by John Cypher
Ranching on the vast scale that Texas is famous for actually happened at King Ranch, a sea of grass that ultimately spread its pastures to countries around the globe under the fifty-year leadership of Bob Kleberg. This absorbing biography, written by Kleberg’s top assistant of many years, captures both the life of the man and the spirit of the kingdom he ruled, offering a rare, insider’s view of life on a fabled Texas ranch.
John Cypher spent forty years (1948-1988) on King Ranch. In these pages, he melds highlights of Kleberg’s life with memories of his own experiences as the “right hand” who implemented many of Kleberg’s grand designs. In a lively story laced with fascinating anecdotes he both recounts his worldwide travels with Kleberg as the ranch expanded its holdings to Latin America, Cuba, Australia, the Philippines, Europe, and Africa, and describes timeless, traditional tasks such as roundup at the home ranch in Kingsville.
Kleberg’s accomplishments as the founder of the Santa Gertrudis cattle breed and a breeder of Thoroughbred racing horses receive full attention, as does his fabled lifestyle, which included friendships not merely with the rich and famous but also with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who shared his love of horse racing. For everyone interested in ranching and one of its most famous practitioners, this book will be essential reading.