Paperback / softback
July 5, 2018
9781421425900
English
184
63208
7
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.46 Inches (US)
.6 Pounds (US)
$19.95 USD, £15.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Up the Trail

How Texas Cowboys Herded Longhorns and Became an American Icon

Cattle drives were the largest, longest, and ultimately the last of the great forced animal migrations in human history. Spilling out of Texas, they spread longhorns, cowboys, and the culture that roped the two together throughout the American West. In cities like Abilene, Dodge City, and Wichita, buyers paid off ranchers, ranchers paid off wranglers, and railroad lines took the cattle east to the packing plants of St. Louis and Chicago.

The cattle drives of our imagination are filled with colorful cowboys prodding and coaxing a line of bellowing animals along a dusty path through the wilderness. These sturdy cowhands always triumph over stampedes, swollen rivers, and bloodthirsty Indians to deliver their mighty-horned companions to market—but Tim Lehman’s Up the Trail reveals that the gritty reality was vastly different. Far from being rugged individualists, the actual cow herders were itinerant laborers—a proletariat on horseback who connected cattle from the remote prairies of Texas with the nation’s industrial slaughterhouses.

Lehman demystifies the cowboy life by describing the origins of the cattle drive and the extensive planning, complicated logistics, great skill, and good luck essential to getting the cows to market. He reveals how drives figured into the larger story of postwar economic development and traces the complex effects the cattle business had on the environment. He also explores how the premodern cowboy became a national hero who personified the manly virtues of rugged individualism and personal independence. Grounded in primary sources, this absorbing book takes advantage of recent scholarship on labor, race, gender, and the environment. The lively narrative will appeal to students of Texas and western history as well as anyone interested in cowboy culture.

About the Author

Tim Lehman is a professor of history at Rocky Mountain College. He is the author of Bloodshed at Little Bighorn: Sitting Bull, Custer, and the Destinies of Nations.

Endorsements

"A well-written and compelling book by a master storyteller."

- Cecil Edward Weller Jr., San Jacinto College, author of Joe T. Robinson: Always a Loyal Democrat

"An excellent and highly accessible little book. With incredible economy, Lehman covers the rise and precipitous decline of the Texas System of range cattle management, with attention to the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of the enterprise."

- Andrew R. Graybill, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, author of The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West

"Tim Lehman's book opens new paths: it traces the burgeoning cattle business from Texas to the arduous long trails running north to rowdy cattle towns, and then on to eastern markets or northern ranges. The account is fact-driven, diligently researched, and invitingly written. Saddle up and ride with Lehman. His revealing, valuable trail drive beckons you."

- Richard W. Etulain, University of New Mexico, author of Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West

"This engaging book reveals the sensual and visceral worlds of the nineteenth-century cattle trail, illuminating historical landscapes of labor and leisure that have for too long been obscured. Beyond just debunking the mythology of the cowboy, Lehman gives us so much more by taking seriously and sympathetically the history of how human and nonhuman animals ‘turned the saddle into a workplace.’ All readers interested in the histories of business and capitalism, food and agriculture, nature and culture, will benefit from Lehman’s perfect distillation of these vital issues."

- Michael D. Wise, University of North Texas, author of Producing Predators: Wolves, Work, and Conquest in the Northern Rockies

"Tim Lehman replaces romance and legend with clear-eyed, well-documented explanations of how driving Texas longhorn cattle worked. This is a lively description of the realities of cowboy life and an account of how those scruffy working men turned into unlikely heroes. This short volume will be excellent for classroom use."

- Jeffrey Nichols, Westminster College, author of Prostitution, Polygamy, and Power: Salt Lake City, 1847–1918

"An essential primer to the legendary cattle drives of the American West, Tim Lehman’s Up the Trail dusts off the cowboys, the cattle towns, and the livestock industry, giving students of all ages the basics and the background while updating them on the latest historical research. It’s a marvelous book."

- Jon T. Coleman, University of Notre Dame, author of Vicious: Wolves and Men in America
Johns Hopkins University Press
How Things Worked
From 13 To 17

9781421425900 : up-the-trail-lehman
Paperback / softback
184 Pages
$19.95 USD

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