My Plunder

Westerners and Warriors

Non-Fiction - Memoir
213 Pages
Reviewed on 07/20/2019
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Author Biography

Myles Culbertson grew up on the Park Springs Ranch in Northeastern New Mexico and was in the cattle business many years, ranching in New Mexico and Colorado. In his varied career, he has been engaged in ranching, banking, international trade, border economic and technological development, regulation & law enforcement, border security, and management of specialized projects for both industry and government, often spanning the US/Mexico border. His experience also includes public service as executive director of two state agencies, under four governors, addressing numerous economic, regulatory, and resource issues throughout New Mexico as well as the border region.

Myles, a Vietnam veteran, is owner of Myles Culbertson Partners LLC, a business strategy firm. He and Georgia married in 1971, and their family includes daughter Avery L Culbertson, PhD; and daughter and Son-in-Law Meredith & Matt Peterson and their children Sophia and Harlan.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

My Plunder: Westerners and Warriors by Myles Culbertson is a collection of stories that captures the very heart and soul of a cowboy. Filled with a tapestry of wonderful settings, the stories take readers through interesting adventures, unveiling places like the Chaperito Land Grant. The stories explore themes of friendship, family, and adventure, and present characters like Joe, Nick, Senor Bud, Harold, and many others. But what caught my attention the most is the way the author depicts the life of a cowboy and what is most essential to them. The stories are beautifully illustrated, offering a window through which readers see into another life, another time, and places that are exciting to travel.

The carefree lifestyle of the cowboy, the excitement of exploring new places, the hilarity of genuine friendship, and the unadulterated sense of adventure are some of the elements that are beautifully captured in these stories. The prose is impeccable and the descriptive character of the language captures precious moments. For instance, the author shares an experience of enjoying a beer when in dire need: “The beer wasn’t cold, and its bitter character wouldn’t satisfy many palates, but on that day in that company it was close enough to nectar from heaven. The three cowboys and their benefactor pushed their hats back and reclined under the cottonwood’s protective shade, allowing the golden beverage to make their jokes funnier and their conversation more important.”

My Plunder: Westerners and Warriors is filled with action. It is atmospheric and infused with humanity and realism, with characters that are fun to hang out with. This author makes you want to saddle up your horse and ride out into the wilds. The tales in this book capture the spirit of the west with great clarity.

Astrid Iustulin

The title of Myles Culbertson’s book, My Plunder: Westerners and Warriors, is the perfect summary and explanation of the main subject. It refers to the legendary cowboys’ ordinary equipment, which included just a few possessions. In a certain sense, the short stories collected in this book are the author’s plunder. Finely illustrated by Michael Capron, My Plunder brings together some engaging tales about cowboys, their culture, and their environment. Each story draws inspiration from true events. They recollect memorable facts, people, and the most characteristic ambiance of rustic life with animals, especially horses and cattle, but also other species. In short, My Plunder conjures up an image of what it means to live a cowboy’s life.

My Plunder is not just an entertaining read. This book is made of two equally important parts: text and pictures. Culbertson has been able to describe cowboys’ adventures in a glowing way. He tells us that cowboys are not legendary figures of the past, but that they are still present and modern. The sympathy he reveals for his characters equals his emotional honesty in describing the events. Culbertson’s narrative is vibrant, and it is clear he writes from real-life experience. If the text is praiseworthy, the illustrations are remarkable too. Both photos and drawings represent characters or situations described in My Plunder. While the photos portray some of the characters of the book, Capron’s pictures stimulate the reader’s imagination. Sketched with rough strokes, they are as full of life and meaning as the written text. My Plunder is a joy for a reader’s mind and eyes.

Sarah Scheele

My Plunder: Westerners and Warriors is a memoir by Myles Culbertson. It consists of 8 vignettes that chronicle the people and lore of his family’s ranch in New Mexico. The short, factual snippets span the entire 20th century and end in 2007, each piece contributing a layer to compile a detailed history. The last (most recent) is written by the author's son-in-law and shares how he embraced the family traditions of the ranch. Photographs of the people represented and thoughtful western art by Mike Capron help bring the story of generations of a family of modern cowboys, their friends, loved ones, and—of course—horses, to life for readers as they see this rugged American lifestyle in operation over the years.

Myles Culbertson’s fascinating glimpse into ranch life in the 20th century is unmatched by anything I’ve read before. It was amazing for me to follow the stories of a horse with a legendary attitude, a father determined to vote even with cracked ribs, a selfless colonel who was a general at heart, a tiny forgotten town enlivened by adventure when cowboys visited, and a young Marine getting his first experience as a real cowboy branding cattle amid gorgeous scenery. From the vintage era through the Vietnam War to the present day, My Plunder: Westerners and Warriors is a nostalgic collection that is grounded and rooted in the unchanging personality of the people who work with cattle and horses and their harsh, yet deeply beautiful environment. This one-of-a-kind book is something I’m delighted to have read and I would recommend it to anyone.