Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,203 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Howard Lyman's testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show revealed the deadly impact of the livestock industry on our well-being. It not only led to Oprah's declaration that she'd never eat a burger again, it sent shock waves through a concerned and vulnerable public.
A fourth-generation Montana rancher, Lyman investigated the use of chemicals in agriculture after developing a s...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 2nd 2001 by Scribner (first published June 3rd 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mad Cowboy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mad Cowboy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,718)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oh my. This book has been in our house for a couple years. My husband read half of it. His sister is now a vegan and his mom a vegetarian. I have been meaning to read the book but wasn't sure where it was. But last night while looking for another book, I found it. I have been one of those "kinda" vegetarians who occasionally eats chicken or fish. (Same for the rest of the family) Well, after reading just through chapter 2, I am changed. Now I have read through a few more chapters, and for some r...more
Oct 27, 2008 Andrew rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Until last week, I think I was one of the few remaining vegans in North America who hasn't read “Mad Cowboy”. Lyman and Merzer's book provides an interesting take on the reasons for being vegan, and may be one of the most compelling books on the topic ever written. If you have never read anything about the health and environmental costs of eating meat, this would be a great place to start. If you are already a vegan, or have read lots of books about the reasons for veganism, you might not find m...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 28, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who ever wanted to make a change in their lives, those who love animals
I really admire people who make huge changes in their lives, and Howard Lyman is one of them. He's an ex-multi-generational cattle rancher who became vegan after developing medical problems. He's since made it his mission to talk and write about the cattle & dairy industry, as well as the benefits, to both people and animals, of going vegan = giving up animal product foods. He gives the reader a lot of information with which to make their decisions about whether to consume animal products.
The best way to describe this book is a that it is "Skinny Bitch" for men, with the added bonus of the rancher perspective. Lyman, who was once a rancher in Montana, tells his story of growing up as a dairy farmer, dealing with bovine growth hormones, mad cow disease, and all of the challenges of surviving as "cowboy" in the modern dairy industry. He comes to the realization that the farming practices that he has adopted are ruining the soil, parching his land, and is morally questionable in the...more
I stopped eating meat when, one morning in 1979 I woke up to the aroma of bacon being cooked. In that instant I realized I couldn't eat meat anymore. I don't know what happened. It still smelled good, I just had no desire to eat it. I still ate fish and foul, although I really wanted to be vegetarian, I just wanted it to be as "organic" (if that's what it was for me) as my relationship to meat. In the summer of 2000 I spent a week's vacation with my vegan daughter and decided to not eat fish or...more
Oct 25, 2007 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book was an eye opener, strangely because I approached it knowing alot about the issues Lyman discusses. It became apparent within just a few pages that, as we often discover about this "great country" things are alot worse then I imagined. I knew what a renderer was, but had no idea how diverse its processing contents really were. I knew about Mad Cow disease but not how much the real threat of it has been covered up by the same people that were too cowardly to do anything about it. I knew...more
Another book I went out an bought after seeing the author on Oprah. Remember when Oprah was sued by the meat industry for saying that she would never eat another burger? Yeah, that was this guy, the cattle rancher who wouldn't eat meat. A fabulous book, not only about the evils of the meat industry, but about self discovery and making a change in yourself and then helping others to change too. The author goes through a huge life change in the book. Does he want to continue to raise his cattle in...more
I just disagreed with a lot of this man's philosophies. I learned some things, though, and it was worth reading. I'm glad he found a lifestyle (vegan) that works for him. He just seemed too extreme to me. Like he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder...

I still like my meat. I just make sure it's grass-fed with no hormones or antibiotics. He wrote as though there were no alternatives to factory meat at all. And, quite frankly, some of his medical information and stats just don't jive with other thi...more
Be prepared to love tofu. This former rancher explains what goes on in the beef industry and exposes the risks of eating beef, not only to consumers, but also to the earth. It took me 6 months after reading this book to feel okay about eating a hamburger again. And now that I think about it, I don't want another one.

The author does rant at times, and seems to have an axe to grind with various diet fads (such as Barry Sears' ZONE diet)for which I subtracted 2 stars.
I felt that this book, while eye-opening for someone who might not know about the meat industry, and rather humorous for the rest of us, totally disregarded some of the other omnivorous options humans have. His argument for veganism was close-minded and naive. He failed to take a good look at what grass-fed cattle can do for the environment, and barely grazed over what 100% veganism would do to the economy. We would wipe out all of the huge factory farms (at least those that control the meat we...more
I was initially very put off by his Golly Ma'am, I'm Just a Dumb Ole Cowboy approach, but he kind of grew on me; also, he got less folksy once he got into the meat of the book (sorry, couldn't resist the stupid pun). The book is dated, but it's still a good read, with important information. It helps that it is a quick read. If you are interested in the subject matter - veganism, our food supply, factory farms, the impact of meat eating on individual health and the world environment - then it's w...more
This is a five star book for the great information and for the perspective of an ex-rancher gone vegan. I had to dock it a star for the diet information at the back of the book. Skip that and instead read Eat to Live or a couple of books by Andrew Weil.

I really think all people should read this and learn what goes on in the production of their hamburgers. I also think people ought to know what raising cattle is doing to the earth. And, to those of you who think the solution is to drink only org...more
Megan Jones
Although not a work of literary genius, I think the author did an outstanding job making his claim for a plant-based diet - something the entire world needs to realize and embrace if we care about saving the planet for future generations. I absolutely love how this isn't an animal rights book in the least but more of a calling to save the earth and save ourselves, our health - a unique perspective as compared to most vegetarian/vegan reads. He also took time to address common misconceptions abou...more
One of the best AR books ever written.

I found this book on the bargain table of a local bookstore years ago. I have to admit that I was a vegetarian before I read it but if I hadn't been I would have afterwards.

Lyman doesn't try to scare you or preach but he smacks you about the head with facts as though they were hammer blows. If you have any concern for your own health, the health of your family or the health of the planet and you have to date not read this book it is an absolute must.

Not only an exceptionally compelling read bu...more
Mad cowboy certainly sends a clear message, the farm industry is severely messed up. After reading this book I felt deeply saddened that things have gotten so political and so inhumane.
I truly feel if the average person knew the horrible things that were happening they would change what they buy and how they eat as well as what they eat.
This book touches on the horrible treatment of the animals but really it is more about the horrible treatment of people. What exactly is in the food that we a...more
I was going to give this book four stars because it tends to bog down in places, but the message is so powerful I went ahead and gave it the full five stars. I'll let the following quote speak for itself:
"I knew that while a billion people went to sleep hungry, the overfed part of the world was busy feeding sixteen pounds of grain to cattle in order to make one pound of beef. I'd seen countless friends suffer from heart attacks or require heart surgery. I'd seen the cancer rate in America increa...more
Spook Harrison
Aug 13, 2014 Spook Harrison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thinking People
Recommended to Spook by: The Low-Carb Fraud
Shelves: health-physical
This was an excellent book, and I'm glad I read it. Can't wait to read his second book. I wish Lyman would do a movie (wait, has he?) because I know that my dad won't read the book, but he might watch a film, and I think that he's got a fair bit in common with Lyman and would benefit from hearing his story. I knonw my life has been enriched by reading it!
Jen Juenke
Pretty good book! I have been considering a vegetarian lifestyle for awhile and this makes it even more like a reality for me! I did NOT like the way he went on and on about the Zone diet. I would rather have had him talk about his own eating habits then go on about the Zone!
Linda Petersen
Mr. Lyman was involved in the Oprah, "I'll never eat another hamburger" lawsuit. Also, just so you know, Mr. Lyman pulls no punches in the first chapter. No dipping the toe in to test the waters. Nope. He throws you in head-first. Caveat: first chapter on an empty stomach (there should be an advisory to that effect, Mr. Lyman!)

I also found it interesting that when he went to his bank and tried to get a loan in order to farm in such a way as to make reparations to the land damaged by his factory...more
This book was amazing! I can't believe that many of the facts backed by scientific studies are swept under the rug by the livestock industry! This book is very factual and graphic at times, but provides a persuasive report of the benefits of veganism, and how it is good for the earth, and man kind. I had no IDEA that consumption of animal products is continuously linked to chronic illness, and that there are SO MANY chemicals in our foods. We ban chemicals, but let them be used for a year after...more
W.K. Lawrence
This is a great true story of a brave American hero. Howard Lyman brings up a great point when he is expresses his amazement at some politicians trying to change the Constitution to try and solve the debt problem, yet they completely ignore a much greater crisis: "wrong though it may be to burden our progeny with debt, I guarantee you that our descendants would rather contend with some inherited fiscal debt than dead rivers and oceans, spreading deserts, unproductive soil, depleted energy reserv...more
Coen Vazquez
Mad Cowboy... what I have learned from you! This is one of the very first books I read about the food industry. Before Food, Inc., SuperSize Me, Fast Food Nation. This is way before that. Howard Lymann is amazing. He has opened my eyes to what is really going on. It's kind of really mind blowing, to be honest. Before this book, I had no idea these things were going on. I trusted the government. I would have never believed anything in this book. How could it be? How is it possible? It still blows...more
Barks & Bites
Nov 03, 2009 Barks & Bites rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Barks & Bites by: a fellow bookcrosser
Though I may not have the willpower to give up milk, fish, cheese and ice cream (say it isn't so!) cold-turkey I am definitely going to aim towards a bean, grain, fruit & veggie diet and am starting to research vegetarian & vegan lifestyles. This book is a real eye opener and I'm very glad I had the chance to read it.

The scariest part about this book for me was the possible US epidemic of Mad Cow and the fact that this book made so much sense that I want to scream out these facts to the...more
Aaron Fisher
I really enjoyed about half of this book. The facts and figures make my eyes glaze over - the specifics might be new, but since I'm not trying to acquire talking points for missionary work, I could almost skip this stuff entirely. The book really shines when the author tells his own story- about growing up working the land, becoming enthralled with "modern farming" and watching his choices destroy the sacred land of his forefathers. I've read better polemics on factory food for sure, but this po...more
Mar 11, 2008 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: animal-rights, vegan
This is a MUST read for everyone. You do not have to be into animal right to want to read this book. This book is written by an Ex-cattle rancher who discusses his farming techniques before and after the use of chemicals. It talks about diet, what's in your pets food, cancer, etc.. It is an AMAZING book that I literally could not put down. A friend of mine suggested it to me and I have suggested it to many people.
Howard Lyman is one of my heroes, he is an extremely courageous man who is fearless...more
Still need a reason to push you into the wonderful world of veganism? Why not pick up this book about the ecological havoc of cows, the health benefits of an animal-free diet, and, of course, the threat of Mad Cow Disease (and other nasties) that lurk in the feedlots of our modern feeding machine (hence the title, get it?!). This comes straight from a rancher who knows first hand what goes on in the meat empire of today. Starts to get a bit tedious by the end (ok, I get it, cows are ruining any...more
Fuchsia Rascal
Jan 03, 2008 Fuchsia Rascal rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, especially meat-eaters
This is a book that focuses on the environmental and health aspects of a meat-based diet. For those who are able to turn a blind eye to the cruelty of animal slaughter, this might hit home with them a little more because the direct consequence is their own health and future. It was interesting to read about a cattle farmer who went vegan, but it would've been nice to see more details about the transition/his thought process. That was glazed over more for the factual evidence. Overall, it was ver...more
I read this a couple of years back it was given to me from a raw foodist (only eating things raw) It was so Eye opening that I didn't touch meat for a year my first year in college ate an apple a day and lost 30 pounds that year. Unfourtunatly got a soft spot for BBQ so that habit didn't stick to long however in the book Omnivores Delima it puts forth that perhaps eating meat isn't the culprit that is bad it's how it's processed and raised. So now I have an out on the times when I indulge in som...more
This book is interesting. It covers feedlot farming of cows, ranching, Mad Cow disease, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, and the environmental impact of raising animals for meat. Unfortunately, all of the information is ten years old, as the book was published in 1998, and most of the research is from 1996. I was also immediately turned off by a type in the very first paragraph on the first page. I mean to look up more current information on rBGH and mad cow disease after finishing this book,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 90 91 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry
  • Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating
  • Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
  • Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals
  • The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food
  • The Vegan Sourcebook
  • Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights
  • Living among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarians' Survival Handbook
  • Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
  • The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
  • Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?
  • The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
  • The Case for Animal Rights
  • In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave
  • Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health
  • Eternal Treblinka
  • Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others
  • Vegan's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately
No More Bull!: The Mad Cowboy Targets America's Worst Enemy: Our Diet Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health Marla's Vegan Guide To Chicago &Amp; The Universe ;Signs Of Life In The Hog Butcher To The World:  Stories, Essays, Critiques And Rants

Share This Book