Cover image for Cowboys & longhorns
Cowboys & longhorns
Stanley, Jerry, 1941-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
88 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1060 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.0 3.0 70851.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.1 7 Quiz: 33973 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F596 .S824 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
F596 .S824 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
F596 .S824 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A look at the fascinating and true story of how Texas Longhorns were run from Texas to Kansas so they could be shipped to meet the new demand for beef in the eastern U.S. Filled with gritty details, excerpts from first-hand accounts, photos, and other visuals, this will be a great choice for readers interested in the real story behind this compelling and pivotal part of U.S. history.

Author Notes

Jerry Stanley is the author of several highly praised books for young readers, including Children of the Dust Bowl, an ALA Notable Book, a Horn Book Fanfare Outstanding Book of the Year, a Booklist Editors' Choice, and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award; I Am an American, an ALA Notable Book; and Hurry Freedom: African Americans in Gold Rush California, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. A former professor of history at California State University, he lives in Bakersfield

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-12. This fascinating portrait of a little-known part of American history confronts the popular mythologies of cattle drives and cowboys with gritty reality. Taking to task popular culture's image of the American cowboy, an image increasingly distorted over the years in books, motion pictures, and television, Stanley reveals that most American cowboys were vaqueros from Mexico and former African American slaves. Genuine cowboys were tough, hard-working individuals who had no time to think about shootouts, chasing villains, or wooing women. They spent their lives performing hazardous, unpredictable work for relatively little money. Stanley weaves together the history of the American cowboy with the story of the longhorns--the fierce, wild cattle that were hunted, rounded up, and driven by the thousands from Texas to Kansas along the dangerous Chisholm Trail. Using a variety of primary source materials, he constructs a riveting account of miserable, tedious, dangerous work, including graphic descriptions of cattle being beaten into submission, a gruesome practice positively barbaric by contemporary standards. Yet, Stanley also conveys an admiration for these gritty men, who came to epitomize the image of the American hero. Illustrated with maps and photographs, this fascinating, engrossing account of a piece of American history stripped of myths is a great choice for both informational and recreational reading. An excellent book to pair with Russell Freedman's In the Days of the Vaqueros (2001). --Ed Sullivan Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-This account of the life of the American cowboy emphasizes the period of the Long Drive, which began in 1866 when the railroad reached Kansas, making it profitable to capture the wild longhorns of West Texas and drive them north for shipping to markets in the eastern United States and Europe. This era ended in 1885, when the last of the Texas longhorns, once approximately five million in number, had been driven to Kansas or absorbed into ranchers' herds. There are many fine books on cowboy history, but most of them discuss the contrasts between the actual life of a working cowboy and the idealized version promoted by five-cent novels and Hollywood. Stanley's book not only discusses this contrast, but also offers especially graphic, detailed descriptions of the harshness and dangers of life on the trail. The extremely brutal treatment suffered by the animals at the hands of their captors is a particularly shocking, troubling aspect of this history. The image of the heroic American cowboy is further demythologized by information on how few cowboys stayed with the work for more than one season. Still photos from Hollywood films interspersed with period photographs further emphasize the difference between the tidy, glamorized version of particular events, such as crossing a river with a large herd of longhorns, and the more chaotic appearance of an actual crossing. This title will be a valuable addition for libraries in areas where there is a strong interest in cowboy history, and school libraries where the study of cowboy life is a part of the curriculum.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Nature's Lovely Miraclep. 5
2 Brush Poppers and Cactus Bloomersp. 12
3 Round Two and a Roan's Choicep. 21
4 The Outfit Moves Out, Scientificallyp. 30
5 A Sea of Bobbing Headsp. 43
6 "That Cloud of Dust on the Horizon"p. 51
7 The Time of Madnessp. 61
8 At Trail's Endp. 69
Bibliographic Notep. 78
Picture Creditsp. 81
Acknowledgmentsp. 82
Indexp. 83