Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Written by Laura Hillenbrand, this non-fiction work reads like a novel. Telling the story of the great racehorse of the '30s and '40s that took a nation's attention momentarily from the Great Depression, the book rollicks along. It also spells out the details of Seabiscuit's owner, Charles Howard; trainer, Tom Smith; and top jockey, Red Pollard. These men form an unlikely partnership around a bandy-legged horse and made him a household name; so much so that in 1938 Seabiscuit was the biggest newsmaker in America, receiving more coverage than such public figures as Franklin Roosevelt and Adolph Hitler. It also tells of the brutality that was horse racing in those days.

I chose to read the Special Illustrated Collector's Edition; released with nearly 150 images the author chose. The photos bring a by-gone world into focus and really emphasize the storyline. Get your hands on that edition if you can.

Laura Hillenbrand later wrote Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I have read this biography of Louis Zamperini; it is mesmerizing. Zamperini was an Olympic track star who signed up when the US entered World War II. He survived a plane crash in the Pacific theater and spent a month and a half drifting on a raft only to drift into enemy hands. He then survived nearly three years of brutality in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. Both of Hillenbrand's non-fiction works are well researched and well written and worth the reading.

No comments: