The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 143
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clear that the cowboy was "a common, nineteenth century working stiff who was
often illiterate, often unemployed, and often on the lowest rungs of the commu-
nity's socioeconomic hierarchy" (p. 6). The reality does not conform to modern
conceptions, Carlson argues, because we "have invented the modern cowboy. He
is an imagined character, one created by misconception, myth, and falsehood"
(p. 7). The subsequent essays, remarkable for their diversity, demonstrate
Carlson's point. They reveal both the complex reality of life for American cow-
boys and show how modern society has transformed the image of the cowboy to
its own purposes. James R. Wagner traces the history of the word "cowboy" while
J. Boyd Trolinger explores the origins of the rodeo. Jorge Iber notes the contri-
butions of vaqueros to the cattle industry from the days of Spanish America to
the present. Douglas Hales chronicles one of the most famous African American
cowboys, Daniel Webster Wallace. Thomas A. Britten conveys the story of the
"Indian Cowboys of the Northern Plains." The work clothes of the American
cowboys are treated by Susan Karina Dickey. Robert G. Weiner analyzes cowboy
songs, and Kenneth W. Davis looks at cowboy humor. In separate essays, Albert
Tucker and Lawrence Clayton discuss the cowboy as a mythic figure in American
history and film. Two of the most unusual essays focus on European cowboys.
Jim Fenton writes about the Earl of Ayleford's twenty months as a cowboy in Big
Spring, Texas. Judy Greaves Rainger's remarkable essay examines French cow-
boys influenced by Buffalo Bill. Finally, Robert E. Zeigler's article on the
"Cowboy Strike of 1877" is fascinating and deserving of a wide readership. Many
of the essays in The Cowboy Way are based on secondary sources or published pri-
mary documents. Furthermore, much of the specific information is already well
known to specialists (four of the essays have been previously published).
Nevertheless, both a general audience and scholars will appreciate this volume.
Black Cowboys of Texas, in contrast, focuses on one particularly neglected topic,
the life of African American cowhands. The volume begins with an introduction
by Alwyn Barr. Barr provides a wonderful overview of both the history of cowboys
in Texas and of African American life in the Lone Star State. The rest of the vol-
ume is devoted to twenty-four biographical sketches of black cowhands. The
twenty-five authors responsible for these case studies have scoured archival
records, conducted many oral interviews, pored through old newspapers, and
searched for records in local county archives. The result of these efforts is that
we know much more about black cowboys than we did before. Their story is a
complex one. On the one hand, black cowboys like Addison Jones earned
respect and admiration from white cowboys and settlers. On the other hand,
these cowboys suffered discrimination, often being assigned the most dangerous
of tasks in a dangerous occupation.
Those interested in the history of Western cattle ranching will find these two
volumes essential. Historians of Texas, the Southwest Borderlands, the American
West, and the American South will also find much of value. Finally, United
States labor historians should pay heed as well. One thing is clear after reading
these essays: the "real" cowboy who worked and still works the cattle ranches and
the mythic cowboy who sells cigarettes both tell important stories about the
WILLIAM D. CARRIGAN
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/171/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.