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Comments by richard rosenblatt on Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 01:01 IP Logged
Dear Laura: It might be said of Charles Dickens or Mark Twain that they had the capacity to see life bigger than it is and ten times as natural. There is in your work that quality. As a child in the Burlingame of the 1950's my favorite among the books in my father's library had a red pigskin cover on which embossed in gold was "Seabiscuit." Published in 1940 it was filled with photographs of glamorous people and memorable events that could as easily have been at home in Life Magazine. Charles S. Howard's testimonial to Seabiscuit's greatness -"courage, honesty and physical prowess...intelligence and understanding almost spiritual in quality" - was compelling. Beckwith's writing was engaging. Yet in your telling the story takes us far beyond the news accounts and popular culture which are a part of it. Charles and Tom and Red, and all of the others, are present in your writing - ten times as natural. As we travel with them through times of triumph and despair, of adversity and of uncommon courage, it is the human condition that we come to know better through your words. By any measure you have given us work of such excellence that it is timeless.

Comments by Sara J. Cullum on Sunday, June 03, 2001 at 00:05 IP Logged
I always enjoy reading horse books.I am the proud owner of a equine rescue farm here in Alabama.Would love to read the book when I can found it.Name of my rescue farm is: S.A.G.E. Rescue Farm Love horse ,save all god`s equines! Sara
Dozier, AL United States

Comments by mary finch kay on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 09:26 IP Logged
Dear Laura I loved your bok about Seabiscuit. I grew up with parents who went to Belmont and Aqueduct and watched racing on TV with my Dad esp the triple crown races. I have always loved horses and their indominable spirit. The only thing I would have liked to see in your book was a geneological tree of Seabiscuits heritage and line! Hope you continue this type of work and can tell us more about this fascinating part of our American Heritage. Best of luck congrats for wonderful work. Mary

Comments by El Ingles on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 08:53 IP Logged
Thank you, Ms. Hillenbrand, for writing this book.
Bilbao, Spain

Comments by Gillian van Muyden on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 08:45 IP Logged
Laura: I couldn't put the book down. Can't wait for the movie. You've inspired me to research my own horse's pedigree which includes what I believe/hope are "little buscuit" mares. I've racked the internet looking for pedigree information on a t.b. mare, "Sea Food", 4 generations back from my (1980) gelding, 1940's? Also, her daughter, "4-Ps Seabiscuit Mare" (3 gens back), and her daughter "4-Ps Sea Queen." I cannot determine if these are actually Seabiscuit progeny. Do you know? It would be great to actually have a Seabiscuit descendant!
Shadow Hills, CA USA

Comments by Betsy Binder on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 08:21 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, What an amazing book! I have been a horsewoman all of my life. My sons and daughter too. One son works at Warner Bros., has his training license and lives in Arcadia. I pass Santa Anita several times a week when I am there visiting. I will never drive casually by the track again for I will always hear the "crowd" screaming for Seabiscuit. What a great horse! What a great story! What a great writer! Congratulations! Betsy Binder
Pittsburgh, Pa USA

Comments by garland gibbs on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 07:01 IP Logged
Ms. Hillenbrand, What a fantastic book. It is really a love story.
luray , va USA

Comments by Joe Gero on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 04:19 IP Logged
Laura: Thank you for a great book, look foward to the movie. As a horse lover and horseback rider, I felt in the way you wrote I was riding SEABISCUIT in his great races. Thanks again, look foward to more of your books.
Rockaway, NJ USA

Comments by Susan Smith on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 04:17 IP Logged
Loved the book - cannot wait for the movie.
Nassau, Bahamas

Comments by Keith Hillenbrand on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 03:47 IP Logged
dear Laura, I was watching the late news when i saw my last name. Hillenbrand is not the most common name, so i looked up your book on the n.y. best sellers list. Can not wait to read about old seabiscuit. You and i look the same, it's the eyebrows we could be brother and sister. Good luck with the book i am pulling for my name sake..Keith
south riding, va USA

Comments by K. Miller on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 03:47 IP Logged
Phenomenal. Many thanks for so beautifully rendering the story of such an amazing creature and those who loved him.
Oakland, CA USA

Comments by Sandra M. Seip on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 01:17 IP Logged
When I heard your interview on NPR I was fascinated and intrigued to read your book. Thank you for providing such a personal history of Seabiscuit and the people involved in helping to make him an American Legend. Your portrayal of the personalities of the principals, including Seabiscuit, made their history come to life. Again, thank you for a wonderfully written book.
Pittsburgh, PA USA

Comments by Jim Kerr on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 01:04 IP Logged
Laura, Congratulations on a wonderful book from a fellow writer and Kenyon classmate from the class of '89! You deserve all the praise in the world for this work, clearly written from your heart. You've inspired me to get off my ass and finally make the jump from weekly columns to attempting a non-fiction book. Hopefully I'll be able to put as much heart in my topic as you so clearly have in yours. All the best, Jim Kerr Kenyon College '89
Dallas, TX USA

Comments by Frank Swan on Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 00:39 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand, I have read at least 15-20 books on thoroughbred racing including all of the major books on Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Cigar, Nijinsky II, Hyperion, etc. Your book was easily the BEST. It was exquisitely researched and reported and as someone who greatly appreciates such efforts, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. In conclusion, if you are looking for a subject for a next book, please consider writing a book on the life and progeny of what I consider to be the most overlooked champion of the last half of the 20th century - Nijinsky II. This was essentially a North American horse that did its racing in Europe but also stood at stud in the USA. I'm sure you know the subject better than I. Thanks again, Frank Swan
Knoxville, TN USA

Comments by Terry Carpenter on Friday, June 01, 2001 at 09:49 IP Logged
Laura, Great read. Great story. Great Horse. Thoroughbred Racing needed your book. It also needs another Seabiscuit. Thanks.
Ashburn, VA USA

Comments by Nancy Anne Wakeman on Friday, June 01, 2001 at 07:36 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I have already left you a message, and I do not know if you answer your own correspondance or not. I am interested in finding Charles Howard lll, and his wife, so I can get their approval to have them in my biography "Stick with me and you'll be wearing Diamonds." If they have an E-Mail, please try and take the time to see that I get it.I can't put Seabiscuit down eventhough I have already read it.There are so many things in the book that I am familiar with, and people too. Dave butler was one of my fathers best friends. My family owned the BAM Stables, here in Northern CA. my Dad is Sam Basin and Joe Alioto was one of his partners, in BAM Stables. Our home turf is Bay Meadows. I know how busy you must be with the movie, but I do hope you have time to answer some of these messages. Thank You for your generosity in advance. Nancy Anne Wakeman
Petaluma, CA USA

Comments by sbp on Friday, June 01, 2001 at 05:15 IP Logged
This is the most wonderful book I have read in a long time. I usually begin reading another book as soon as I finish one, but it's been two weeks since I finished Seabiscuit and I just can't bring myself to start reading anything else right now. I was so moved by Seabiscuit's story, and I'm still relishing it. Like many other postings here, I cried several times during the book. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Someone on an earlier post asked if tapes of his races were available. An audio of the race with War Admiral is available at, and the Santa Anita Handicap of 1940 can be heard on Also on is a reprint of Grantland Rice's sports article written after the race with War Admiral. Thanks again for the fabulous book!

Comments by michael J. Campana on Friday, June 01, 2001 at 04:22 IP Logged
"Seabisquit" is a wonderful story wonderfully written! I am reading the book slowly because I don't want it to end! Actually, I am riding my two horses more often now that I am reading the book! I hope you write another book on any subject! Mike Campana Freedom New York 14065
Freedom, ny USA

Comments by don on Friday, June 01, 2001 at 03:55 IP Logged
great book but odd cover. who selected that picture? weird.

Comments by Nancy Anne Wakeman on Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 08:17 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I am writing a biography about my childhood in Woodside, Charles Howard lll, was a close friend. I have been trying to get hold of Chuck do you have his address? My biography is actually about my childhood combined with manic depressive illness. I hope it sells well as I too know about Bay Meadows, and Willits, Chuck took me there when I was young. I was an au pair for Chipper and Janis Howard the great grandchildren of Chares Howard. I am sorry I have rambled on about myself, but I am excited also. Your book is my favorite book of all time, I can't leave it alone. Seabiscuit will live forever.
Petaluma, Ca. USA

Comments by Jani on Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 05:48 IP Logged
May 31, 2001 - NOTE TO READERS: If you have any comments on this subject send them to the email address below. Laura, on your book, "Seabiscuit", I have this to say: "The total of this story adds up to far more than the sum of all the parts." I started out to write you a brief message and congratulate you on one of the greatest books ever written, and you can see the "brief" part didn't work! Your wonderfully written book did not end for me, because I started in middle, went to front, skipped around the reference pages, so it wouldn't end! I knew it was a treasure as soon as I touched the cover, then read the first lines. Later, my husband and I listened to the tapes. Now I am also reading it from front cover to back cover, with a bookmark different from all the other ones I have inserted for reference! The horse Tick Tock, on pg. 18, is one I rode when he was at Ridgewood, not knowing then that he was a racetrack pony. He was a handful sometimes, and bucked me off soundly one time when I was about age 10, knocking me out and painfully injuring my ankle, while we girls were riding way out in the hills just coming back from an all-day ride. Didn't ever know if he got a bee or maybe a burr under his saddle blanket, or was just being Tick Tock! Your riveting, descriptive, passionate story shows that you did endless research, interviews, contacts and connections, outline, and structure to assemble this in such a perfect fashion; so readable, so engrossing, so memorable, so riveting and so gracefully blending the years and the events, weaving it into this classic story that deservedly tops the best-seller lists everywhere! You have created a masterpiece of a human-interest story of the people involved, starring a horse with a human soul and mind. We certainly appreciate your extreme efforts and courage and persistence in pursuing your story in spite of your disabling health condition, and we wish you all the success in the future with both your writing and your improving health. Being a fellow writer, I can really appreciate your accomplishments! You have done a real service to the racetrack world, restoring the vivid images of what racing was like at one time. Racing is still exciting, anytime, anywhere, any kind of racetrack, but we needed to get the interest of the world again, and you may have done it with your book! Your book on Seabiscuit told me things about the Howards and Seabiscuit and Ridgewood that I didn't know before now, even though I grew up on Ridgewood Ranch in the 40's. I was very young when we went to Ridgewood, and loved all the great horses there, but did not know this much about their great accomplishments and popularity then. The Seabiscuit I knew was a kind old brown horse who slept under the oak tree a lot, and came over to the fence to visit us once in a while. He loved to roll in the dirt, which is a cleansing and cooling act for a horse, and the grooms had a hard time keeping him clean of dust and presentable for his public. The many tourists who came there to see him used to exclaim over this great horse, and talk about his great races, referring to events that happened about the time I was born. Some even asked us if this ordinary looking horse was really The Biscuit! Mr. Howard rode him, and I wondered how such a great racehorse could also be such a nice saddle horse, since most of the horses I had seen from the track were really excitable. By contrast, Kayak and Ajax and Sabu and Mioland, and the others would show off for the visitors, prancing and rearing and putting on a show. I did not know the FULL details of the story of Seabiscuit from way back, until I became immersed in your wonderful book! When we left Ridgewood in 1950, (which, by the way, I thought was the end of the world!) we went to Pleasanton, California, to train horses at the wonderful Pleasanton racetrack. I then became acquainted with the exciting racetrack world of the 1950's. In parting, Mr. Howard had given my Dad a classy well-bred broodmare named Sag Rock, who was in foal to Sabu, along with a promised breed-back to Sabu. The first colt we had from that mare, born black and turned a silvery grey, named Sabu Rock, was an impressive racehorse, and won his first start by many, and set track records. My Dad trained him, and I spent all the time I could at the barn with Dad, also "training"! So when he won, we were all really a part of the success. What a great experience that was for us! Thank you to the friend who sent me this early birthday gift of the Seabiscuit book and the audio tapes! She was the first friend I made after leaving Ridgewood and moving to Pleasanton, California, a week before school started, as a newcomer on my first day of high school! That was a few years ago! And after seeing this book, and checking out this Website, the other wonderful thing to happen is that I saw an Email from one of the girls who lived at Ridgewood the same time as I did, requesting information on my whereabouts after all these years. I began to compose an Email to her, became impatient, and called her instead, surprising my friend Laverne with a voice from the past! We have not seen each other for 50 years, and not corresponded for about 25 or 30 years. After initial hellos, we began to reminisce, and the stories poured out! We agreed that Ridgewood was indeed a paradise to grow up in! And that she, her sister, and I must get together and get re-acquainted and go over the Ridgewood days. We all remember each other as young; I imagine there have been a few changes in our lives and in our appearance! But the bond still remains between we three having that wonderful adventure of living at Howard's Ridgewood Ranch in the 1940's. My husband and I still have many friends and lots of family in Mendocino County, and in Willits, and go back to visit several times a year, to July 4th Frontier Days, class reunions, and other gatherings. I have never gone back into Ridgewood Ranch again since leaving 51 years ago because I wanted to remember it like it was when we left. As we drive past, I always look past Big Rock Candy Mountain down into that valley, and can see where we lived, how the trees have grown, and remember the wonderful life there. Friends have urged me to go see it again, and perhaps it is time now to do that. Laura, I, like many others, would enjoy corresponding with you and sharing some other thoughts on Ridgewood and Seabiscuit and mementos of that era. If you have time for such stuff, please contact me by Email for more direct contact information. Sincerely, Jani Email: Nevada, USA

Comments by dan vogel on Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 04:18 IP Logged
Beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you so much for writing it. Get well soon.

Comments by Lisa Marshall on Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 03:21 IP Logged
Dear Laura: Your telling of the life and times of Seabiscuit and the people who surrounded him is a treasure. An avid horse lover like so many young girls, I had a brief time in the early 1970s during college when I owned a race track "recycle" that I called Seaside. I don't remember his reg. name or tattoo, but he broke his maiden at Ak-Sar-Ben track in May of I think 1970 or 1971. I showed him in some local hunter classes but had to sell him after a couple of years. After that I lost track of him. Your book mesmerized me to the point that I gasped out loud on the bus to work yesterday as I was reading the section on the match race with War Admiral. I had to get off at my stop and run up to my desk to find out who won. I finished the book on the bus ride home yesterday, wiping away tears, hoping no one noticed, and then immediately drove to the home of a good friend who I rode with years ago. She is reading it now. If the movie is done right (and how often does that happen?) it will be wonderful. I'm crossing my fingers that the director finds the heart of the story the way you did.

Comments by Danice Kern on Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 02:27 IP Logged
Dear Laura, I was moved to read Seabiscuit after hearing your interview with Scott Simon on NPR. Just an hour ago, I finished reading the book, on the train home from work. A hard-bitten journalist myself, I am almost ashamed to say, I cried. What struck me was the passion--and the way this passion was communicated in the unlikely fortunes of four men and a horse. Yet, there is one question. Why, on the front cover, is Seabiscuit half-hidden? The photo is unquestionably evocative. But it seems sad to me that the athlete whose name is a metaphor for unbridled spirit is almost an after-thought in this photo Thank you, never-the-less, for a wonderful story.
Chicago, IL USA

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