Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the West by Holly George-Warren
Title: The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the West
Author: Holly George-Warren
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010
Hardcover, 128 pages
Genre: Ages 10 and Up, Women's History
Source: Amazon Vine
First Line: Before anyone ever heard the word "cowgirl," there were women who ventured west.
The literal definition of cowgirl is a woman, or girl, who works outdoors with livestock, and this marvelous little volume follows this fascinating female breed from its earliest days to the present. Women of the Old West, Outlaws and Rebels, Wild West Show Girls, Rodeo Stars, Cowgirls who sang and acted in the movies... all the way to Twenty-First-Century cowgirls, George-Warren shows the logical progression of these independent women.
Women traveling west in wagon trains, women who concealed their sex and identities so they would be accepted as men-- one true spirit after another is revealed. Although some familiar names like Belle Starr, Calamity Jane, and Etta Place are talked about, the book comes to life when describing the lesser-known women.
The chapters that widened my eyes as I read were the ones about the women rodeo stars back at the turn of the twentieth century and the cowgirl movie and singing stars. I'd never realized that women had anything to do in rodeo other than barrel racing. Now I know better. In many ways, back in the early days of the sport, women participated in all events and were more popular than the men. Then along came the Depression, and the rules began to change. The same thing happened in the movies. As I read some of the film synopses, I couldn't believe what wonderful roles were available for women back then. It would seem that the Depression had more wide-ranging effects than I realized.
This is a read that is well worth your time, be you adult or child. Fortunately there is a bibliography in the back because one of the things you'll want to do when you turn the last page is to read more about these women, which is one of the best things a book can make you want to do. If you have even the slightest interest in the Old West, in women's history, or in sports like rodeo, by all means get your hands on a copy of this book. You'll be glad you did.
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.