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Rivers of Wind: A Western Boyhood Remembered [Paperback]

Gary Penley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 28 2006
He never seemed old to me. He stood with the intensity of a coiled spring, a compact bundle of energy and fierce determination. His dark, piercing eyes challenged the world; his stubborn jaw defied it. The years hadn't mellowed him much. Even in his seventies he wore his hat cocked. He belonged here. He and this hard prairie were alike - rugged, fierce, and enduring. Each stood ready to battle the other every day. His daughter, my mother, chose hardships, harsh weather, and isolation to place her sons in the care of the best man she knew. Mum and I both called him dad.

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Product Description


It has hard times, good times, moments of absolute hilarity, rattlesnakes, bobcats and a crusty grandfather. -- Publishers Weekly, Nov. 22, 1999 quoting Gayle Ray of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Readers from 12 to 90 can relish these stories of life on the High Plains during the middle years of this century. Gary Penley has personified in his book Joseph Campbell's admonition to hang on the "rapture of being alive." -- CO) Oct. 15, 1998

Rivers of Wind is a fine book in many respects. For one, it's a well-written, true chronicle of everyday life in rural southeastern Colorado earlier this century. The book is also a top-notch character study of "Dad," Penley's grandfather who raised him, and gives a real feel for those who straddled time from the horse-and-buggy era to the age of airplanes. It's a good read. -- Western Horseman June 1999 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gary Penley was born in Colorado and grew up on a remote cattle ranch in the 1950s. After high school he left the wide open spaces and semi-arid climate of home and served aboard submarines in the U.S. Navy for several years. Following discharge, he attended Weber State University and University of Kansas where he earned his master's degree in geology. Gary lives in Lafayette, Louisiana where he works as a petroleum geologist. Although he has written for outdoor and sporting magazine, Rivers of Wind is his first book. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book!! "Try it and you'll like it." Dec 22 1998
By A Customer
"Rivers of Wind" is a refreshing boyhood account of living and growing up on a remote cattle ranch near Lamar, Colorado during the 1940s and '50s. One might initially ask, how can such a setting lend itself to becoming an interesting and enjoyable book to read? Life on the prarie during this time was hard and without all the convienences we now take for granted; there was, for example, no indoor plumbing, electricity, or phone service. But even under these conditions, it is a story packed with adventure, drama, youthful pranks, family love and values, and the fulfilling of a lifelong dream. Gary Penley's handling of such a wide range of emotions and situations is masterful and will be appealing to readers of all ages and areas of the country. In reading his accounts and experiences, I found myself reliving and thinking of similar but yet different incedents from my own childhood. Penley will bring the reader to laughter on occasion and to tears with the lose of his grandfather, the only father figure Gary ever knew. Gary's brother, George appropriately describes their grandfather by saying "...we grew up with John Wayne." I highly recommend this book. Set back and enjoy!!
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By A Customer
Gary Penley has captured a rural lifestyle that is now almost non-existent in this wonderful book. Although not so distant in time, the book transports the reader to a lifestyle where the close relationship of a family is necessary to survive the natural elements.
Gary captures this personal piece of American history in a way that keeps one feeling as though they have been transported back in time.
This is a book that is so full of emotion - bringing both frequent laughter and tears to the reader - that it is extemely difficult to put down before finishing. Whenever I started to be amazed at the hardships on the ranch, a story within the bigger story caused me to burst out laughing.
The book is unique and very much worth reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heart warming story you will long remember. Jan. 15 1999
By A Customer
Mr. Penley has written a wonderful account of his early years growing up on a Colorado Ranch. Anyone who grew up in the 40's and 50's in a rural setting will certainly relate to his experiences. The readers who do not fall into this category will gain an appreciation of what it was like to grow up in world of open spaces that was full of hardships, challenges, and opportunities. Mr. Penley's "Dad" (his grandfather) was full of "tough love" and is a central character throughout the story. The author's experiences with "Dad" will bring both laughter and tears to those who elect to read this well written book. "Rivers of Wind" is similar to Ivan Doig's book "This House of Sky".
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4.0 out of 5 stars It ain't flat on the Great Plains! Jan. 7 2003
I enjoyed this book, sent to me by a high school friend, as I went to the same consolidated high school in Lamar, Colo. as the author (but 2 years ahead of him)and recognized many of the features of that time and place which he describes so well. I was a town kid instead of a country kid but it helps understand better the kids I went to school with. Gary is a great story teller. I hope he didn't stretch it too much in a few places (I don't remember rattle snakes when my friend and I were hiking outside of town--but maybe it was winter). And no, the Great Plains are NOT flat but rolling praire with great views to the horizon sometimes. It's BIG SKY country and I miss though it has been years since I've been there. Thanks, Gary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A kind of "window in time" July 17 2004
Rivers Of Wind: A Western Boyhood Remembered is the autobiographical story of how Gary Penley's growing up on a ranch in the plains of Colorado, the influence and example of his grandfather, his mother, and a yesteryear of ranch life that is gone now. Interwoven memories of the people, the geography of the land, the animals, and the climate of the high western plains, Rivers Of Wind is a kind of "window in time" that will engage the reader's rapt attention from first page to last. A tribute to a time and place now found only in memory, Rivers Of Wind is unique and enthusiastically recommended reading.
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