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Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of a Horse and a Man Who Changed the World (Englisch) Gebundenes Buch – 1. Februar 2005

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An inspirational tale that was nearly buried beneath the detritus of time (namely floods and fires), Beautiful Jim Key recalls the remarkable life of a remarkable horse at the turn of the previous century. Revered not for his speed on the track, Beautiful Jim Key was instead a cerebral celebrity who electrified fairgoers from St. Louis to Boston with apparent feats of mathematics, reading, and writing, even making change for a dollar. But as might be expected, author Mim Eichler Rivas's story is about much more than a horse from Tennessee imbued with a staggering intellect. It's also about Jim Key's equally remarkable trainer, Dr. William Key, a black man and onetime slave who narrowly survived the American Civil War, prospered against all odds, and emerged as a wealthy inventor, self-trained veterinarian, and community pillar. Dr. Key's use of kindness and patience to train Jim, rather than the de rigueur tactics of beatings and intimidation, gave way to fresh thinking about animal husbandry at a time when animals were considered virtually inanimate. And then some: "The horse and the man from Tennessee had not only helped pioneer the humane movement but had, over the past seven years, in direct and indirect ways, changed the face of popular entertainment. [Suddenly], the big-budgeted theatrical productions began adding nonhuman cast members to their shows." The author provides ample scene-setting color, especially when describing the various exhibitions Jim Key headlined, and does a reasonably good job of footnoting her various claims about Jim's mental prowess, though occasionally the reader wonders how, exactly, she decoded the horse's thought process. Her writing style is also somewhat tepid, but still, there is no doubt that Jim Key was an exceptional horse in an exceptional era guided by an exceptional man. Thanks to Rivas, Seabiscuit must now share a posthumous marquee along with Beautiful Jim Key. --Kim Hughes


“Engaging . . . filled with eyebrow-raising details.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Jim Key, in his own beautiful way, whispered to Americans’ hearts and awakened their soul.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Compelling...provides a vivid slice of Americana.” (Parade)

“A wonderful true story of an extraordinary horse and an equally extraordinary man. Beautiful Jim Key, is astonishing.” (Berry Gordy)

“Like Laura Hillenbrand’s SEABISCUIT, this brilliantly recreated history of BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY is destined to become a classic.” (David Geffen)

“Beautiful Jim Key represents a rediscovered treasure that has lain hidden for almost a century. . . . Remarkable” (Bob Womack, author of The Echo of Hoof Beats: History of the Tennessee Walking Horse)

“Rivas performs an important service by bringing this story to light and reminding us how it was almost lost.” (Knoxville News-Sentinel)

“If Beautiful Jim Key were alive today, he’d have a movie deal.” (People)

“A wonderful slice of American life at the turn of the last century . . . [Rivas] deserves praise.” (Contra Costa Times)

“Seabiscuit had nothing on Beautiful Jim Key.” (Sacramento Bee)

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