Beautiful Jim Key by Mim Eichler Rivas
The Lost History of a Horse and a Man Who Changed the World

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For close to a century, a majestic chapter of American history has been buried in an obscure grave in Shelbyville, Tennessee. BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY, the onetime ugly duckling of a scrub colt that became one of the most heralded and beloved heroes of his day, was famous neither for his beauty nor his speed but instead for his exceptional intelligence. Said to have an I.Q. equivalent to that of a human sixth-grader, Jim exploded on to the national scene in 1897 by demonstrating inexplicable abilities to read, write, spell, do mathematics, tell time, sort mail, cite biblical passages, and debate politics.

For the next nine years, Jim performed in nationwide expositions and world's fairs to wildly receptive crowds, smashing box-office records, overcoming hurdles of prejudice and skepticism, all the while winning rapturous praise from the press and leaders such as President McKinley, Booker T. Washington, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

In this breathtaking saga, Jim's astonishing journey is coupled with that of his trainer and best friend, Dr. William Key, a self-taught veterinarian, former slave, Civil War veteran, prominent African-American entrepreneur, and one of the most renowned horse whisperers of his time -- a man who shunned all force in the training of horses, instead relying on kindness and patience.

Masterful storyteller and bestselling author Mim Eichler Rivas at long last gives two cultural icons their due, not only unraveling the mystery of their disappearance but examining how, thanks to the rare and intimate relationship between horse and man that was championed by promoter and humane activist Albert R. Rogers, a dramatic shift took place in the public mind that made kindness to animals a cornerstone of modern civilization and helped launch the animal rights movement. Unveiled against the backdrop of American history, BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY is their incredible tale.


About Mim Eichler Rivas

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Mim Eichler Rivas has worked as an author, coauthor, and collaborator on more than eighteen books, including th"e 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.
Published February 1, 2005 by William Morrow. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The story of Doc and Jim Key expands to encompass the political and social character of Tennessee, the Civil War—Doc spent much of it protecting the two sons of his master, who’d enlisted with the Rebels—race relations, the quality of American entertainment, and the fledgling humane-society movem...

Feb 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost H...

Publishers Weekly

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(Feb. 1) Forecast: Animal lovers, horse fanciers, Civil War buffs and fans of Seabiscuit (the horse, the book and the film): there are a number of distinct audiences for this fine book, and a PBS documentary should help spread the word .

Jan 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost H...

Entertainment Weekly

he counts!), Mim Eichler Rivas' engaging story is filled with eyebrow-raising details: Was the seed for a theme-park empire planted when Walt Disney, age 2 1/2, attended the 1904 World's Fair that featured Jim Key in his own pavilion?

Feb 07 2005 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost H...


Dr. Key eschewed cruelty and the use of force, preferring to use kind words, a gentle touch and a calm, almost reverent demeanor toward his horse.Dr. Key became a celebrated figure in his own right, a famous black American who wasn't an entertainer, athlete or activist.

Dec 08 2015 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost H...


Living at the turn of the 20th century, Beautiful Jim Key wasn't a person but rather a horse that, by using its teeth to pull out objects from racks, could seemingly add, subtract, spell and sort mail.

Feb 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost H...

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