In 2001 Laura Hillenbrand wrote a book called Seabiscuit that was an amazing read. I picked it up because someone whose reading recommendations I respect was reading it. He did not recommend it to me, but his enthusiasm in describing the book made me buy it anyway. I can not believe how much I enjoyed this book!
"In 1938, near the end of a decade of monumental turmoil, the year's number-one newsmaker was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler, or Mussolini. It wasn't Pope Pius XI, nor was it Lou Gehrig, Howard Hughes, or Clark Gable...It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit..." And this is the story of the horse that had everything against him but found victory and fame anyway. Laura Hillenbrand is a great writer, she captures your attention as she leads you thru the world of horse racing with the hardships of being a jockey, to the rigors of nursing a horse to become a champion. Hillenbrand introduces us to a host of human characters - Charles Howard a bicycle repairman who eventually made his fortune with something called the automobile, and who eventually would own Seabiscuit, Tom Smith a cowboy with a talent for 'horse whispering' who would become Seabiscuits trainer, and Red Pollard a down on his luck jockey who would ride Seabiscuit to more than one of those victories and in the process turn his luck around too. Her writing is wonderful and her description of the Santa Anna race makes you feel like you are in the saddle and battling for your life! Even if you know nothing of horse racing, which I didn't, Hillenbrand pulls you into the story and entertains you. You will be surprised at what goes on behind the scenes and even at 50 - 1 odds I promise you this is a winner! (BTW- the Ballantine Reader's Circle edition has a great interview with Laura Hillenbrand in the back!)