Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Let the Cowboy Ride: Cattle Ranching in the American West (Creating the North American Landscape) Paperback – March 17, 2000
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
The title of this book is a bit deceptive as it is really about ranching and the American West, and as Starrs notes, a "cowboy is not a rancher." But they share legends that permeate American history, popular culture and environment--built and otherwise. Starrs's book describes the legacy of this way of life, the fragmented and irrational laws governing the use of public lands and the resulting ecological problems. Starrs explores five regions in detail and tells of the differences and similarities between them. He looks at the history of Native American and Hispanic attitudes toward the land, attitudes that were generally more communal and protective. These attitudes receded before the Anglo ranchers' combination of mistrust and fierce defense of the right to exploit public lands. Anglo Americans identify the wide-open spaces of the West as an integral part of our identity, yet the some 600 acres required to graze one head of cattle in these arid lands has become just too much to sacrifice for one rancher's personal gains. Grazing fees are now routinely charged so that there is some equity in the use of public lands. But Starrs argues that profits are not the real motive of today's ranchers anyway; rather, the honor, tradition and lifestyle far outweigh any real money to be made. Starrs's book is copious with detail and information and well-researched. If it reads somewhat like a textbook, the story is so fascinating and such a part of us all that the reader is quickly drawn in. Starrs adds rational and careful thought to an often incendiary debate.
Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is an important book, a contribution both to scholarship and to urgent public debate. Few of its readers will find their view of the American West unchanged, and those few will probably be of Starrs's party already.(Hugh Brogan Times Literary Supplement)
Paul Starrs takes us on a lively, insightful ride through the varied ranch lands of the American West. Drawing skillfully on his visits to many different ranching areas, he clearly illuminates the difficulties confronting ranchers yesterday and today. Starrs also levels sharp criticisms at U.S. western land policy. Even readers who disagree with his prescriptions will find Starrs a stimulating, often provocative guide.(Richard W. Slatta, author of The Cowboy Encyclopedia and Cowboys of the Americas)
Starrs's magisterial book redefines our understanding of the neglected subject of western livestock ranching. He shows the centrality of ranching in the complex and contentious relationship between fiercely independent westerners and historic federal government policies. Starrs provides a thoughtful and vivid overview while simultaneously deciphering five specific land tenure histories. The history of western ranching has a new champion.(John Opie, author of Nature's Nation)
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Unfortunately, it's often weirdly organized. The chapters don't tell a chronological story, and they don't really organize around an analytical story. There's a group of chapters on "legacy" at the start and a group on the "future" at the end, with case studies of five counties in the middle. But the "future" chapters include a lot of the past, and the "legacy" chapters mix history, lifestyle, politics, geography, and literature reviews in ways that I never could sort out in my mind. The best single chapter, with an overview of his major themes, was Chapter 4. That's an odd place to put your overview.
The presentation could also be better oriented to the reader. For example, Starrs will refer to something, like the Kincaid Act or the Spanish Mesta, without defining it. Then, dozens of pages later after the initial reference, the object may (or may not) be explained. There is a glossary at the end, if you happen to notice it - - but here, as in many books, a glossary is a substitute for thinking through the best way to present the material so that the reader doesn't need a glossary.
Starrs is at his best when he's not trying to wrestle with the general, but instead telling stories about specific places. His five chapters on western counties are very interesting. He's selected these well, with a mix of landholding patterns, ethnic make-ups, and histories. You'll emerge from each of these chapters with a strong sense of place, and with a good sense of how to compare these counties with one another. Those middle chapters deserve at least four stars. Alas, the strangely-organized presentation of the (albeit interesting) material before and after them drags the book down.