Hoof-Tromping, Heart-Thumping Thrills as an Underdog Wins!,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Taschenbuch)
If you only read one book about sports this year, make it Seabiscuit. This book deserves many more than five stars for its superb portrayal of the underdog horse whose career captured the nation's heart during the depths of the Depression. In fact, the less you know about thoroughbred racing in the 1930s the more you will probably like this book.
Similar to its subject, the underdog Seabiscuit, the book, Seabiscuit, constantly surprises in many multi-dimensional ways. The best books about sports transcend sports and teach us about life. Seabiscuit is a fine example of that success.
Ms. Hillenbrand is a brilliant story teller, a fine writer, and has an eye for detail that brings you into the scenes she describes. You will feel yourself on Seabiscuit's back, looking for an opening to the rail, as you read the accounts of his most famous races.
If you do not know about Seabiscuit, this horse was an unlikely candidate for racing greatness. He was built all wrong, had a weird personality, and required unusual handling that few would provide. His career was heading nowhere when he was bought by the wealthy Charles Howard, a legendary automobile dealer in the western United Sates, on the advice of his obscure trainer, Tom Smith.
Finding ways to encourage Seabiscuit provides all of the intellectual excitement of a puzzle. Part of solving the puzzle required finding a very special jockey, one whose intelligence allowed him to be flexible. No one could have seemed less likely to play the role of top jockey based on his career track record than Red Pollard, who became the most effective jockey on Seabiscuit.
The triumverate combined to take advantage of Seabiscuit's "blistering speed, tactical versatility, and indomitable will." All of that training and work led up to a monumental match race against Triple Crown winner War Admiral in 1938. During that year, more inches of newspaper space in the United States were devoted to Seabiscuit than to FDR or Hitler.
The book has so many dimensions that they cannot all be addressed in this brief space. There is a lot of history. The biographies of the three main human characters tell you a lot about the development of the automobile, horse training, and the careers of jockeys. The colorful side stories are priceless, especially the ones in Tijuana around the old track there (where western racing migrated after betting was made illegal in California). The tales about the manure pile there are hilarious.
Each of the three main characters could have been the subject of his own very interesting biography, and much interesting detail is included here.
There is a lot of humor. You will especially like the cat-and-mouse games that Tom Smith played with the media so that they could not find out how fast Seabiscuit was running in his workouts.
The stories also involve a lot of diplomacy. The background leading up to the match race with War Admiral will remind you of the peace negotiations to end the Vietnam War.
Finally, there is much tragedy. Horseracing is dangerous (especially for the jockeys), and many paid the price is a variety of ways.
I cannot remember a sports book that captures so many dimensions of fine book writing and story telling. I was reminded of Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway as I read this book, but I think that Seabiscuit is the better book.
After you finish enjoying the book, look around you. Where is there hidden potential waiting to be tapped? Do you have a Seabiscuit-like opportunity you can develop? Probably.
Be flexible in looking for great potential!