on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 02:05 IP Logged
Dear Laura: Thank you for “Seabiscuit: An American Legend.” You sure know how to tell a story! It brings to life a terrific story and fascinating slice of Americana for seasoned racing fans and novices alike. Your wonderful book filled in a few blanks on some family history, as well. In 1996, by virtue of the fact that I was (a) alive and (b) interested in and involved somewhat with thoroughbred racing and breeding activities, it was my privilege to be invited by the Hall of Fame to represent Sun Beau at his induction as the Horse of Yesteryear for '96. Of course, it was Sun Beau's money mark that Seabiscuit succeeded in topping. My late Great Aunt, Jane Kilmer Ellison, was the widow of W.S. Kilmer, Sun Beau's owner, and she gets either the credit of the blame for gotting me hooked on racehorses at a very early age. I'm a bit too young to have been there for either Sun Beau's or Seabiscuit's heydays, and all the relatives who were are gone from the scene. Besides, they never could have told the story the way you did! Best wishes and best of luck——Jon Davis
Binghamton, NY USA

Comments by Dan on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 01:08 IP Logged
Thank you for an absolutely wonderful book.

Comments by Robert I. Mann, M.A., M.F.T. on Thursday, September 06, 2001 at 00:11 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Thank you for a most memorable experience, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have driven past Santa Anita many times and received invitations for free race days from the track, but I have never gone. I have never been to a horse race in all my fifty years, nor had much interest in horses (or history). But none of that mattered as I read this book. I took it with me wherever I went. I found myself so captivated by the lives of the people and the animals that I was thankful when a client was late or postponed giving me the opportunity to finish another chapter or read about another race. As a family therapist who has a keen interest in people's stories I have to say that reading this book has been an inspiring, instructive experience confirming many of my deepest beliefs about life, struggle, character, and soul. Thank you for all your efforts, skill, and talent in writing this book. The friends that recommended your book invited my wife and me to join them at Santa Anita this fall, and I am certain we will be attending. With Sincere Respect and Appreciation, Robert I. Mann, M.A., M.F.T.
South Pasadena, CA USA

Comments by Karen Dorsey on Wednesday, September 05, 2001 at 02:55 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Thank you so much for the wonderful book. Your book was chosen by my woman's book club which has been meeting for 19 years (we thought of it before Oprah). I'm not a big fan of horseracing, but I am an animal lover and I have fallen in love with Seabiscuit. I became teary-eyed when reading, "He led his horse up the ramp and disappeared into the darkness. A moment later, he emerged alone." Your book made me feel as if I was at Santa Anita, cheering Seabiscuit on. I had heard of Man O' War and some of the other great horses and now I can add Seabiscuit to that list. My book club meets this Monday and I'm sure it will be a wonderful discussion. Thank you for the great ride, I can't wait for the movie.

Comments by Jeff Brown on Wednesday, September 05, 2001 at 00:35 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your wondeful book. I have been wracking my memory and I cannot recall any book in my life that I enjoyed as much as Seabiscuit. I have been reading mostly non-fiction lately (my previous book was "South" by Sir Earnest Shackleton) and your book is so expertly written that it is like reading a novel. I was most impressed by both your writing style and the enormous amount of research that went into it. I found that I was charged with adrenalin while reading the entire book. I found myself in high emotion - I laughed out loud many times and my eyes filled with tears at the end. I don't think any book has drawn that kind of emotion from me. I heard a late-night radio interview with you on WEEI in Boston and it gave me the feeling that this was a very special story. I bought the book at an airport store and read it in my spare time aboard an oceanographic research ship. I work as a marine biologist. You may know that a seabiscuit is a sand dollar-like animal (Clypeaster rosaleus is a species common to Florida). They don't move very fast and would be quite boring in a race. We were in the Gulf of Mexico at the time and I was hoping to find a seabiscuit shell but found only the normal sand dollar while diving. I did see some in a souvenir store. Oddly enough, the other book I read on the ship was "Zarafa" the story of the strange jorney of France's first-ever giraffe, who became nearly as famous as Seabiscuit and in her own right, a national icon and sensation. Also, while spending the night in a hotel before our cruise I watched a History Channel segment on Jumbo the elephant, the celebrated star of the London Zoo and P.T. Barnum's circus. Our word "jumbo" comes from his name and not the other way around. He was probably the most famous animal that ever lived and certainly was in his day. I found the parallels in these three stories fascinating and coincindentally timely for me. I had been familiar with the story of Jumbo from an excellent article in Smithsonian magazine in the 80's. ( I will try to locate it and send it to you if you will tell me how to contact you. I think you would find it as fascinating as I did. I am a fan of thoroughbread racing, but that had little to do in prompting me to read your book. My favorite film of all time happens to be "The Black Stallion." After reading your book, I could not help but think Walter Farley the author of the children's book the movie is adapted from, based some of the book on Seabiscuits story. "The Black Stallion" was first published in 1941. The movie even mentions George Woolf. I cannot wait to see the Seabiscuit movie, of course, and I wish you much success in helping to adapt the book. I would also love to see films of Seabiscuit's races. Do you know if they are available on video? My single criticism of the book is that there is no inclusion of a table chronicling Seabiscuit's racing record. Laura, you took me back to a time that I know little about (I'm 49) and painted a picture of some extaordinary characters and a most extaordinary horse. It was magical! I felt transported on the back of a horse and was rooting for him with all those people of the 30's. Perhaps my parents were among them. They're gone now but I wish I could ask them if they remembered Seabiscuit. My father was a horseman, so I'm sure he did. All I have left to say, is thank you so much for the ride. It was wonderful and I'll do it again after the book is returned to me. I have three people in line waiting to read it. My friend who was a groom at Belmont Park as a teenage girl is reading it now. When I do get it back, would you sign it if I sent it? Thank you!
Boothbay, ME USA

Comments by Susan McIntosh on Wednesday, September 05, 2001 at 00:33 IP Logged
As a former racehorse owner and breeder and growing up being able to recite all the winners of the Kentucky Derby since Regret...and an avid reader and student of pedigree and history of the Thoroughbred...There are no words to express my admiration of the job you have done in presenting Seabiscuit to the 21st century. I absolutely could not put this book down...and I have not felt this way about a book...any a long time! Well done!!
Voorhees, NJ USA

Comments by Lindy Woodhead on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 08:37 IP Logged
Dear Ms Hillenbrand, Firstly, may I say how much I loved your book. Fun, clever, exciting, well researched. All in all, quite brilliant. I too am an author. I am completing a biography to be published in the first instance here in England by Virago (a division of Little,Brown) lat 2002. U.S. sales will hopefully follow. My book, tracing the life and times of Miss Elizabeth Arden and Madame Rubinstein and their remarkable achievement in creating the modern, luxury beauty business, is titled WAR PAINT. In the course of my three years of research I have been lucky enough to have been gifted over 30 years of Miss Arden's private correspondence. In these fascinating letters she makes lots of reference to her horses, to "Silent" Tom Smith and to his son Jimmy. I noted from SEABISCUIT that you are consulting on the film. It would give me great pleasure to make my correspondence available to you in relation to "Silent" if it would be of help and assistance. He trained for Arden (Mrs Graham) three times. Firstly, between 1945 - 1948 and of course won the Derby for her with JET PILOT, again a couple of years later, and once more in the fifties before he died. His son also worked for her. So, I would enjoy hearing from you and at any event, may I say if my own biography is half as successful as yours in hitting the right spot in 20th century social history then I will be a happy writer. P.S. Phyllis at Keeneland is a star I might add, the library there has been awesomely helpful. Best regards, Lindy Woodhead
London, England

Comments by Lily G. Casura on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 02:38 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I came across an article about you on CNN tonight when I was doing some late night article research for something I'm writing. I can't wait to pick up the book. I wanted to let you know, as a fellow journalist and ex-chronic fatiguer, that I have written a book (journalism, not autobiography! :-) about natural medicine and chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It's called "Gentle Medicine: Treating Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Successfully with Natural Medicine," and is available from and from Amazon. It's been getting great reviews, and it's specifically intended to be for people who are really serious about figuring out what they can do to get better. It doesn't push any one approach, but takes a good look at everything that is likely to have potential. I do not miss the bad old days with chronic fatigue at all; I can relate that vertigo and losing short term memory and ability to be articulate (so key to a writer) were some of the very worst aspects of it. I will keep you on my heart--I am thoroughly impressed that you did such a fabulous job WHILE you were sick. Good for you! I hope only the best comes out of this for you. Sincerely, Lily G. Casura
Bellevue, WA USA

Comments by Don Holifield on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 01:43 IP Logged
Absolutly incredible I can't remember a book that I sat town and read cover to cover as this one truly a remarkable literary work. I saw your interview on Good Morning America and you are to be admired for this accomlishment and over coming your disability!!!! Regards, Don Holifield
Houston , Tx USA

Comments by Ed Snyder on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 01:28 IP Logged
Thank you, thank you for a truly superb and poignant book. I am not a racing fan as such but this book lived for me. The wealth of detail is truly outstanding. I had heard about it but the article on you in the Washington Post piqued my interest. What if I had missed it!
Bethesda, MD USA

Comments by Ann Keenan on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 00:19 IP Logged
My sister gave me your book and said that I must read it. I told her I had heard about it and had seen you on TV talking about it - but I wasn't really into horses. She said it didn't matter if I was in to horses or not and was so insistent that I read it! Well, I read it in a day - I couldn't put it down. I now tell everyone that they must read your book. It was so wonderfully written - I could go on and on. Thank you for writing it - hopefully you'll write another book someday.
Minneapolis, MN USA

Comments by Naomi Singer on Monday, September 03, 2001 at 09:48 IP Logged
I read your book from cover to cover in one setting because I couldn't put it down. What a wonderful story. Being a school administrator, I am always looking for a story that that takes me away from my everyday work. This is the best book I have read in a long time. Thank you!
Petoskey, MI USA

Comments by Bill Jackson on Monday, September 03, 2001 at 08:13 IP Logged
Laura, I just finished reading the book. Outstanding! I loved every page and will probably read it again. I am an avid thoroughbred fan and live in Louisville, KY, home to The Kentucky Derby. I have heard about and read about other great champions, but Seabiscuit tops them all. It is about time that everyone knows the real Seabiscuit. This book has solidified my existing admiration for thoroughbred racing and has instilled in me a lifelong interest in these fine creatures. My curiosity has now been peaked in the history of the sport, much, of which you have shown me in your book. I love the book and the web site. One day before I die I would love to visit Santa Anita Racetrack and lay my eyes on the bronze statue of Seabiscuit that Charles Howard placed there. Thanks again! Go Biscuit! Bill Jackson Louisville, KY
Louisville, KY USA

Comments by Crystal Weber on Monday, September 03, 2001 at 02:29 IP Logged
Laura, I have always been a life long fan of horse racing, but it has waned as I've gotten older (If you can call 39 older). I've been a lifelong fan of Man O War and have read everything I could on him. I became a avid race watcher when Secretariat was racing. I always thought that the greatest was Man O War with Secretariat a close second. I see now that his grandson Seabiscuit is as great if not greater than him. Wouldn't that have been something to see the three of them in a race together? With your wonderful writing of this book you have once again peaked my interest in the horse racing world. Thank you for the wonderful book. I bought the book in an airport gift shop and you kept me entertained and fasinated for the whole trip. It is great to once again read about one of the greatest horses of the century. How about the same type of book for Secretariat and Man O War? Thanks Again for the great read!!!
Edwall, WA USA

Comments by Glenn Miller on Monday, September 03, 2001 at 00:24 IP Logged
Laura, I first saw the article you wrote in American Heritage, that got my interest. I became intriqued with the most unlikely kind of horse being such an extraordinary and quirky champion. As I read your book and your description of Sea Biscuit and the people around him, I felt an intimate connection into that world. Now I'm interested in everything about horseracing, and also interested in any other book concerning unusual horses and their personalities. I came across a piece of artwork that I've owned for several years. It's an etching of an unusual looking horse, knowing soemtyhing about the artist, it's likely it was done in the '30's. I would like to believe it's a portrait of Sea Biscuit. Although I have no way of proving this. I lived for a long period in New Orleans, and had the opprtunity to attend the Universwity of New Orleans, where I took courses with Steven Ambrose. Steven has helped me find information about my father's involvement in WWII. I definately think Steven was right in the things he said endorsing your book. Congratulations, Yours, Glenn Miller
Ocean Springs, MS USA

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