News Releases

Smithsonian Books Releases "American Endurance"

History of the Great Cowboy Race of 1893 Available Oct. 4

October 4, 2016

Smithsonian Books will release Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Richard A. Serrano’s new book American Endurance: Buffalo Bill, the Great Cowboy Race of 1893, and the Vanishing Wild West Oct. 4. The book explores a little-known moment in history in June 1893 when nine cowboys raced thousands of miles from Chadron, Neb., to the Chicago World’s Fair.

In 1893, many believed that the Western frontier was settled, and the West was no more. The Chicago World’s Fair represented modernity, technology and the future; as a result, the organizers of the fair prohibited Buffalo Bill Cody from exhibiting there. Out of defiance, Cody set up his Wild West Show right next to the fair and set up the Great Cowboy Race. He promised a gold-plated Colt revolver to the first cowboy to reach his arena and prove cowboys were still relevant. Yet the race quickly devolved into chaos. Some of the cowboys shipped their horses part of the way by rail or hired private buggies. One had the unfair advantage of having helped plan the route in the first place. It took three days, numerous allegations and a good old Western showdown to sort out who was first to Chicago and who won the Great Cowboy Race.

About the Author

Richard A. Serrano is a former reporter for the Kansas City Times and a longtime Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. He shared in two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the Hyatt Sky Walks disaster in Kansas City and the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. His most recent book is Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War.

About the Book

Title: American Endurance
Author: Richard A. Serrano
On-Sale Date: 10/4/2016
Price: $27.95 / Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1-58834-575-2
Smithsonian Books

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SI-493-2016

Media only     
Matt Litts   
(202) 633-2495 
littsm@si.edu

Book cover featuring painting of cowboys


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