Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World’s Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West

Morrow. May 2019. 256p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062836007. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062836021. HIST
The image of the American cowboy brings to mind locations such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, but that list doesn’t generally include Hawaii. Wolman (Outside magazine) and Smith (Crossing the Heart of Africa) here set the record straight. The book’s first part provides a history of Hawaiian cowboys (paniolo), tracing it back to the introduction of cattle to the islands in the late 1700s that, by the mid-1800s, had given birth to a thriving cattle ranching culture. Parallel to this development, the authors describe the changing reputation of Cheyenne, WY, from outlaw outpost to rodeo capital, attracting fans from across the country to its annual Frontier Days. Later chapters continue these two narratives, following the increasing popularity of rodeo events in Hawaii and across the American West. The two worlds gradually come together, culminating with the 1908 Cheyenne Frontier Days debut and triumph of three legendary paniolo: Ikua Purdy, Jack Low, and Archie Ka’au’a.
VERDICT Part history lesson, part rodeo diary, this will find appeal across a broad audience and be of particular interest to fans of rodeo culture, Hawaiian history, and the early American West. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]

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