TO BE A MAN by William Decker
Kirkus Star


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This portrait of a cowboy is written without one false move. It conveys with dignity and feeling the life of a vanishing breed of men. Midway in his saga Roscoe Banks, whose father had been shot as a horse thief by a man with opposing interests, realizes he is out of date. ""We are growing old, Roscoe,"" a friend says, ""no two ways about it. They've got squeeze chutes, now, dodge gates, calf tubes...Don't need our kind."" But Roscoe Banks marches, or rides, to a different drum. Romantic and reactionary, he is an anachronism, a dusty knight in a cowboy hat and chaps. This is the story of Roscoe's years as times change but he does not, as the big spreads and modern methods take over but his life takes its course according to the universals. An idealistic son follows the calling of his father, a young husband loses his wife in childbirth and gives up farmsteading for the wandering life of the cowboy, a man has a friend and a horse, and his honor. We follow Roscoe through the West, riding herd, judging rodeos, just being around, until his last job throws him and he settles in as resident character and man-of-all-trades in a small town, where his final heroic act fits all that has gone before. An affecting study in character, a faithful recounting of a way of life, this will be here to tell us how it was for many years to come.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1967
Publisher: Little, Brown