Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Favorite Book, Part 13.


The history of my homeland, the American West, has been of interest to me for as long as I can remember. From Indians to Spanish and Mexican colonizers to explorers to mountain men to pioneer settlers to mining boom towns, I like learning about it all.
But, mostly, I am intrigued by cowboys and the cattle trails and ranges and ranches where they worked. So it will be of no surprise to anyone with similar interests to know that you’ll find a well-thumbed copy of Cowboy Culture: A Saga of Five Centuries by David Dary on the bookshelf beside my desk.
The book is thoroughly researched, extensive in its reach, and well written. I’ve read it through on more than one occasion. And I refer to it often when verifying facts for something I’m writing, or merely to satisfy my curiosity about some person or place or event. In fact, I just picked it up, and there are no fewer than thirteen bookmarks sticking out of it.
While I cannot claim to know David Dary well, it was a pleasure, on two occasions, to share a table with him at Western Writers of America banquets. (His company was much more enjoyable than the food.)
If you haven’t read Cowboy Culture, you should. You’ll soon see why it won the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, and the Westerners International Award.
And you’ll come away knowing about real cowboys, as opposed to the fast-riding, gun-toting “cowboys” of movie, TV, and Western novel fame who seldom, if ever, cross paths with a cow. 

Post Script: I just learned from one of our readers that David Dary passed away just one week ago. That's the loss of a fine historian, writer, and man. 




6 comments:

  1. Hey buddy, pretty sure you've mentioned Elmer Kelton in your blog. As fiction, Elmer's books put the brand exactly where it belongs. Cowboy, Mr. Dary's fact, Mr. Kelton's fiction. Thanks for the reminder, pal. Hope all is well.

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    1. Yes, John, I wrote about Elmer's THE GOOD OLD BOYS a while back. Western novels don't get any better than Mr. Kelton's.

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  2. Cowboys are far, far from all of the West. How about mountain men, Indians, emigrants, Hispanics, Mormons, miners, Californios, Chinese people, etc. ad infintum

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    1. You're right, Win. That's why I wrote, "From Indians to Spanish and Mexican colonizers to explorers to mountain men to pioneer settlers to mining boom towns, I like learning about it all."

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  3. Thank you for the suggestion, Rod. This sounds like an intriguing complement to my historical studies. I will try to find a copy.
    Best,
    Tanja

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    1. Thanks, Tanja. I think you'll enjoy it.

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