"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.
Tom Groneberg is the author of The Secret Life of Cowboys and has written for a number of publications, including Men's Journal and Sports Afield. He lives in northwest Montana with his wife, three sons, and his horse, Blue.
Michael Perry Author of Population: 485 The highest compliment in the West is a thing of such brevity outsiders are likely to miss the weight of it: "He's a good hand." He didn't win the rodeo. He didn't run the biggest spread. He didn't bust the bronc. But he saddled up and took his licks. And when the dust settled, Tom Groneberg wrote a story that captures the real West. I believe cowboys and readers will agree: He's a good hand.
Pete Fromm Author of Indian Creek Chronicles and How All This Started Coupling wide-eyed eagerness and stark honesty, Tom Groneberg reveals both the exhilaration and cost of following a dream. It's a love story of the land, a way of life, and of life itself. For showing us that love, in its dark corners as well as at its brightest moments, Groneberg is to be congratulated. And read. Above all, read.