The Secret Life of Cowboys by Tom Groneberg

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"One of the stories I tell myself when I am trying to fall asleep is that I have tried. I've tagged along after myself in the pages of my own modern Western, and every few years is another chapter to the story. The myth of the cowboy. I chased a dream and it kicked me in the teeth. Yet I find myself falling for it again and again."

Across the rugged and beautiful landscape of the contemporary American West, Tom Groneberg paints an unsparing portrait of his flawed, funny, and sometimes triumphant efforts to become a cowboy. It is a classic tale: a young man, facing a future he doesn't want to claim, has an inspiration -- Go West.

Leaving behind his friends and family, Groneberg follows his heart and heads to a resort town in the Colorado Rockies, where he earns his spurs as a wrangler leading tourists on horseback. Like an old saddle blanket, the tale unfolds, revealing the clean threads of a new story. Groneberg moves to Montana, working for wages at a number of ranches before getting a chance to become the owner of a sprawling ranch, fifteen square miles of grass and sky.

In lean but passionate prose, Groneberg demystifies the image of cowboy as celluloid hero and introduces us to the tough and kindhearted men who teach him how to be a real cowboy, the woman who teaches him how to love, and their son, who teaches him how to be a man. The Secret Life of Cowboys is both a coming-of-age story as stunning as the land itself and a revealing look at America's last frontier.

About Tom Groneberg

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Tom Groneberg is the author of The Secret Life of Cowboys and has written for a number of publications, including Men's Journal and Sports Afield. He lives in northwest Montana with his wife, three sons, and his horse, Blue.
Published November 1, 2007 by Scribner. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Science & Math, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Cowboys

Publishers Weekly

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This book's jacket (of a cowboy and his shopping cart in a supermarket frozen-food aisle) perfectly sets the tone for its offbeat theme: an account of Groneberg's evolution from Chicago suburbs to Montana ranches.

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Entertainment Weekly

In The Secret Life of Cowboys, a series of eloquent vignettes, he describes the sounds and smells of the ranching routine (the stickiness of a calf birth, the persistent crying of a branding session) in a sharp, immediate tone that will lure even the most aloof city slicker: ''The whole world loo...

Jun 27 2003 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Cowboys

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