"One of the stories I tell
myself when I am trying to fall asleep is that I have tried. I've tagged
along after myself in the pages of my own modern Western, and every few
years is another chapter to the story. The myth of the cowboy. I chased
a dream and it kicked me in the teeth. Yet I find myself falling for it
again and again."
Across the rugged and beautiful landscape
of the contemporary American West, Tom Groneberg paints an unsparing portrait
of his flawed, funny, and sometimes triumphant efforts to become a cowboy.
It is a classic tale: a young man, facing a future he doesn't want to claim,
has an inspiration -- Go West.
Leaving behind his friends and family,
Groneberg follows his heart and heads to a resort town in the Colorado
Rockies, where he earns his spurs as a wrangler leading tourists on horseback.
Like an old saddle blanket, the tale unfolds, revealing the clean threads
of a new story. Groneberg moves to Montana, working for wages at a number
of ranches before getting a chance to become the owner of a sprawling ranch,
fifteen square miles of grass and sky.
In lean but passionate prose, Groneberg
demystifies the image of cowboy as celluloid hero and introduces us to
the tough and kindhearted men who teach him how to be a real cowboy, the
woman who teaches him how to love, and their son, who teaches him how to
be a man. The Secret Life of Cowboys is both a coming-of-age story
as stunning as the land itself and a revealing look at America's last frontier.