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The Cowboys Paperback – 23 Jun 1972

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New edition edition (23 Jun 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552089796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552089791
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,944,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Film Tie-In. A Very Nice Copy. Very Minor Rubbing To Bottom Edges Of Spine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"The Cowboys" -- one of the best novels of its kind 9 May 2004
By J. C. Hulett - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"The Cowboys," by William Dale Jennings, is a fast-moving and highly involving tale of a middle-aged rancher (Will Anderson) who's got to drive his 800 head of cattle to market or risk losing his spread. Trouble is, his ne'er-do-well sons are dead, and there is not an able-bodied hand within a hundred miles because every one of them has skedaddled to the Dakota gold fields.
So Anderson is forced to recruit a gang of schoolboys to get his herd to market; the long drive that results is full of adventure, mayhem and heartbreak. Rustlers and Indians are an ever-present danger. At the end, every boy on Will Anderson's cattle drive has become a man.
A cross between "Red River" and "Lord of the Flies," "The Cowboys" was made into a big-budget John Wayne Western in the early seventies, but the book is more compelling than the film. Jennings wrote it in a frenetic burst of creative energy when he was flat broke; six weeks after he completed it, the manuscript had been sold to Warner Bros. for six figures, to Ballantine as a paperback and to Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux for hardcover publication.
Not high art, "The Cowboys" is the best kind of popular literature: readable, action-packed, with a high-degree of "un-put-downableness." The characters are vivid, the dialogue brisk. It's one cattle drive well worth taking.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good, but I liked the movie better :) 14 Feb 2010
By D. Walls - Published on
Format: Hardcover
According to Wikipedia, Jennings wrote this book based on a film treatment he had sold, which was made into a movie with the same name, starring John Wayne. That happens to be one of my favorite movies, I've watched it many times and the book follows the movie pretty closely (or vice versa).

Also on wikipedia it says the book "caused a lot of controversy among publishers due to its glimmers of homoeroticism". I'd say those few glimmers are the main things that pop out as not being in the movie. And they aren't major things, just glimmers, like the article says.

If you are a big fan of the movie, you'll probably enjoy reading the book too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Adding a brilliant ending to the John Wayne film 1 April 2013
By Susan Rivers - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The John Wayne film is excellent and enjoyable. One of the best films of the period. However, the novel explains so much that the film could only allude to. What where the feelings of the boys' parents? Why would they allow Mr. Andersen to take their sons on a trail drive? What happened after they reached Belle Fouche? Did Mrs. Andersen get the money? This book is a fantastic read--with or without the film. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Great Book! 16 Dec 2010
By W. Baker - Published on
This is just about my favorite western too, along with Dances With Wolves, so I wanted to read more about the characters.

This is a brilliantly written book. The metaphors are amazing (Cimmaron described as "beautiful as the Devil and just as confident") and the author's description and insight into the male child's psyche is most interesting to an adult female. You look back at the boys you grew up with and you can finally figure them out.

The descriptions of Wil andersen's haunted guilt at having failed his sons is very deep. Uses of western lingo used in the day are peppered all over the story and give it a sense of reality. There is a glossary for these terms at the end of the book. Narrative of stampedes, flight from an attacking bear, Indians, rustlers just put you so into the story it's like a movie in itself! This story is NEVER boring!

There were some rather unsettling descriptions of what boys coming into puberty do in the morning, watching each other bathing and "comparing" themselves (fortunately a young character knwn as Horny Jim did not show up in the movie!) I didn't like the fact that all the little boys visited the prostitute wagon (too, too young for that!) and the end scene has Cimarron looking for Andersen's killers in a town street with a saloon girl being paraded naked down the street on a bet. That scene could have been left out. Also that characters created in the beginning of the book disappear and only a handful get all the attention (Slim,Charlie, Homer, Hardy and Cimarron.)

Yes, the movie was better, but if you were left wanting more after it was over, and you want to read some killer great writing, definitely read this book!
fair 7 Oct 2010
By George Aubrey - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The John Wayne movie based on this book is a favorite, so perhaps my expectations were unjustly high. I was somewhat disappointed in the book. The story moves along well enough and there was pretty good character development. The book fails to take advantage of decriptive language of the remarkable geography of the setting. The story line with the prosititutes was lacking credibility and seemed out of place with the main story line, a distraction. The revenge of the boys against the outlaws was cold-blooded and calculating. I could see the kids rising up in the heat of the moment to exact vengenace, but I didn't buy the story line here. There was unnecessarily descriptive language tinged with a sprinkle of homoeroticism. I found that disturbing, too. In this case, the movie was much better than the book.
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