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viewing the Best Books About Montana topic in the Arts, Poetry & Literature
Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 5/6/2006 2:54:34 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Gunnar Emilsson, 5/30/2006 4:01:02 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Buck Showalter, 5/30/2006 7:36:48 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Big Dave, 5/30/2006 7:59:38 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 5/31/2006 6:55:41 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Brian A. Reed, 5/31/2006 2:33:14 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Cory Cutting, 5/31/2006 3:27:43 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Van, 5/31/2006 3:58:30 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Brian A. Reed, 5/31/2006 6:12:31 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Big Dave, 5/31/2006 8:12:30 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Brian A. Reed, 5/31/2006 8:41:31 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Frank E. Ross, 5/31/2006 10:44:42 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Buck Showalter, 6/1/2006 1:50:33 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Brian A. Reed, 6/1/2006 8:47:28 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Bridgier, 6/1/2006 1:21:35 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Brian A. Reed, 6/1/2006 2:34:30 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 6/1/2006 2:47:14 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Kyle L. Varnell, 6/1/2006 4:51:43 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Buck Showalter, 6/2/2006 1:22:38 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Buck Showalter, 6/2/2006 1:32:54 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Gunnar Emilsson, 8/14/2006 11:02:35 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Big Dave, 8/14/2006 2:52:25 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Ken Ziebarth, 8/14/2006 8:24:30 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Jack McRae, 8/14/2006 10:31:08 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 9/24/2006 9:16:52 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Frank E. Ross, 9/24/2006 6:30:03 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 9/25/2006 8:08:55 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Dona Stebbins, 9/25/2006 10:20:00 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Ken Ziebarth, 9/25/2006 9:29:24 PM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 9/26/2006 7:39:36 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Hal Neumann, 9/28/2006 6:16:00 AM
RE: Best Books About Montana, Big Dave, 12/11/2007 12:44:31 PM
|Fritz, Harry W. "Essay On The West: The Best Books About Montana, Twenty-First-Century Edition," MONTANA: THE MAGAZINE OF WESTERN HISTORY, Autumn 2002.
Your favorite five books about Montana?
|Good to see my favorite Montana book, "Stay Away Joe" on the list...another Dan Cushman book, "Montana, the Gold Frontier" should be on it.
I would also add "Smoke Wars".
|My favorite is Counting Coup by Larry Colton. It's a heartbreaker.
|Just couldn't let this one pass without throwing out one of my favorites, "The Conquest of the Missouri". This book is about Grant Marsh, the guy who piloted the Far West up to the mouth of the Little Bighorn and then took wounded soldiers back to Bismarck. It is a biography of Marsh, but contains tons of interesting history.
And, I cannot argue with any of the other choices. Just finished Counting Coup - loved it.
Man it's hard to come up with just a handful of favorites - I can probably pull 50 or more off of my shelves that I think people should read and another 100 that they ought to read. And about all I have on the shelves are histories. When you take into account the fiction and other non-fiction genres it gets even harder
But, whoever the idiot was who started this thread limited it to 5 books - - so in no particular order:
Mary Clearman Blew. ALL BUT THE WALTZ: A MEMOIR OF FIVE GENERATIONS IN THE LIFE OF A MONTANA FAMILY
E.C. Abbott and Helena Huntington Smith. WE POINTED THEM NORTH: RECOLLECTIONS OF A COWPUNCHER
William Kittredge and Annick Smith, eds. THE LAST BEST PLACE: A MONTANA ANTHOLOGY
AB Guthrie. THE BIG SKY
Mark Herbert Brown. THE PLAINSMEN OF THE YELLOWSTONE: A HISTORY OF THE YELLOWSTONE BASIN
(I'm sure dating myself with this selection)
|Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West is a good read. But for all the hoopla about Counting Coups, I really dislike it because of its inaccuracies and the chicken-s**t way Larry Colton avoided getting sued by changing certain names in the book. Cowgirl coach Gary Vels? I mean, c'mon...
Ask Coach Veis how he feels about the book...and then stand back.
|Was Coach unflatteringly portrayed in the book?
|Anything by Norman Mclean. A River Runs Trough it
|You could say that, Cory. That's why he was referred to as "Gary Vels" in the book instead of Cary Veis.
My guess is that renaming bit characters happens frequently with warts and all books like this. Veis was at best a bit player, so why would an author get hung up on that issue when the real issue is publishing his book. My question for you would be, if that was Colton's honest opinion of Veis' coaching style, should he have not included it? I guess I would like to hear why Veis is so torqued. As I recall there was nothing slanderous or libelous, but Colton darned sure didn't appreciate his coaching. I liked Colton's commentary about writing the book in that he held a mirror up to the community in Hardin and on the Crow Reservation - maybe Veis should try looking at it from that perspective. So I guess another question for you would be, "Did Colton accurately portray the characters and the world of Hardin basketball inaccurately?"
I don't think there are too many people that can be pleased with their portrayal in the book, but I think it was all pretty accurate.
|It's my understanding that Veis felt (and I can see why) that Colton portrayed him as a misogynist and racist tyrant. There have also been reports that Colton asked questions of the girls in the book that no man should ask a high school girl (or anyone for that matter).
|My vote for some of the best books about Montana.
Any and all of James Welch's books: Fools Crow and The Death of Jim Loney in particular.
Mary Clearman Blue: All But The Waltz.
Norman Maclean: Young Men and Fire.
Ivan Doing: This House of Sky and Heart Home.
Western Prose and Poetry edited by Rufus Coleman.
A Bride Goes West by Nannie T. Alderson and Helena Huntington Smith.
Plenty-coups Chief of the Crows by Frank B. Linderman.
|I'm not going to read the rest of this jacksh*t, but I guess you never met Carey Veis or have gone further west than Forsyth. I didn't say you were going to get a pretty picture, just an accurate one.
This is where the edit begins:
First, an intenet cliche - LOL
Veis a mysogynist and tyrant? No offense to the guy, but have you met him? Give me frickin' break.
I think I mentioned the 1997-2001 Cowgirls as a serious contender for MC's best - now let's see if we can remember that title game against Colstrip. Tyrant? Hmm... yeah, guess so. Mysogynist? Hard to substantiate.
Larry Colton never surprised me, he just put MT life on paper.
If I had any money, I'd put it where my mouth is. 12 angry men can tell you that this is Montana (as bleak as it is - lest we forget who cares about the last 30 all-state lineman)
[This message has been edited by Buck Showalter (edited 6/1/2006).]
|Buck, I was the sports editor for the Star from 2001-03. I continue to keep the record book for the Cowgirl basketball team. I graduated from CCDHS in 1995. You could say that I have met Cary Veis, having had him as a teacher and having worked with and around him.
He is an enigma in many ways, but I have never questioned the devotion he has toward Cowgirl Basketball and Custer County District High School. Adrenaline sometimes gets the better of him during game situations, but I can't think of a coach who cares more about his players than Cary. I say this having known him for 15 years.
"I think I mentioned the 1997-2001 Cowgirls as a serious contender for MC's best - now let's see if we can remember that title game against Colstrip."
If you can remember a state title game against Colstrip then I can't help but question everything else in your post. The Cowgirls have never played Colstrip in a state championship game - MC defeated Livingston for the 1988 and 1989 state titles, Lewistown for the 1998 state championship and Glendive for the 2000 championship. They lost to Laurel last season (it was a long time ago, so just in case you forgot...)
If you mean a divisional championship game between the Cowgirls and Fillies, there were a few of those: 1997, 1998 and 1999, with the Cowgirls winning all three. I believe the game to which you were referring was the third-place game in 1997, which Colstrip won 46-44 over Miles City. Would you like the complete series history between the Cowgirls and Fillies? How about the score of every game the Cowgirls have ever played?
Question my taste in books if you like, but if you want to argue CCDHS sports history, at least know what you're talking about before you mock me.
[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (edited 6/1/2006).]
|Coaches are an odd breed. I know several who are the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet, but when the clock starts they turn into raving nutjobs.
Is Veis intense? Yup. Do the kids love him? If I remember correctly, they did. Is it possible that he went over the line in a third place game at divisionals? I've seen coaches cross the line in a junior high jv wrestling match between a pair of 60 pounders, so I'm going to suppose he probably could.
On the one hand, Mr. Colton's book (which I haven't read) was about the HARDIN basketball team - and any tangential characters probably didn't get much more than a cursory treatment. If all he saw was one instant of a coach behaving badly, then it probably wasn't flattering. After all, how do most people remember Woody Hayes?
|Good point, Bridgier. Kudos on the usage of "tangential" by the way. I've always liked the word "tertiary" myself.
|>> A Bride Goes West. . .
Ah great choice.
another good read (although taking place later in time) is Percy Wollaston's book on Ismay.
Wollaston, Percy. HOMESTEADING (New York: Lyons & Burford, 1997).
|My question to everyone is this: Are there any good books (preferably non-fiction) about Custer County in general, and the Miles City area in specific?
I'd love to learn more about the area where my mom's parents were born (actually my mom's dad was born in Tennessee and moved to MC when he was roughly 12) and spent a significant portion of thier lives. I suspect that some of the more common/obvious reading will be about Custer & the Battle Of Little Bighorn.
While I'd certainly enjoy reading the many books about his "Last Stand" I'd prefer to read things about Custer County that aren't as well known or are as talked about as the Last Stand is.
Thanks for any recomendations you can give me.
|My bad - Colstrip, Glendive, Lewistown. I mixed up my city, but you're the expert, so you know the title game I refer to.
The other reality is that Miles City is a small place. I guess you can disagree with Colton's view and I can agree. Everyone who knows Veis can judge for themselves. And it's hardly a book about him anyway - the tension between MC and Hardin and red and white is only a side story. Why would Colton use Veis' name, risking a lawsuit (that he would win anyway) when there are total of 8,000 people who know or care that Veis exists?
[This message has been edited by Buck Showalter (edited 6/2/2006).]
|I will give you one thing, come to think of it. Why call him Gary Vels? He could have been Bob Smith or any other thing, as I complain that only 8,000 people know him. Odd.
I still think it's accurate though. And a really great story of events that continue to occur in the lives of a whole new generation on Montana's reservations.
|So I just read "Counting Coops" this weekend (spent far too much time flying to, from, and in the MSP airport)...for the life of me, I don't see why any of you gets so worked up over the "Gary Wels" character...he is briefly mentioned twice in passing, and he is hollering at his own team, not the opposition...not a thing anywhere that would give anyone a hint of rascism about him or Miles City, for that matter. Billings Central got most of the rascist brunt of things...and since it is Billings, who cares?
I liked the book...perfect read for being stuck in the airport.
Was the book about quantifying buildings in which chickens reside?
Just couldn't resist on that one.
|I would certainly second (or third) the recommendation of Mary Clearman Blew's ALL BUT THE WALTZ. The best descriptions of the kinds of issues and occurances faced by our Montana ancestors.
And BADLAND by Jonathan Raban is a fascinating history of people, both 'stickers' and 'bolters' who settled in the eastern Custer County area around Ismay. My grandparents were a little farther east, just across the state line, but it was clearly about their generation.
|I'm going to have to re-read Badlands as I didn't find it that impressive when it first came out. Trouble is I can't remember why anymore--maybe not enough sex and violence.
What do you all think of Ivan Doig's latest book--The Whistling Season? I enjoyed it more than a lot of his books.
|The Montana Center for the Book's OpenBook website has some great "Montana reads" in it's list of books.
It would be interesting to go through the books we've listed in this (and other threads) and see about coming up with a (formal or informal) milescity.com OpenBook series.
My input on your asking about Ivan Doig's latest book "The Whistling Season". I purchased the book before it was available from my local book store on the recommendation of someone else. I should know bettter!
When first starting the book I was reminded of some of the crap that Stan Lynde has written, but it got better as I went along. I liked Doig's upholding the good that Montana's rural schools have done although (I attended one in Montana for a number of years) I think he gave them too much credit. Anyway in retrospect, I would not have purchased the book if I had read it in advance. I have never appreciated Doing's novels although his two non-fiction books are classics in both literature and in Montana history!!!
Could someone tell me why some of the input previously made to this site, forum, thread (what the hell ever you call it) has been deleted.
I would also like to take this opportunity to tell everyone about a book I have recently read (and has recently been published).
It is titled "The Looming Tower" Al-Queda and the Road to 9/11 written by Lawrence Wright and published by Knopf. I feel it should be required reading for every voting citizen of this country (and I don't say that lightly).
Frank E. Ross
|I was kind of disappointed with BADLANDS. It's a good read and Raban does a good job of summarizing homesteading as a national event . . . but I didn't come away from the book with a sense of place.
It could have been the story of any of hundreds of homestead communities across the American West. I guess I was hoping to read something more firmly rooted in Southeastern Montana. Part of that is because I have family who homesteaded and ranched in and around Ismay, in the Knowlton Hills, and along the lower Powder River. So, I suppose, I was wanting to read something that was more firmly anchored in the land.
I wouldn't not recommend Raban's book, but I would recommend that folks also read other works on homesteading in Montana and not rely solely on his work.
One that I would recommend would be Percy Wollaston's memoir. Raban cites it extensively in his book, so why not go straight to the source
Wollaston, Percy. HOMESTEADING (1997).
Notes: Pioneers -- Montana -- Ismay -- Biography; Frontier and pioneer life -- Montana -- Ismay; Named Person: Wollaston, Percy, 1904- -- Childhood and youth; Ismay (Mont.) -- Biography; Ismay (Mont.) -- Social life and customs.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Frank E. Ross wrote
>> Could someone tell me why some of the input previously made to this site, forum, thread (what the hell ever you call it) has been deleted.
Frank, part of the problem is that we have two "Best Books" threads going - this one and another. I picked the wrong one when I posted yesterday - I meant to resurrect this one - sorry
|I recommend "Perma Red" by Debra Magpie Earling. She deserves to be better known.
|I agree with Hal's description of Badland, but liked it for the descriptions of the varied kinds of people who tried to homestead in Eastern Montana, Western Dakota, rather than the descriptions of the land. I was especially interested in the observation that when people left they often went straight west, ending up in Western Montana or the Pacific Northwest rather than California. In the fall of 1935 my parents got married (young) and took his brother with them west. They ended up in Yakima picking apples. They didn't stay there, but went back every winter for several years. In the '50s we went back there on a family vacation and met the people they worked for and with. When they finally left farm/ranch life it was to Miles City when I needed to start school.
Speaking of moving west, brings me to the new Doig novel. I didn't find it as good as the earlier ones. Somehow the family wasn't has well constructed as the 'English Creek' ones and the story wasn't as gripping as either Bucking the Sun or Prairie Nocturne. But my wife thought it was his best yet.
I have to agree with you - - it is interesting to read about what happened to the folks who didn't make a go of it homesteading. I think their stories are as interesting and as important as are the stories of those who managed to stay on the land.
When you think of what life threw at them, all those who tried their hand at homesteading in the early 1900s lived responded to some big challenges.
- - Severing old ties and moving to Montana.
- - The rigors of trying to make a go of dry land farming.
- - Building a life on the farm / building new communities.
- - Meeting war-time challenges.
- - The 1918 Influenza out break (some sources now say that 10 percent or more of Montanans died from that flu out break).
- - The bottom dropping out of the ag prices at the War's end.
- - The drought of the 1920s / grasshoppers, hail, wildfire, etc.
Those who hung in there and stayed with the land were some tough and stubborn folks. But life sure wasn't any great bed of roses for those who left the homestead and scrambled for other ways to support themselves and their families.
Although it's set (for the most part) in Spokane Breaking Blue (1992) by Timothy Egan does a good job of telling the story of some of those who were "displaced" from the land in the 20s and 30s and ended up in eastern Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana. On the surface Breaking Blue belongs to the "true crime" genre, but Egan does a great job of showing what life was like for some who lost the farm and had to move West and scramble to survive.
|Book Review: "Motherlode"
"'Motherlode' Honors Butte's Hidden Resource - Its Women"
By Edwin Dobb
September 27, 2006
- - - - - - - - - -
Janet Finn and Ellen Crain, editors. MOTHERLODE: LEGACIES OF WOMEN'S LIVES AND LABORS IN BUTTE, MONTANA (Livingston, MT: Clark City Press, 2006).
Just found another book that should be on this list. Maybe it was mentioned and I missed it. The book is "Tough Trip Through Paradise" by Andrew Garcia. I plucked it off an airport rack, and I love it. Interesting story and the writing is outstanding. Can't remember laughing that many times when reading normal history.