“The best all-around study of the American cowboy ever written. Every page crackles with keen analysis and vivid prose about the Old West. A must-read!” — Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
The open-range cattle era lasted barely a quarter century, but it left America irrevocably changed. Cattle Kingdom reveals how the West rose and fell, and how its legacy defines us today. The tale takes us from dust-choked cattle drives to the unlikely splendors of boomtowns like Abilene, Kansas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. We meet a diverse cast, from cowboy Teddy Blue to failed rancher and future president Teddy Roosevelt. This is a revolutionary new appraisal of the Old West and the America it made.
“Knowlton writes well about all the fun stuff: trail drives, rambunctious cow towns, gunfights and range wars . . . [He] enlists all of these tropes in support of an intriguing thesis: that the romance of the Old West arose upon the swelling surface of a giant economic bubble . . . Cattle Kingdom is The Great Plains by way of The Big Short.” — Wall Street Journal
“Knowlton deftly balances close-ups and bird’s-eye views. We learn countless details . . . More important, we learn why the story played out as it did.” — New York Times Book Review
“The best one-volume history of the legendary era of the cowboy and cattle empires in thirty years.” — True West