The Cowboy Encyclopedia

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In this fascinating volume, myth and reality come together to provide a detailed exploration into how and why the romantic cowboy image came into being. Through numerous topical entries that study the role of cowboys in art, literature, and film, to briefer subject entries focusing on cowboy terminology, readers can take away an insightful and broad perspective of the cowboy culture and its powerful influence over America's vision of the Western frontier.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The entries in this source are like potato chips—bet you can't read just one!"


American Libraries

"Readers will be captivated by the information included … A definite purchase for all collections."


School Library Journal

"The Cowboy Encyclopedia is invaluable as a research tool."



Zom Zoms
This past year brought forth a spate of cowboy reference books, notably a reediting of Ramon Adams' classic work of 1936, "The Cowboy Dictionary" (Perigee, 1993), "Cowboys and the Wild West" ["RBB" Ja 1 95], and several books of Western slang. Now we have an encyclopedic work, embodying many slang words; famous cowboy names; broad subjects, such as "Food" or "Horses" (entries of five or six pages), and narrower topics, such as "Holster" or "Levi's" (a column or so). Biographies of cowboys or of movie cowboys usually run to four or five pages. Required accent marks are printed in headings such as "latigo" and "patron" unlike Adams' work, which omits all Spanish accents There is generous use of "see" references, though in some cases the reference is to a long article, with no hint as to the precise location of the term referred from. Thus, the entry "Coffee Grinder" says "see Rope." The term is to be found in the middle of the fourth column of text: "coffee grinding" is what a novice vaquero does when he wraps his lariat the wrong way around his saddle horn Many black-and-white illustrations supplement the text. Those copied from tintypes or other early processes, such as one of Billy the Kid, may be excused for poor quality, but a few photos of modern artists or of their work are disappointingly dark Though primarily concerned with the cowboy of the western U.S., the book does not ignore Argentina or Canada. The article "Gaucho" runs to six pages, with several cartoons of F. Molina Campos, who affectionately lampooned gauchos for several decades with his popular illustrations for commercial calendars There are several appendixes: a list of film and videotape sources, a list of cowboy museums, an annotated list of periodicals dealing with cowboys, a calendar of "western cultural happenings," a 24-page bibliography, and a detailed index This work is recommended for any library with an interest in the West, even if it already has one or more dictionaries of cowboy slang. "The Cowboy Encyclopedia" is broader in scope, easy to use, and written in a clear, convincing style.
A comprehensive reference to both the common and the less known aspects of cowboy history, culture, and legend. Some 450 alphabetically arranged entries highlight the people, places, historical events, equipment and dress, terminology, and cultural imagery surrounding the cowboys of both North and South America. Black-and-white illustrations accompany some of the entries. Includes an extensive bibliography. A fine piece of work, both informative and entertaining. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
American Libraries
“The entries in this source are like potato chips-bet you can't read just one!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874367386
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Pages: 494
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard W. Slatta is a professor of history at North Carolina State University and an expert on cowboys, the American frontier, and Latin America.

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