Next Meetup

Learn Something New About the Old West
Our nonfiction book for Dec is " Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West" by Christopher Knowlton. The author is a former staff writer and London bureau chief for Fortune magazine. He is currently a trustee of the Teton Raptor Center and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He lives with his wife in Jackson, Wyoming. Here is the publisher's description: "The open range cattle era lasted barely a quarter-century, but it left America irrevocably changed. These few decades following the Civil War brought America its greatest boom-and-bust cycle until the Depression, the invention of the assembly line, and the dawn of the conservation movement. It inspired legends, such as that icon of rugged individualism, the cowboy. Yet this extraordinary time and its import have remained unexamined for decades. Cattle Kingdom reveals the truth of how the West rose and fell, and how its legacy defines us today. The tale takes us from dust-choked cattle drives to the unlikely splendors of boomtowns like Abilene, Kansas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. We venture from the Texas Panhandle to the Dakota Badlands to the Chicago stockyards. We meet a diverse array of players—from the expert cowboy Teddy Blue to the failed rancher and future president Teddy Roosevelt. Knowlton shows us how they and others like them could achieve so many outsized feats: killing millions of bison in a decade, building the first opera house on the open range, driving cattle by the thousand, and much more. Cattle Kingdom is a revelatory new view of the Old West." According to one reviewer, " I have read extensively about the history of the American West. It's a book like Cattle Kingdom that excites me about the fact that the myths that oftentimes inhabit our historical understanding - can and will be displaced - and rewritten - when exquisitely talented authors like Christopher Knowlton take the reins."(448 pgs) Amazon rates this book 4.5 stars out of 5 based on over 130 reviews. There are 9 copies in the library.

Panera Bread

3988 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA · Irvine, CA

What we're about

This group was created to bring together individuals who read books for substance and ideas. This group is open to artists, musicians, scientists, engineers, and anyone who likes to examine and exchange ideas, respect others' opinions, and is open to learning something from others. We find we get together to discuss what might otherwise be serious topics, but we end up laughing a lot, because it's such a joy to express ourselves and share our ideas...and go off topic now and then. We currently have regular meetings twice a month. At one meeting, we discuss a particular book, alternating between fiction and non-fiction. We decide on the book for each month based on voting on suggestions brought in to meetings by the members. These meetings are held typically at a Panera Bread in Irvine...which might change if this becomes too 'old hat'. At the other meeting, we discuss books on a theme, and occasionally have a meeting on "What We are Reading Now". These roundtable meetings convene at a member's house, and members are invited to present on any book on the topic that is discussed that month. For example, recent themes up for discussion have been "Islam" and "The Current Economic Situation". The meetings are informal, with food, smiles, and general socializing. Suggestions to make this better are welcome!

Members (776)

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