Cowboys: A Library of Congress Book

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9780060233181: Cowboys: A Library of Congress Book

A breathtaking look at American history from the world's best and largest library. Through hundreds of vintage pictures from the Library of Congress, quotes, and songs, Cowboys and Pioneers present a unique and realistic portrait of American cowboys and pioneers.

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From Booklist:

Gr. 4-6. One of the first volumes in a new series aiming to "make the riches of the Library [of Congress] even more available to even wider circles of our multiethnic society," this book is essentially an album of historical photographs, posters, paintings, and engravings, along with explanatory text and boxed quotations representative of the period.

It features a wealth of pictorial materials organized by topic: the roundup, the trail drive, the cowboy as popular hero, and the cowboy today, to name a few. Occasionally, the uncaptioned illustrations raise questions that the text does not answer, making the two seem rather detached. Still, many of the photos provide intriguing views of the cowboy's activities and surroundings.

In a slightly jarring shift of subject, the book ends with a two-page spread in praise of the Library of Congress. Since there's no change in the page design, which includes a distinctive border throughout, these pages first appear to be part of the book on cowboys, rather than a note on the book's origins and the library's magnificence. Apparently, the ending is common to all the books in the series, as it also appears in Pioneers, noted in the Series Roundup in this issue.

Sandler's Cowboys is the more general and perhaps the more solid volume, but both would make good additions to library collections. Carolyn Phelan

From Kirkus Reviews:

An album of period photos, paintings, advertisements and posters culled from the collections of the Library of Congress. To each Sandler contributes a few general remarks, not so much descriptions as appreciations of cowboy work and character in sometimes hyperbolic prose: ``He is perhaps the most American of us all. His restlessness, his optimism, his joy in hard work...are the very qualities that mark us as a nation.'' The author acknowledges the presence of women and African-Americans on the trail and closes with a nod to modern cowboys plus a paean to LC. The photos communicate an authentic sense of life on the range; in effective contrast, the color posters, sheet music, and book jackets illustrate the growth of the cowboy myth. Still, the lack of informational captions or sources makes this a browsing item rather than a research tool. Books such as Granfield's Cowboy or Marrin's Cowboys, Indians and Gunfighters (both 1993) offer an equally dramatic, much more detailed and authoritative picture. In the same handsome format, a companion volume: Pioneers (ISBN: 0-06-023023- 1). Index. (Nonfiction. 11-14) -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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