- Horse Tradin by Ben K. Green, and: 13 Flat: The Rodeo, Horses and Riders by Willard H. Porter, and: The Cowboy by Vincent Paul Rennert, and: Cowboys and the Songs They Sang by S. J. Sackett (review)
- Western American Literature
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 2, Number 4, Winter 1968
- pp. 309-311
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Reviews 309 homa Press in 1950. This edition, however, does not reproduce the entire text and is, regrettably, now out of print. Mr. Rounds is a much better illustrator than editor, and his drawings are delightful additions to the book. E d g e ley W . T odd, Colorado State University Horse Tradin’. By Ben K. Green. (Alfred K. Knopf, 1967. 304 pages. $5.95.) 13 Flat: The Rodeo, Horses and Riders. By Willard H. Porter. (A. S. Barnes & Co., 1967. 246 pages, including charts. $8.50.) The Cowboy. By Vincent Paul Rennert. (Crowell-Collier Press, 1966. 110 pages. $2.95) Cowboys and the Songs They Sang. By S. J. Sackett. (William R. Scott, Inc., 1967. 72 pages. $5.95.) Either the Western vein is finally being mined out, or this is a singularly dry year for books about cowboys, if there is any indication of trends in the four books of western non-fiction that have recently come across my desk. All are in , some sense about cowboys; only one is fresh, readable, and inter esting. The readable one is a book of reminiscences entitled Horse Tradin’, by Ben K. Green, whom the cover describes as an internationally famous re searcher in veterinary medicine, but who in his youth made his living in the world’s slickest business. However that may be, the stories told in this volume are written by a genuine raconteur, who knows how to use the vernacular in the grand tradition of western humor, and who obviously gets as big a chuckle out of the stories where he comes off second-best as he does of the ones where he gets the best of some other man. All in all, these are wonderfully evocative tales of a time when horsepower was king and the automobile was a minor noise just this side of the horizon. T o make your living trading horses and mules, you had to have your wits about you, and the wit shows through here. One is tempted to tell some of these tales oneself—but they’re better off left to Ben K. Green. I wish I could say the same of the other three volumes, all of which portray so reverently and so redundantly the mythic and romantic cowboy, early or modern, that one wonders whether we’ll ever get at the truth. One— 310 Western American Literature a book on rodeo calf-ropers entitled 13 Flat, and written by Willard H. Porter (editor of Hoofs ir Horns, which is obviously a cow-country magazine) is unique. It concentrates solely on brief biographies of rodeo calf-ropers and the horses they rode to fame and day money. Such a book is printed only for those aficionados so devoted to the sport that they are willing to read long lists of rodeos and roping times, presumably so that, like a Red Sox Fan who can recite batting averages back to 1924, they can astound you with their knowledge of time, place, and record. I myself think calf-roping is one of the most skillful and daring events in rodeo—but spending an evening reading its statistics is not my idea of keeping informed. Well—the book is probably a valuable reference work, and perhaps should be reviewed so. Certainly it is not the same sort of book as a teen-age volume entitled, simply, The Cowboy, or a profusely illustrated book called, unoriginally, Cowboys and the Songs They Sang. Thesubjects of both are obvious, but perhaps the first has more excuse for its existence than the second, since it is part of a series (America in the Making) written especially for a teen-age audi ence, presumably different in age and interests from the adults to whom other books on the cowboy are directed. The surprising thing is that this volume seems indistinguishable from the adult ones. The same history of the traildrives and the cattle-ranches appears here, the same anecdotes, the same glossary of cowboy terms and cowboy slang. The only difference seems to be that an adult volume like Frantz and Choate’s American Cowboy (University of Oklahoma, 1962), while just as innocuous, is much more detailed and certainly...