Books

Top 5 books about unconventional cowboys, chosen by musician and author Bruce Omar Yates

Cowboys are mysterious renegades who have always sparked the imagination of writers. Here are five of the best books written about them

Image: Kaskar 537 from Pixabay

Ahead of his debut novel The Muslim Cowboy, author Bruce Omar Yates’ pick of the books focused on outlaws and rodeo riders.

True Grit by Charles Portis

Precocious 14-year-old girl Mattie Ross hires a US Marshal to avenge her father’s murder, her single-minded determination unleashing a chain of violence and destruction.

Life and Adventures of Nat Love by Nat Love

The autobiography of a black cowboy born into slavery. Love later trains himself to become an expert marksman, wins a rodeo contest, and is captured by and escapes from a band of Pima Indians.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The first entry to McMurtry’s fantastic Lonesome Dove series introduces Gus and Call, two old, retired guns. Written as deeply emotionally complex and philosophically introspective characters, they broke the stoic cowboy mould.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

While The Road has a modern, post-apocalyptic setting, its determined protagonist embodies
the cowboy archetype as much as characters from McCarthy’s more typical Western works.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence

Lawrence adopted Arabness in the opposite way to how my character in The Muslim Cowboy adopts Americanness. His daring independence, honour, resilience and spirit all echo the cowboy archetype in an entirely different context.

The Muslim Cowboy by Bruce Omar Yates is out on 22 August (Dead Ink Books, £10.99). Some of these titles are available to buy or preorder from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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