The story of the championship racehorse Seabiscuit as told by Laura Hillenbrand is the story of the American Dream realized. The central figures—the horse, the trainer, the jockey, and the owner—seemed destined for ordinary lives—for obscurity, if not for failure. Yet they came together in the gloomy years of the Great Depression and through a combination of determination, perseverance, and previously unrealized talent, they achieved greatness and captured the hearts of people worldwide.
But, of course, all American stories do not end happily. The images drawn from the Picturing America collection as well as the books selected for the Land of Opportunity series explore the extent to which we have fulfilled the promise of America.
This theme is part of the Let’s Talk About It: Picturing America series. Other themes in this series include Making Tracks, Objects of Art, Places in the Heart, and The Work of Freedom: Individual and Communal.
- Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
- Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
- Noon Wine by Katherine Anne Porter
- Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
Related Picturing America Images
- 3A—The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Grant Wood
- 3B—George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
- 4A—Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze
- 4B—Benjamin Franklin by Hiram Powers
- 7A—Ohio State Capital by Thomas Cole and others
- 7B—The County Election, 1852 by George Caleb Bingham
- 9B—Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner
- 10A—Robert Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
- 11A—John Biglin in a Single Scull by Thomas Eakins
- 12B—Allies Day, May 1917 by Childe Hassam
- 14A—The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt
- 14B—Brooklyn Bridge, c. 1919–1920 by Joseph Stella
- 15A—American Landscape, 1930
- 15B—The Chrysler Building, 1926–1930 by William Van Alen
- 17A—The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence
- 17B—The Dovebu Romare Bearden
- 18A—The Sources of Country Music by Thomas Hart Benton
- 18B—Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange
- 19A—Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell
The project scholar was Suzanne Ozment, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of English, University of South Carolina Aiken.
Download the scholar’s essay and recommended reading list (PDF). Please note: The American Library Association is the copyright owner of this essay and annotations. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these materials.
How-To Discussion Programming Guides
Developed to aid participants in “The Millennium Project for Public Libraries,” this how-to guide (PDF) provides basic information about developing and promoting book discussion programs.
When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the planner’s manual (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.