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Beautiful Jim Key

2005 non-fiction book by Mim Eichler Rivas

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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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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


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, even debate politics. Trained with patience and kindness by one of the most renowned horse whisperers of his day -- former slave, Civil War veteran, and self-taught veterinarian Dr. William Key -- Jim performed in expositions across the country to wildly receptive crowds for nine glorious years, smashing box office records, clearing towering hurdles of skepticism and prejudice, and earning the respect and admiration of some of the most influential figures of the era, from Booker T. Washington to President William McKinley.

This is the remarkable true saga of a truly exceptional animal -- and the no less exceptional man who led him to greatness.

Mim Eichler Rivas has worked as an author, coauthor, and collaborator on more than eighteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Pursuit of Happyness with Chris Gardner and Finding Fish with Antwone Fisher. She is the coauthor of Start Where You Are with Chris Gardner and is the sole author of the highly acclaimed Beautiful Jim Key, now in the works as a major feature film. Eichler and her family live in Hermosa Beach, California.

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ISBN-10: 0060567031
ISBN-13: 978-0060567033
Author: Mim Eichler Rivas
Genre: History & Nonfiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Date Published: February 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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