by Charles Leerhsen |

REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN

BIOGRAPHY

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED editor Leerhsen examines the early-20th-century celebrity of Dan Patch, a standardbred horse who set the world speed record for the mile. From his almost mythical origins—born in Oxford, Ind., weak and nearly euthanized—to the peak of his fame (when he endorsed everything from cereal to razor blades), the horse touched everyone around him. “He had the potential to be talked about, lied about and criticized far beyond the town limits,” Leerhsen writes. “Everyone in Oxford understood that, and it made their hearts pump.” Patch mania faded as the car became America’s obsession, but Leerhsen’s biography is a potent reminder of a time when natural horsepower could still thrill thousands.

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