Secretariat by William Nash
Published in 1975 396 pages
Content: * * * * (4.5)
There aren’t a whole lot of content issues here. However, this is the world of horse racing so there are curse words scattered throughout and gambling/betting on the races. There is also an explicit explanation of how a horse at stud interacts with a mare in heat that is both erotic and completely impersonal at the same time. BUT! The plot content will blow you out of the water. This is one of those stories that you can’t believe the ending is really true so you read it on the very edge of your seat. I loved the story-line (especially once it got going) and did not want to put it down.
Style: * * * * (4.2)
I didn’t mind the writing style Nack used, but it definitely leans toward the academic audience. There are a lot of names, backstory on jockies and managers, backstory on horses and owners, and a lot of numbers and stats. But after the first several chapters, the story really does take off. Secretariat is a fascinating horse, for more than one reason, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about him. I also learned a lot about horses and racing, especially the Triple Crown, just from the fact that this was a wonderful story filled with a lot of secondary information. It wasn’t nearly as dry and boring as most books with this information could be. Just don’t let the first few chapters stop you. Take a deep breath, and keep going!
Overall Rating: * * * * (4.9)
The story of Secretariat seems completely unbelievable and magical, fascinating and spell-binding, impossible and inspiring all at once. I shared earlier that while there isn’t much to bother in terms of content, there is a particular page or two that describes how a foal is created. However, I still HIGHLY recommend this book because you can skip those pages as soon as you see them coming. The difficulty with this book comes with the statistics, names, and explanations of Secretariat’s genealogy. If you can get past the academia and feeling of total nerd-dom, it’s actually interesting to understand how Secretariat became Secretariat, both physically/genealogically and psychologically. So really . . . this is yet another book you just have to read. Happy racing!
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