Saddling Up Anyway (Taylor Trade, $24.95)

saddling-up-anyway“When I got to him, he sat up and his lower lip was down under his chin. It was the danged-est lookin’ thing…. I had to put my knee against his chest and pull it back.”

Thus recalled Texas cowboy Gid Redding about the fate of 19-year-old Aubrey Strokes, who had fallen hard off his pony. Strokes is one of many cowboys who “saddle up anyway” despite the injuries and even death that await them while astride their horses. Dearen’s book will give you a newfound respect for cowfolk as he shares the risky adventures of those who cowboyed the West from the 1870s-1930s. Dearen even provides a handy lingo list so that you’re sure to understand what these waddies mean when they say they’re “cutting the figure eight.” If you don’t know much about cowboy life, the stories told in Saddling Up Anyway will shock and awe you. This book is an entertaining read (even though you may wince every few pages or so).

 

—Meghan Saar