Good nonfiction: "Cowhand - The Story of a Working Cowboy" (1953)

Originally published at:


For those of a more waterish persuasion, there’s Richard Henry Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast,” 1840, so public domain.


Similar is ‘The Log of a Cowboy’, published in 1903. It’s a very readable and compelling story of a long cattle drive. It’s presented as fiction but is drawn from the authors’ own life experiences.

Lucky for us, it’s in the public domain and available:

This is a good edition:

and there’s a librivox recording:


The Log of a Cowboy is an account of a five-month drive of 3,000 cattle from Brownsville, Texas, to Montana during 1882 along the Great Western Cattle Trail. Although the book is fiction, it is based on Adams’s own experiences, and it is considered by many to be literature’s best account of cowboy life.[3] Adams was disgusted by the unrealistic cowboy fiction being published in his time; The Log of a Cowboy was his response. It is still in print, and even modern reviewers consider it compelling.


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