Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit: An American Legend is an "out of the gate" bestseller for Random House, hitting our list, as well as three other national charts, in its first week on sale. The tale of the legendary racehorse that became a cultural icon and an American obsession during the Great Depression—and in 1938 garnered more newspaper coverage than Hitler, Mussolini or Roosevelt—was helped by considerable early buzz, including a first serial in Talk magazine. Early reviews were raves (how many books get coverage in both the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Racing Form?), with a starred PW notice. Not surprisingly, sports radio and sports journalists began talking up the book, including WFAN's (New York) Mac at the Track and KNBR's (San Francisco) At the Track. Though Hillenbrand is unable to tour (she suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and disabling bouts of vertigo), she's done many national radio interviews from her home. Also, many print and TV journalists have been so enthusiastic about the book that they've interviewed the author at her home. RH plans to continue the book's promotion through the upcoming racing season with three radio satellite tours. After three trips to press, the in-print total is 85,000.
Volume 248 Issue 13 03/26/2001