As journalist Hillenbrand explains, the biggest newsmaker of 1938 was not Hitler, Mussolini, FDR, or Lou Gehrig, but a funny-walking, older male horse whom a team of unlikely characters -- automotive salesman and owner Charles Howard, dour but magical trainer Tom Smith, and jockey Red Pollard -- made into the fastest racer of his time. Nobody else had managed to get any kind of performance out of the horse, but this trio made him the darling of post-Depression and pre-war America. This surprise 2001 bestseller illuminates the entire world of horse racing, especially the awful working life of jockeys at that time, and was eventually made into a solid 2003 movie. Hillenbrand, who incidentally turned out this beautifully written and engrossing book while suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome -- take that, all you self-pitying and aspiring authors -- penned a winner.
This report prepared by David Loftus