Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest

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9780375507243: Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest

What was it in Sandra Day O'Connor's background and early life that helped make her the woman she is today-the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of the most powerful women in America? In this beautiful, illuminating, and unusual book, Sandra Day O'Connor, with her brother, Alan, tells the story of the Day family and of growing up on the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B Ranch in Arizona. Laced throughout these stories about three generations of the Day family, and everyday life on the Lazy B, are the lessons Sandra and Alan learned about the world, about people, self-reliance, and survival, and the reader will learn how the values of the Lazy B shaped them and their lives.

Sandra's grandfather first put some cattle on open grazing land in 1886, and the Lazy B developed and continued to prosper as Sandra's parents, who eloped and then lived on the Lazy B all their lives, carved out a frugal and happy life for themselves and their three children on the rugged frontier. As you read about the daily adventures, the cattle drives and roundups, the cowboys and horses, the continual praying for rain and fixing of windmills, the values instilled by a self-reliant way of life, you see how Sandra Day O'Connor grew up.

This fascinating glimpse of life in the American Southwest in the last century recounts an interesting time in our history, and gives us an enduring portrait of an independent young woman on the brink of becoming one of the most prominent figures in America today.

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Review:

Deep in the granite hills of eastern Arizona in 1880, H.C. Day founded the Lazy B ranch, where U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her brother Alan spent their youth, a time they recall in this affectionate joint memoir.

"We belonged to the Lazy B, and it belonged to each of us," write O'Connor and Day. "We thought it would always be there." Weathering events from the Great Depression to cyclical drought, they worked the ranch's 300 square miles alongside a colorful crew of cowboys, learning the ways of cattle, horses, and people, lessons they share in well-turned anecdotes. They also learned a system of values that "was simple and unsophisticated and the product of necessity," one that has followed them into the larger world. Court watchers and fans of Western writing alike will take pleasure in this multigenerational account of life on the range. --Gregory McNamee

From the Back Cover:

"It isn't necessary to have ever set foot on a ranch to savor O'Connor and Day's beautifully conveyed reminiscence about growing up on the same piece of land where their parents and grandparents had lived and worked. This is an endearing memoir about a vanishing era, a place and a family that nurtured the feisty young girl who became an extraordinary woman." -Doris Kearns Goodwin

"Sandra Day O'Connor and her brother, H. Alan Day, have taken all the themes of the conventional Western narrative-the roundup, the wild horses, the cattle and cattle stampedes, the rattlesnakes, the natural disasters like flash floods, and the colorful figures of cowboys-and transposed them from the usual narrative of the isolated, rootless male figure of the Western into the story of three generations of a family and their relationship to an arid and beautiful expanse of land on the border between Arizona and New Mexico. It's the story of what the land taught them and what it takes to survive under extremes of drought and distance. This is a book for every reader, whether interested in conservation, history, family dynamics, education, or just plain adventure."
-Jill Ker Conway

"There is a line in this book that says it all. 'The dust didn't settle on the ranch road for days after the wedding.' The wedding was that of Sandra Day O'Connor, and the road led to a ranch and a life called the Lazy B. This beautifully told story of the Lazy B will eventually settle on the reader and, like a magic dust of smiles and pleasures, stay there forever."
-Jim Lehrer

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