Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Secretariat: The Making of a Champion

Secretariat: The Making of a Champion Review

William Nack, Secretariat: The Making of a Champion 2/E (Da Capo, 2002)

I finished this book back in July, and here it is November. I don't know why it is that I sometimes have problems figuring out what to say about a book to the point where I end up leaving it for four months, and why it is that it's always a horse book (to this day, I still have not reviewed Jane Schwartz' Ruffian: Burning from the Start, which I read in 2004) that causes this sort of blockage, but so it is.

Obviously, this is the story of Secretariat, the horse who wowed a nation in 1972 and 1973. The subtitle should have twigged me to the fact that the later part of his career was going to get short shrift, but somehow I didn't grasp that until I got to the penultimate chapter and we were still only up to the Belmont. Still, it's your basic horse biography--a focus on the horse himself, yes, but also a lot of talking about the horse's connections. Oftentimes, that's not nearly as interesting (at least, for the horse lover), but Nack's writing combined with the momentous events going on around him at the time keep the areas where the book focuses on the human part of the equation almost as interesting as the parts about Secretariat himself. (Prospective authors of horse biographies may be wondering just how much, in fact, readers can take of reading about stall routines, workouts, getting ready for races, cooling down from races, and all the rest of the minutiae of the horse himself. I'm here to tell you that such a book would be my favorite of the horse biographies I've read.)

The new edition of the book published in 2002 also contains, as an afterword, Nack's touching Sports Illustrated essay on Secretariat's death, for which Nack--purely by coincidence--was on hand. Even if you already own the original edition of the book, it's at least worth getting it out of the library to read the supplementary materials in the updated edition. This is very good stuff, as most horse biographies are. ****

Secretariat: The Making of a Champion Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780306811333
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Secretariat: The Making of a Champion Overview

"Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand." --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit.

In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest thoroughbred in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse to ever break the two-minute mark in winning the Kentucky Derby until last year's winner Monarchos, Secretariat also pulled off one of the most astounding victories in the annals of horse racing by winning the Belmont Stakes by a record-breaking thirty-one lengths. Now William Nack updates his acclaimed portrait with a new afterword that examines the legacy of one of ESPN's "100 Greatest Athletes of the Century," and the only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated all in the same week.

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