An old cowboy asks Gabe for help with his estranged sons
When he was a teenager, Gabe Wager and his friends in the Denver barrio had no greater idol than Vaquero Tommy Sanchez. One of the rare Mexicans to break through into professional rodeo, Sanchez was a hero to every Hispanic boy with dreams of making it in a white man’s world. By the time Sanchez’s star faded, Wager was away with the Marine Corps, enduring terrors but supported by his memories of hot, dusty rodeo days. Now the old barrio has been bulldozed, Wager is a homicide detective, and Sanchez is little more than a memory of faded glory. The retired cowboy’s estranged sons are following in his footsteps, and he fears they may have fallen in with a bad crowd. He asks Wager to find them and keep them out of trouble. Wager agrees, even though rogue police work could cost him his badge. What man could ever refuse his boyhood hero?
In this gem of a book, the founder-editor of Mother Jones recalls growing up in New York City and on an idyllic Adirondack estate, the only child of wealthy parents who married late, and his painful relationship with his powerful, respected father. Despite his benevolent intentions, Harold Hochschildthe politically liberal chairman of a multinational firm that made its money by polluting, strip-mining and desecrating land that its inhabitants regarded as sacredintimidated his son; and as the son grew older, he did all he could to separate himself from his father's way of life. They fought "not like wrestlers but like diplomats''; their arguments were always polite and controlled, as if they were disagreeing over something trivial instead of over the course of young Hochschild's life. In this sensitive memoir, the so-very-correct German-Jewish-American parent is contrasted with his genial brother-in-law, a retired, decorated Czarist air-force pilot, who used his wife's ample funds to lavish money on more attractive women. Yet, as Hochschild senior mellowed in his 80s, his son grew to tolerate, appreciate and finally love the man he had feared all his life.