The remarkable story of Sandra Day O’Connor’s family and early life, her journey to adulthood in the American Southwest that helped make her the woman she is today: the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and one of the most powerful women in America.
“A charming memoir about growing up as sturdy cowboys and cowgirls in a time now past.”—USA Today
In this illuminating and unusual book, Sandra Day O’Connor tells, with her brother, Alan, the story of the Day family, and of growing up on the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B ranch in Arizona. Laced throughout these stories about three generations of the Day family, and everyday life on the Lazy B, are the lessons Sandra and Alan learned about the world, self-reliance, and survival, and how the land, people, and values of the Lazy B shaped them.
This fascinating glimpse of life in the Southwest in the last century recounts an important time in American history, and provides an enduring portrait of an independent young woman on the brink of becoming one of the most prominent figures in America.
Windswept plains, herds of cattle, ornery horses and hard-bitten cowboys fill the childhood memories of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who grew up on the Lazy B, a Texas cattle ranch. In this memoir, she writes of the ranch's history, from its founding in the 1880s by her grandfather to the sad moment when the family sold it in 1986. O'Connor gives a detailed account of ranch life: the hard work, the urgent dependence on rain, the colorful characters who worked on the ranch, the bureaucracy of government officials and land-use permits, and her own happy childhood memories of hours in the saddle. The mood is warm and nostalgic: she does not mention any conflict with her parents, failed romances, serious illnesses or other negative experiences, other than a brief comment that she wasn't happy in one school and switched to another. O'Connor frequently stresses that to succeed in ranching, one had to be tough, resilient and hardworking, but she contrasts that toughness with the ranchers' warm hearts. Talking of her babyhood surrounded by cowboys, she says, "My babysitters were tobacco-chewing, unshaven, unbathed, Levi-clad and tough as nails, but they would talk baby talk and try for hours to keep baby Sandra happy." O'Connor is not a professional narrator and it shows: she is clearly "reading aloud" without spontaneity, and her reading is mostly one-note, without the varied inflections and shades of emotion that a professional narrator would bring. Still, her voice is pleasant, with a slight Texas twang, and she conveys warmth and affection for her childhood home. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 10, 2001).
I was born in Colorado in1935. The reading of Day O 'Conner's life on the Lazy B renewed my deep feelings for The west. During WWII I moved all over North America as Dad was a Govt. employee who was raised in California, but born in Nebraska. Mom was born in Colorado. They were, (parents) very sophisticated, but never stopped paying homage to their roots. That special regard for freedom with responsibility, generosity with frugality resides within me and I am very proud to be a Westerner.
Thank You so much for the sweet read.
The style of writing is as straight forward as she seems to be. Truthful and unadorned, it is a great tale of history.
Great characters, great stories
Justice O'Connor reveals with great wit and sensibility how life on the ranch shaped her values laying the foundation for her historic appointment to the Supreme Court. The people of the ranch and the great challenge of running a cattle ranch in the middle of the desert show us a lifestyle that few can fully appreciate or understand from our modern day perspective. The book is full of insight and thoughtful reflection on life and family and gives us a sense of what the "Old West" must have really been like. Good for quite a few full belly laughs, lots of chuckles, many "aha moments" and even a few tears. An absolute must read!