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The Cattle King: A Dramatized Biography Paperback – August 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0944220207 ISBN-10: 0944220207

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The Cattle King: A Dramatized Biography + Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920 + The King Of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Great West Books (August 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0944220207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0944220207
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By pebowles@compuserve.com on September 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
The life of Henry Miller really derves the talents of someone like Robert Caro, since it can be seen as the basis for a broader history of the American West in the 19th century. Miller himself was self-made, a dynamic, visionary, and fantastically successful land and cattle baron. He also seems to have been welll-liked by the men he hired, and (at least for a land baron) by his neighbors. The story as told by Treadwell is factual enough, but devoid of personal and cultural detail. Miller's business papers are mostly in the collection of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, raw data awaiting the talentrs of a more skilled biographer.
An out-of-print but fairly easy to find book written by one of Miller's foremen, "California Gringos", is also informative
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Parker on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having taught many aspects of Western history including the cattle industry, I found Edward Treadwell's The Cattle King: A Biographical Account of Henry Miller of the Miller & Lux Cattle Empire a fascinating read. To me it wasn't just an informative look at one of the major founders of California's cattle trade, but because so much of Miller's success was tied to water, it provided a dual interest for those interested in water rights history as well. Needless to say my involvement with the Colorado Water Conservation Board on a cursory level as a temporary worker and consultant piqued my interest in both the riparian and appropriation sides of water rights history outlined in the book. Because Treadwell himself was a water rights lawyer, particularly for California riparian interests, there was a wealth of H2O legal history that would probably not interest the average reader.

So, looking beyond my own interests and rating this on a more objective level, I only gave it four branding irons rather than 4.5 (which was my first inclination).

Originally published in 1931 and reprinted in 1950, this work would not fare well among modern American readers. It lauds legal immigration, is a handbook for the benefits of free market enterprise, admonishes the lazy propensity to let land grow wild and rather upholds the enterprising spirit of being the best humanly-possible stewards of land one happens to acquire through Provident blessing and entrepreneurship.

In fact, one might be shocked to see how Henry Miller used the advantages water law and of the Swamp Land Act of 1850 to carve a cattle empire out of otherwise useless (until oil was discovered) land.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of this book from my local library. It was an interesting read but I felt like it was written to a juvenile audience as it was very simplistic. I'm not sure if it was just a product of 1930s writing style or the fact that it was written by an attorney who worked for San Joaquin water interests. It was certainly a dramatized account with the author appearing to make many statements that were vague and fairly moralistic ("the children only spoke when spoken to") combined with a tone of adulation. Overall I enjoyed the book both for its historical context and for learning slightly more about this important period of California history. However, as one of the reviewers mentioned this subject matter definitely enjoys a more skillful biographer who could provide greater details instead of telling fictionalized stories.
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By Pat Jameson on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Treadwell's "The Cattle King: A Dramatized Biography" provides important background on the development of the cattle industry in both California and Oregon. The author's subject, Henry Miller, was a remarkable man who knew beef and cattle and range and water and grass as good if not better than anyone. His rise from butcher to the leading cattleman of his time is a testament to his skills, knowledge, and wisdom, both in regard to beef cattle as well as people. Treadwell's work conveys this message well.

As a native of Southeastern Oregon's cattle country, I appreciated the book's details regarding Miller's holdings and ranches and his "million acres and a million head" legacy. Scholars as well as history buffs and anyone else interested in the 19th century West will find this book informative and entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted F. Medeiros on March 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this to be a fasinating book about the success of Henery Miller in the American West.
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