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Comments by Peter Glass on Tuesday, December 25, 2001 at 07:27 IP Logged
I've trained and raced trotters and pacers for over 20 years. I never really had an interest in the runners since Affirmed and Steve Cauthen passed. However, I was given your book as a gift and bored one day began to read it. I couldn't put it down. What a wonderful story it was to read.
Hurley, NY USA

Comments by Anne Conlon on Tuesday, December 25, 2001 at 01:43 IP Logged
What a wonderful gift I received today when I opened 'Seabiscuit an American Legend. I lost in a fire, a book called Come on Seabiscuit. I don't remember the author but I do remember the wonderful story of such a courageous little horse that beat the odds to become one of last centuries biggest champions. I have yet to dive in but I know I will be lost for a while and will truly enjoy this treasure I have back again. Thanks for bringing him to life again.
Blind River, Ont Canada

Comments by Walter G. Gunn M.D. on Monday, December 24, 2001 at 09:35 IP Logged
Dear Laura, Today I finished reading Seabiscuit and found myself deeply moved both by the story and by your writing. It was hard to hold back tears when I read the last paragraph in the section on Acknowledgments at the end of the book. Those words capsulized a superb story. Some papers called Seabiscuit "The Hard Luck Horse of the Turf." In the 1930's I was a small boy, and my father was in charge of the jockeys' colors and later of the jockeys room at Santa Anita and the other California race tracks. He would take me to work with him from time to time, especially on days of stakes races. So I got to see the jockeys, valets, and other personnel often and up close. I was at the track in 1938, the day that Stagehand nipped the 'Biscuit' by a nose at the wire. We rejoiced at the victory over War Admiral and Seabiscuit's win at the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap. My uncle was Webb Everett, then racing secretary and handicapper at Santa Anita, and in later years my cousin Jack Meyers became racing secretary at Santa Anita (I didn't realize then it was Webb who set the weights.) My younger brother developed tuberculosis at age 6. Our family had few resources (it was 1936,) but a foundation stepped forward to underwrite our expenses for his hospitalization at a sanitorium in Belmont, California. He stayed there over a year, and his illness was cured. I'll bet you can guess who set up that foundation and hospital. Right the first time! It was Charles S. Howard. Sincerely, Walter G. Gunn M.D.
Bigfork, MT USA

Comments by Bruce Altman on Monday, December 24, 2001 at 04:41 IP Logged
I buy more books than I read theses days, and I haven't bought any this year. Until, that is, I heard you interviewed on the Diane Rehm Show just a couple of weeks ago now, I guess. Within two days I told my sister not to buy any books because she was getting this one for Christmas, I bought it, I didn't break the spine, and hopefully it's under their tree on the other side of the country at this moment. Now to the important stuff: I have Gene Hackman down for Tom Smith. He can frown for three hours straight; but he also has a great smile, so if he smiles only once in this story, it's definitely a high impact smile. I want Brad Pitt or Matt Damon for George Wolff, whoever's available -- they're a toss-up here, but Damon has his eyes, even looks a lot like him. Marisa Tomei is my Marcella. Katy Jorado (Will Kane's "old girlfriend" in "High Noon") was who I first identified with Marcella in the reading -- if they have to make up back story for Marcella, Katy could be the older female relative). Charles Howard role is where casting director's earn the big bucks. I falter here, since I think there are some great character actor's who ought not to be skipped over for this who I can't readily name. It seems unsatisfactory and unfair to take an Alec Baldwin and get him a little fatter and a little balder. Trouble is, he could probably do a terriffic job as a little balder and fatter. There must be lots of actors who could do this well. Nicholas Cage. Not exactly my favorite actor personally, and probably a few inches taller then Red in real life, but he is of the same physical type, he seems to have almost the same disposition going for him, plus -- you're only 39 once, no matter what Jack Benny said. He would be great in this role. He would get an Oscar in this role, if Gene Hackman didn't beat him out of it first. How about it? A Seabiscuit motion picture casting contest, the reader's picks...
Cape May, NJ USA

Comments by Hayek on Sunday, December 23, 2001 at 04:50 IP Logged
found your story at : http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/3206/ After suffering 20 years of cfs myself, found the cure by accident & internet. Want to share & help others with their ordeal. Feel free to mail me. Regards, Hayek.
Belgium

Comments by Jeanne King on Sunday, December 23, 2001 at 03:17 IP Logged
This is Jeanne King writing again. Congratulations on "Seabiscuit's" being named one of the best books of the year in "The Economist". I have had wonderful emails from some of your readers. One of your readers sent me an email about growing up on Ridgewood Ranch and has offered to send me pictures of Ridgewood Ranch in the 1940's to share with my students. Another reader sent me his own copy of the book, to make sure I had enough copies to read with my students. Just recently, I had an email from a reader who had some of Seabiscuit' s races on VHS tape. I am sharing this all with my students. Thanks again from my Willits High School English students and thanks for the involvement of your readers.Jeanne
Willits, CA USA

Comments by Paul Wagman on Sunday, December 23, 2001 at 02:01 IP Logged
Congratulations is far too mild a word for what you deserve for your amazing triumph of reporting and writing. As a former newspaper reporter, I think I have some appreciation for the depth and breadth of you research. That you could then take all that information and write the dramatic, exuberant book you did is really remarkable. David Halberstam, for one, doesn't deserve to bring you your slippers. I also want to tell you that I heard you respond in a radio interview to the question, why did you write this book (given your CFS), by saying, "Because I felt it was how I could dignify my presence on this planet." I think that's the pithiest and most inspiring explanation of human ambition and endeavor I've ever heard. Thank you for enriching my life. Good luck to you always, Ms. Hillenbrand.
St. Louis, Mo USA

Comments by Richard Cowan on Saturday, December 22, 2001 at 04:35 IP Logged
Congratulations on great research and a great story. My one criticism is that, if only as an appendix, I would have have really liked to have seen Daily Racing Form charts for key races and an overall past performance history.
Toronto, O Canada

Comments by Marty on Saturday, December 22, 2001 at 02:51 IP Logged
Being a horse trainer here in La. I thought oh well another horse,but much to my delight was I surprise to read a book of such knowledge on horses and racing.I felt as I was one of the grooms in Seabiscuits entourage.Rarelencounter books with such accurate information on the subject that is being written Grade? Well of course,AA+ and then some. Marty Gary
Carencro, La. USA

Comments by Ray Smecker on Saturday, December 22, 2001 at 02:09 IP Logged
Dear Laura Hillenbrand, ...thought you would enjoy this email from us... ...We just started to read the first 3 chapters of Megan’s Christmas Gift Book, SEABISCUT An American Legend. The book is touted as a true story by the author Laura Hillenbrand. In Chapter 2 she quotes Tom Smith, his legendary trainer, “It’s easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language, ‘ he also said, “Horses stay the same from the daythey are born until they die...They are only changed by the way people treat them”..He lived by a single maxim: “Learn your horse,you can often work wonders with an otherwise intractable beast. ...We are enjoying the book and we can attest to the truth in it...the wisdom parallel's that of St. Francis... ...Last night we had our Amish/Catholic Christmas party...it was a real clash of cultures with our Christmas decorations, 3D glasses to look at the Christmas tree, 3 videos, including “Frosty the Snowman”...and the Disney Favorite, “Justin Morgan Had a Horse,”....the party lasted till 12PM and then we all went out to the barn to see our Morgan Ladies, Ginger and Lady, and of course the “Girl’s”...our sheep.... ...”What’s that hanging on the wall, Ray, “ asked Danny, the oldest son, ...”A baby monitor, we turn it on at night...to listen to the animals...just in case the “Lancaster Pyromaniac" who is torching local barns pays us a visit...” ...”So what good is that?,” He shot back? ...”Ginger will alert me of the intruder and I’ll hear her, the speaker is in my room and I can hear her talk," ...They all looked at me in amazement...and Danny looked and smiled, “Animals can’t talk...” ...Then I remembered Tom Smith’s famous line, “its easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language”...and I know Ginger's language, and she’ll warn me of an intruder...and I’ll hear the warning on the monitor and come to her rescue...if you learn your horse you can work wonders with the intractable beast...”... The party is over, the Christmas Spirit is flowing, and all the Animals in God’s local kingdom and all of us humans are waiting for His Birth on Christmas morning... In the Spirit of Christmas... Peace from Amishland Ray and Megan Smecker What a great piece of writing...
Churchtown, Pa USA

Comments by Herb & Lisa Gould on Saturday, December 22, 2001 at 00:46 IP Logged
Dear Ms. Hillenbrand: Neither my husband or myself knew the first thing about hourse racing when we received your book as a Birthday present. We both read your book which was not only interesting but very informative. We couldn't put it down. It keep our interest from start to finish. We went on a cruise and had to take the book with us. Absolutly great!
Hawthorne, ca USA

Comments by brohier on Friday, December 21, 2001 at 05:49 IP Logged
Thank you very much for your book ! A french breeder. http://perso.libertysurf.fr/jbrohier
rennes, FRANCE

Comments by Jim Purgerson on Friday, December 21, 2001 at 05:17 IP Logged
Laura, Just a note to add my congratulations and thanks for a wonderful book. I've been following horseracing for 35 years, and it has given me so many great memories with some super people. You certainly captured the excitement and passion of the sport. Oh to have been at Pimlico that day! Outstanding story and so well written! I felt like I really knew Charles, Tom, Red and George, and of course The Biscuit, and I was rooting for each of them all the way. Thank you again for a wonderful gift. Jim Purgerson Ashland, Kentucky
Ashland, KY USA

Comments by Christy Cummings on Friday, December 21, 2001 at 04:12 IP Logged
Hi, Laura. I've heard so much about you from Laurie Prinz and Christel and the others -- but they never mentioned your sense of humor, which was so delightful in The Book. For a lifelong racing fan, it was just such a special treat to read. I remember at 12 years old stopping three quarters of the way through the Black Stallion's Filly and starting over just so I didn't have to come to the end of it, and I felt the same way about Seabiscuit. One question: what small, knobby kneed little guy with an attitude did they get to simulate the 'Biscuit in the film?
Gaithersburg, MD USA

Comments by Vincent Black on Friday, December 21, 2001 at 03:44 IP Logged
Laura-- I heard your interview on public radio and was intrigued. Though not a race fan, I found your book an outstanding study. My prayers and those of thousands of others are for your speedy and complete recovery. God bless you.
Mansfield, OH USA

Comments by Michelle Fowler on Friday, December 21, 2001 at 01:45 IP Logged
Just finished the book and had to add my praises to the others. A wonderful book that has renewed my passion for horse racing. Hope the movie and a new book are due out soon. Thanks again, Michelle Fowler
Phoenix, AZ USA

Comments by Angelique Tompkins on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 at 04:06 IP Logged
Dear Mrs. Hillenbrand, I work as a Resourse Aide at Willts High School with Mrs. King. We are reading your book in class and I wanted you to know how much we are enjoying reading it. I live on the upper part of what use to be the Howard ranch. When I bought my property there was only two other houses in the area. Cows would graze any where they wanted, even in my front yard! They would start by scratching them selves on my fence, but soon they would have pushed it over and were munching down on my prized roses! The white deer come up in the sping to have their babies and I know that Howard is the one that introduced them to the area. There are quite alot of herds of them these days. I have been to the ranch many times and I wish that your book showed the ranch when the Howard's owned it. The cross that was put on the north hill which I think was put there for Frank Howard is still there, though some one keeps having to reset it after heavy winds. The kids in our class were not happy at reading the book at first. Lots of whining, but as we got into it a surprising thing happened they grew to really like it. It was really nice to read about some local history and it's very interesting. I thank you for writing this very good book. Again thank you. Angelique Tompkins.
Willits, Ca. USA

Comments by Dick Phillips on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 at 03:18 IP Logged
I was born in 1938 and was recently diagnosed with ALS. Thank heaven I found your book before it was too late. Now I know that 1938 was the Year of Seabiscuit. Thank you for this truly great book.
Seattle, WA USA

Comments by Harry Kelly on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 at 02:35 IP Logged
Laura, What a great job you did in opening our eyes to this truly American legend. It's obvious that you dug deep into the soul of the horse and everyone involved. At this time our country could use another Seabiscut but it's hard to believe another horse could surpass his feats. I hope the movie does justice to your great book.
Keller, TX USA

Comments by rowan scarborough on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 at 01:44 IP Logged
Laura, I cover the Pentagon for a living, but for relaxation II spend my weekends at Laurel Park. After reading your best seller, I went to the Laural replay center and watched a film of the great match race at Pimlico more than 60 years ago. The race was just as you described it. And seeing Tom Smith and George Wolfe and the whole Seabiscuit cast was so much more entertaining after I got to know them through your book. And you know, the tight-turn Pimlico oval still looks the same today, vice the street cars. your book has made great christmas presents. Congratulations
cheverly, md USA

Comments by Barry Iorillo on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 at 09:49 IP Logged
Dear Laura,I would like to thank you a thousand times over.What a fabulous job of research to put together a very touching tale of the lives of a truly remarkable racehorse and the men who loved him.I first read an excerpt from the book in a magazine about 3 months before your book was released.Needless to say, I couldn't wait for it to reach the bookstores.I really only like reading true stories and biographies and this one is without a doubt my all time favorite.If it wasn't for you bringing this story to life to generations who had no idea who Seabiscuit was,then it would have been a shame that the story of his life and those around him would have been forgotten.I was very touched by this moving story and the passion you put into it.With all of the ego's and attitudes in today's sporting and celebrity world, it was truly refreshing to read about how Tom Smith and Red Pollard gave of themselves to truly care for and nurture the well being of Seabiscuit.I truly wish that I could see the great match race with War Admiral.If you ever make a copy of the footage you obtained at the auction either on CD or VHS,I would gladly pay you for a copy if you made it available. I hope the movie follows the book to a tee,and does well when it is released.Once again I thank you and wish you well in future endeavors.I am 43 years old.
Toms River, NJ USA

Comments by Charles Parton on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 at 09:36 IP Logged
Laura, I too graduated from Kenyon but it was 1948! Being that old I was a Seabiscuit fan and rememberd Clem McCarthy's voice over the radio. I was not a horseman (I was on the Kenyon riding team) but I sure remember his and War Admiral's races. As I was waiting for transfer to the Pacific in '45 we were put up in the stables at Tanforan. I had thought it was owned by Crosby- maybe I was bunked in his stable too. You're wonderful and a great credit to the school on the hill. Charlie
Edgartown, MA USA

Comments by Gene Wehrheim on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 at 02:22 IP Logged
Thank you for perhaps the best book I've ever read, and I have read hundreds of them. We have a gentlemen in his mid-eighties who lives near us. He was a friend of Roy Rogers and kept Trigger in his barn many times. He was a jockey, trainer, and searched for Poncho Villa's gold. I believe he was one of the founders of the AQHA. A great book could be written on him. When he is gone a link between the past (when horses were used for everything) and the present will gone. You have a great style for writing. I hope the movie can do the book justice.
Solon, IA USA

Comments by Dan Shields on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 at 02:03 IP Logged
Dear Ms Hillenbrand: My father was an addicted $2 bettor all of his life. He truly loved horseracing and would regale me with the great stories. He had his heroes -Seabiscuit and the "Iceman" were two. Thank you for this riveting story that brought both the period and my father back to me. I will look forward to the movie.
King George, VA USA

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