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Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of A Horse and A Man Who Changed The World

1 rating: 5.0
2005 non-fiction book by Mim Eichler Rivas

Beautiful Jim Key -- the one-time ugly duckling of a scrub colt who became one of the most beloved heroes of the turn of the century -- was adored not for his beauty and speed but rather for his remarkable abilities to read, write, spell, do mathematics, … see full wiki

Author: Mim Eichler Rivas
Genre: History & Nonfiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Published: February 1, 2005
1 review about Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of A...

If you enjoyed "Seabiscuit" you'll love "Beautiful Jim Key".

  • Jan 19, 2011
Though a good deal of the written history of the horse known as Beautiful Jim Key has been lost to the ravages of time, enough evidence remains to indicate that his is indeed a truly remarkable story.  After viewing an exhibition by the legendary Arabian-Hamiltonian horse at the 1897 Nashville World's Fair President William McKinley remarked "This is certainly the most astonishing and entertaining exhibition I have ever witnessed."  Over the ensuing decade, hundreds of thousands of Americans would flock to his exhibitions. The horse would even become the lead in a long running play!  Beautiful Jim Key would become a national phenomenon!

In her 2005 book "Beautiful Jim Key:  The Lost History Of A Horse and A Man Who Changed The World" author Mim Eichler Rivas chronicles the amazing story of this remarkable animal and his unforgettable owner and trainer Dr. William Key.  While we are speaking of horses, it is clear that Dr. William Key was no one trick pony.  A former slave, Dr. Key was at once a self taught physician, veterinarian, businessman and showman.  He was a kind and generous man who through a series of unlikely events detailed in the book found himself the owner of an extremely unusual horse.  You see Dr. Key and the horse he named Jim Key had quickly become inseperable.  In fact, when the horse was very young he actually slept inside the Key household!  And when this became impractical Dr. Key did the next best thing--he bedded down in the barn.  He would continue to do so for the rest of his life.
At a very young age Dr. Key noted that the young horse was extremely intelligent.  So Dr. Key went about instructing his horse in a most unorthodox manner.  His methods were so successful that before long Beautiful Jim Key--the "educated" horse was being featured in shows and exhibitions all over America.  Not only could his horse read, write and spell, but he could also add and subtract, multiply and divide and make change!
If you enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit" you will love "Beautiful Jim Key".  My thought was that it had all the makings of a Ken Burns documentary.  Come to find out there are plans in the works for a TV documentary by a filmmaker named David Hoffman. I look forward to that with great anticipation.  In the meantime, I would recommend that you acquaint yourself with this engaging story by reading Mim Eichler Rivas wonderful book.  A solid five stars!
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