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Cowboys of the Wild West


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About the Author

Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, the Sibert Medal, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City.


Gr 7 Up Large type; clear , historic black-and-white photographs and no-nonsense but readable writing give this volume style, punch and character. Basic information is sufficient to satisfy casual readers as well as school researchers, and the good bibliography could lead one to more extensive, adult literature, such as William W. Savage, Jr.'s Cowboy Life: Reconstructing an American Myth (University of Oklahoma Pr, 1975). The genuine vividness of some of the illustrations may escape readers unfamiliar with the terrain and working conditions of the cowboy; however, such pictures can be read at several levels, and primary impact is satisfying. Certainly a book to linger over and to turn to again and again. George Gleason, Department of English, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield

Historic black-and-white photographs and no-nonsense but readable writing give this volume style, punch and character. School Library Journal, Starred

Freedman's careful research and inviting texts have made his nonfiction can't-miss titles in homes and libraries. Here is a sequel to Children of the Wild and the author's other award winners. He has selected over 50 photos from the Library of Congress and state archives to illustrate his chronicles of life on the range. Cowboys, readers discover, were really boys. Many were teenagers, a few ``old hands'' were in their early 20s; and they were responsible for driving great herds across the plains in the 1800s. Freedman describes the buckaroos' clothes and equipment, how they passed the days on the ranch and on the trail, during the big roundups, etc. There were black and Indian cowboys as well as whites, all working hard together. Although these storied riders of the purple sage are different from the gun-totin', steely-eyed movie types, they are as exciting and interesting to meet and learn about here. One feels wistful when the book ends with a lament from a man who remembers: ``I would know an old cowboy in hell with his hide burnt off.'' He says the fellows punching cows today couldn't match their predecessors, independent and proud, who sang as they earned a tough dollar, ``I've roamed the Texas prairies,/ I've followed the cattle trail;/ I've rid a pitchin' pony/ Till the hair come off his tail.'' (8up)

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