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Comments by Caroline C. Duck on Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 01:35 IP Logged
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.
Oakland, CA USA

Comments by Marlene Swartz on Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 01:07 IP Logged
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
Brooklyn, NY USA

Comments by Katie K on Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 00:17 IP Logged
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!:)
USA

Comments by Shawn Fivecoat on Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 00:14 IP Logged
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
Memphis, Tn USA

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 08:15 IP Logged
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, ESPN.com 3:00 eastern, Washingtonpost.com 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!
USA

Comments by James Noel on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 07:46 IP Logged
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
Frederick, MD USA

Comments by patty magoun on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 06:40 IP Logged
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?
scottsdale, az USA

Comments by Pat Sharpe on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 06:20 IP Logged
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!!!
Chantilly, VA USA

Comments by Mary Ellen Kosman on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 06:03 IP Logged
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!
Highland Park, IL USA

Comments by Ann on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 04:22 IP Logged
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

Comments by Susan Hopkins on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 03:12 IP Logged
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?"
Elizabeth, CO USA

Comments by Teresa LaBorde on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 03:09 IP Logged
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
Newport Beach, ca USA

Comments by denise a. potts on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 02:29 IP Logged
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.
USA

Comments by Cindy Vincent on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 02:10 IP Logged
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.
Dallas, TX USA

Comments by Chuck Korr on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 02:08 IP Logged
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.
USA

Comments by Keith on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 01:11 IP Logged
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.
Forrest City, AR USA

Comments by Kevin Smith on Friday, May 04, 2001 at 01:02 IP Logged
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.
Ocean Grove, NJ USA

Comments by Jim Atkin on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 09:15 IP Logged
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.
Charlottesville, VA USA

Comments by Linda Phillip on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 05:33 IP Logged
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.
Pocatello, ID USA

Comments by Laura Hillenbrand on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 05:06 IP Logged
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.
USA

Comments by Scot Hunter on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 04:36 IP Logged
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
Corte Madera, CA USA

Comments by Stan Wolcott on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 04:08 IP Logged
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
Costa Mesa, CA USA

Comments by Natasha Anderson on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 03:27 IP Logged
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.
Carbondale, CO USA

Comments by Kathi Lott on Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 03:14 IP Logged
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.
Seattle, WA USA

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