Children’s Book Tells About Seagoing Cowboys Who Delivered Livestock–And Hope

From a Brethren Press release

Beginning in 1945, while Europe struggled with the desolation left by years of war, more than 7,000 men and boys traveled by ship on missions of mercy. They were seagoing cowboys–farmhands and folks from all walks of life: teachers, students, bankers, preachers, carpenters–who were recruited to care for the thousands of horses and heifers sent for reparations.

Author Peggy Reiff Miller, granddaughter of one such cowboy, tells their story for young readers in “The Seagoing Cowboy,” illustrated by Claire Ewart and published by Brethren Press ($18.99 hardcover, available March 31, ).

“The Seagoing Cowboy” follows a young man and his friend as they board a ship bound for Poland. One cares for horses, the other for heifers on the weeks-long journey. What they see when they arrive is sobering: the war had left the country in ruins, and many people had nothing left. The horses and heifers would go a long way in helping them rebuild their lives. Archival photographs, a map, and an author’s note supplement the story.

After her grandfather died, Miller’s father gave her a stack of photos. That’s how she learned that her grandfather had participated in this program. “Like my grandfather, many seagoing cowboys never talked about their experience with their grandchildren,” she says. “With this book, I wanted to give families a tool to share the story with the younger generation–a story of how people helped to repair a broken world after a major war.”

The seagoing cowboys program was made possible by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, an international relief agency supported by 44 nations. The Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, begun by then-denominational staff member Dan West, played an important role in helping to recruit volunteers and in sending livestock. Ultimately more than 200,000 head of livestock were sent to Europe and other countries devastated by war. The program eventually evolved into today’s Heifer International.

Early bird discounts are available through March 1, for those wanting to purchase quantities of “The Seagoing Cowboy.” Orders of 3 to 9 copies may be purchased for $15 each copy, a savings of $3.99. Orders of 10 or more copies may be purchased for $12 each copy, a savings of $6.99. Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 for further details or visit the Brethren Press website: .

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