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The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland
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The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  801 ratings  ·  174 reviews
“Thompson-Hernández's portrayal of Compton's black cowboys broadens our perception of Compton's young black residents, and connects the Compton Cowboys to the historical legacy of African Americans in the west. An eye-opening, moving book.” Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Figures

A rising New York Times reporter tells the compelling story
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Monica **can't read fast enough**
2 1/2 rounding up to 3

I'm sorry to say that this was a disappointment for me. I was so excited to order and read this but for me the writing was choppy and not very engaging. The content was there, just not executed as well as I had wished. This is a history/culture that deserves to be written about and appreciated and hopefully I will find another book about the Compton Cowboys at some point that will be a better fit for me.

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Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc-author
3.5 stars

This is more like a long-form profile / feature piece and I would've loved more history around the idea of black cowboys in America. But that might be an entirely different book.

Watch me talk about this book more here:
Lee Woodruff
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Readers worldwide were captivated by the 2018 New York Times feature article about a group of African American men and women who defy stereotypes and continue the centuries old and proud tradition of black cowboys. But there’s a catch. Rather than green grass and wide-open spaces, their pasture lands are one of the most notorious communities in LA, with its history of rap legends and gang violence. Founded in 1988, the Compton Jr. Posse provided local youth with an alternative to the streets, co ...more
Never Without a Book
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I inhaled this book. Wow! I highly recommend, a must read. Review to come.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book surprised me in several ways. First, I had no clue that farms existed in Compton, California. I’m a thirty-something white woman from the Southeastern U.S.; all I know about Compton is what I’ve heard in lyrics from groups like N.W.A. and seen in photos shown to me by the media.
The image of a group of Black men and women riding horses through the streets of a dangerous neighborhood in Los Angeles County grabbed my interest. I had to know more: how did farms end up in Compton to begin
Alex Bear
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-read
Well, that was.... ok.
Though I respect the subjects of this book, and find them interesting, the book kind of jumped around too much and felt like an anthology of these different people's lives rather than getting a central theme to tie them together (besides they all happen to ride horses).

It also feels like the assignment could have lasted longer, since I don't really feel any kind of completion to any of their stories.
Paris (parisperusing)
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, publisher-sent
"The cowboys trotted past the stage, waving at their city. They received the loudest applause of the day. The brown faces in the audience cheered because they had never seen black cowboys before. The black faces cheered because it had been years since they had. The cheers forced smiles from the edges of each cowboy's mouth as they continued riding west on Compton Boulevard, toward the farms, toward the fading sun."

A heartbreakingly gallant story of loss, survival, and undying hope, Thompson-Hern
Kate Olson
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and new-to-me subject matter: 5 STARS

Writing style: 3 STARS

Overall: Despite my opinion that this book was overwritten and could have used an editor with a ruthless red pen, I’m very happy to have read it. The preface and the author’s note were actually my favorite parts and I’m wondering if maybe this book would have worked better for me if the author had inserted himself in it given his deep ties to the Compton community and own reckoning with his heritage - his writing seemed to fl
Jul 11, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-authored
New York Times writer, Walter Thompson-Hernandez, write about the lives and livelihoods of a group of Black cowboys in The Compton Cowboys.

Thirty years ago, Mayisha, a woman in Compton, CA, started a program for at-risk youth in her community that introduced them to horses, rodeos, and riding. Fast forward to 2020 and as Mayisha retires, a collective of Black cowboys, all of whom came from Mayisha's youth program, are set to takeover the program and invest themselves back into their community. E
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Compton Cowboys is important for the same reason that the Kendrick Lamar music that serves as its soundtrack is. This book gives a voice to overlooked people and places without having to find resolution. The author doesn’t seek resolution, but reality.

Thompson-Hernandez makes these larger-than-life figures feel real as their blood, tears, triumphs, and tattoos. In the past few years, the Compton Cowboys have gained media attention as the heroic figures they are, black men and women on horses
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After reading the original NYT article on the Compton Cowboys in 2018, I was so excited to hear that Thompson-Hernandez was writing an entire book about them. This book gives each one of the Cowboys (and Cowgirls!) a chance to share their story with the world - and each is amazing and inspiring in their own way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for so many reasons. It’s a book that easily grasps your attention with every page, presents very interesting facts and information throughout (especially
Jun 30, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. It lacks any kind of linear structure. Chapters bounce from one cowboy to the next reading a bit like "Day in the Life" material but not doing a deep dive. There's somewhat of a common theme of "next generation taking over for the previous" but it's largely left dangling without much closure. I felt like I was skating along the surface. ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for making and advance copy of this title available for n honest review.

My feelings are a little conflicted about this book. At times, I almost put it down, and at others, I couldn't.

For me, the largest hurdle was the language. While the profanity was all in quotations and no doubt authentic for the locale and culture, it was hard on my unaccustomed ear. I also had a little difficulty keeping track of who was who. This got easier by the end of the book, bu
We need diverse books. We need more books like this. I grew up near Compton, in Long Beach and knew what a rough area that was; never knew about cowboys and farms, and black cowboys no less.

The writing was decent, except for the foul language by the people being profiled. It gives the book authenticity but sometimes was grating. This is a subject that definitely needs a spotlight, but the organization, frame of the book left me wanting.

The book felt like the plot was thin, where was this going
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.

I found the main premise of this book to be really compelling, and it definitely made me want to look more into the Compton Cowboys, the history of the Compton Junior Posse, urban cowboys in current America and also the history of black cowboys. This actual book, though, felt a little disjointed to me, and it felt like the stories didn't mesh in the way I'd hoped they would. There wasn't much of a "narrative" to help weave it together, besides t
Denise Kruse
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
This chronicling of black cowboys is contemporary and macho. Stories about gangs, drugs, prison, cops and not a lot about the actual care of horses, the parades and rodeos, etc. The author writes about first seeing the black cowboys of Compton, “They seemed ethereal— like superheroes on the back of mystic creatures.” Having had that impression myself, I wanted more “cowboy” and more history; the author only alludes to their Louisiana roots.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
I listened to the audiobook, which probably is not the recommended format for this piece. I struggled with the "vignette" style, the jumping around, and in trying to find a cohesive narrative to follow.

I am, however, glad to have learned something new, and that the author worked diligently to bring this story to us.
An in depth look at cowboys of Compton, California and how one woman, one farm, and a whole lot of horses saved the lives of many at risk individuals. Truly inspirational.
Ryan Kelly
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
“Horses opened spaces for love to re-emerge - a love that the streets had once taken away. The horses listened when nobody else would and showed up when nobody else did. Slowly hardened glares turned into smiles and layers upon layers of pain began to dissolve.”

Was wildly intrigued by this book before I began to read it. Wish it was more of a history based background of black cowboys in LA instead of narrative based stories of individuals but that may be a whole different book. There wasnt reall
Gwenn Mangine
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Devoured it in one sitting. This was fascinating and I feel like I I need to know more.
Katelyn Willett
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Compelling stories about the struggles of the Compton cowboys. You get to know the members of this unique group through stories of hardships and hurdles, some self inflicted while others stemming from this volatile neighborhood . Before picking up this book , I knew very little about life in Compton (outside of rap ) and had no idea a group of black cowboys in Compton existed . Interesting read , but I wish there was more of a wrap up in the end for all the members- specifically Kenneth. At time ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I generally prefer fiction books, but this account of The Compton Cowboys has just as much narrative.
The writing has a very good flow and is full of moments that make you feel an intimate connection with the Cowboys, that the author surely has.
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Trigger warnings: Rape and alcoholism. I like that this was a non fiction book that did feel non fiction, it felt like the reporter really became friends with the cowboys and cowgirls.
Jeanne Andersen
Interesting and inspiring story. I found the Author's Note to be especially interesting as well. I've since read some really good articles by him in the NYT. ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cbr13
I love "Hidden Figures" style studies in cultures that are under-served, because they deserve more time and attention. I had first heard of the Compton Cowboys group early last year, and immediately went into record-scratch. Wait, what? An urban landscape like Compton has Black cowboys? I immediately desired the book and purchased it last summer. But I just got around to reading it now, because I've been hoarding books like no tomorrow.

It's more accurate to call this book an ethnography than a h
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about interesting collective and individual stories. Animals bring amazing healing into our lives, whether it be a dog or horse, etc. They love and accept us unconditionally and fully. They provide companionship that saves us from ourselves and our circumstances and let’s us be someone unknown in the real world. Growing up in the 90s and having visited Compton to cheer games and seen what it’s like for the many youth, I can fully see how this ranch and the horses played rescue f ...more
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-babes
What a great book! This community is 20 minutes away from where I grew up, but it is a world away. I never even knew about the Richland Farms.

Here is their website:

Their website says they are, "A collective of lifelong friends on a mission to uplift their community through horseback and farming lifestyle, all the while highlighting the rich legacy of African-Americans in equine and western heritage."

It is a beautiful book with very personal stories.
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Omg! I freakin’ love the Compton Cowboys. I preordered this book off of the cover alone because black men...on horses...yes! Their Instagram page is lit too! I found myself listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar songs from Section 8.0 and GKMC while reading this work. Compton Cowboys forever! I gotta get down to Compton to see them. 💙💙
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing

There was nothing more dangerous than a smart black man on a horse.

This book is so good. It's raw, emotional, and sometimes even scary. These men are defying stacked odds and just so they can help others they way they were helped. Very enlightening book that I would recommend to pretty much anyone.
Becca Loritz
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was a peek into a story that I wish I knew better & a group of people who tend to be left out of cowboy history & culture. It’s a great story, only reason I gave it four stars was the narrative could be a little hard to follow sometimes and the writing felt choppy occasionally. BUT still worth the read!!!
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Play Book Tag: The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez 1 12 Jul 10, 2020 08:09PM  

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