"[told] with depth, clarity, and vigor...beautiful, dazzling illustrations...will lure even the most reluctant history student and reader." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
With clear and engaging prose, [Freedman] describes how the 1494 arrival of cattle and horses in Hispaniola led to a need for skilled and rugged horsemen able to control the eventually vast heards. While tracing the geographic spread of the vaqueros' work over time and the tasks and tools involved in the trade, he also weaves in some thought-provoking social history.
School Library Journal
Combining impressive research and the skill of a campfire storyteller, Freedman described the rugged and often violent life of the original "cowboys," as they are known today.
Publishers Weekly, Starred
With clear and economical prose, the ever-capable Freedman combines political, religious, and social history to celebrate the achievements of the largely unsung men who invented the tools and techniques that sustain an American mythos. . . .Lushly illustrated with archival material (including a spectacular sequence of Remington drawings) this fast-paced text brings to light the contributions of the Indians without whom the cowboys might never have existed.
Like Sandler's Vaqueros: America's First Cowmen, this is an exploration of the little-feted precursor to the cowboy. Sandler offers more discussion of the vaquero-cowboy connection, but the ever-reliable Freedman manages to make this overview both more concise and more contextually informative.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
null Children's Books: 100 Titles NYPL
null Booklist, Editor's Choice
Russell Freedman's handsome introduction to the history and work of the vaqueros pays long-overdue tribute to the skillfulness and ingenuity of these early Native-American cowmen.
[Freedman's] descriptive powers engross the reader as he depicts roundups, mustang breaking, slaughtering—the technique of hamstringing is jaw-droppingly explained—and even daily life on the hacienda. Period paintings of men and horses, cattle and land match both the action and the respectful solemnity of the prose.
New York Review of Books