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Reviews

"Perhaps the most iconic panorama in western movies is the cattle drive, with vast numbers of bawling Texas longhorns fanning out to cross the wide Red River, herded by a small fraternity of loose-limbed, laconic cowboys on horseback. Read this scene through the lens of Tim Lehman's Up the Trail, and it looks quite different."

"This concise synthesis of life on the nineteenth-century trail drives north from Texas is ideal for the general reader as well as students in Texas or western American history classes. Tim Lehman deftly brings the long drives to life, thanks to copious primary source quotations from nineteenth-century reminiscences, diaries, publications, and newspaper accounts... Up the Trail does an admirable job of taking readers behind the tall tales to see the real lives of real cowboys on the great cattle drives as well as showing their transition from history to mythology."

"In Up the Trail Tim Lehman provides an astute and... thorough history of the Texas cattle industry from its inception to the mid-1880s. Lehman ably traces the beginnings of the cattle trade, moving quickly and logically from Christopher Columbus's importation of cows in the late fifteenth century to the massing of large herds in the early nineteenth century. Lehman does a good job of showing us how this U.S.–defined and defining activity owed much to the those who were among the first cowboys."

"From the dust and ashes of the trails rose an American icon, the cowboy. Lehman traces this transformation in cogent fashion, from the night-herd songs and poems, to the "dime novels," to the Hollywood "horse operas" of the early 1900s. Gone from this legend were the hardship, the cruelty, and the extreme toll exacted from the land, the stock, and the men of the trail drives that we are given glimpses of in this appealing book."

"A well-written and compelling book by a master storyteller."

"An excellent and highly accessible little book. With incredible economy, Lehman covers the rise and precipitous decline of the Texas System of range cattle management, with attention to the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of the enterprise."

"Tim Lehman's book opens new paths: it traces the burgeoning cattle business from Texas to the arduous long trails running north to rowdy cattle towns, and then on to eastern markets or northern ranges. The account is fact-driven, diligently researched, and invitingly written. Saddle up and ride with Lehman. His revealing, valuable trail drive beckons you."

"This engaging book reveals the sensual and visceral worlds of the nineteenth-century cattle trail, illuminating historical landscapes of labor and leisure that have for too long been obscured. Beyond just debunking the mythology of the cowboy, Lehman gives us so much more by taking seriously and sympathetically the history of how human and nonhuman animals ‘turned the saddle into a workplace.’ All readers interested in the histories of business and capitalism, food and agriculture, nature and culture, will benefit from Lehman’s perfect distillation of these vital issues."

"Tim Lehman replaces romance and legend with clear-eyed, well-documented explanations of how driving Texas longhorn cattle worked. This is a lively description of the realities of cowboy life and an account of how those scruffy working men turned into unlikely heroes. This short volume will be excellent for classroom use."

"An essential primer to the legendary cattle drives of the American West, Tim Lehman’s Up the Trail dusts off the cowboys, the cattle towns, and the livestock industry, giving students of all ages the basics and the background while updating them on the latest historical research. It’s a marvelous book."