The best books on Montana during WWI

The Books I Picked & Why

Bad Land: An American Romance

By Jonathan Raban

Bad Land: An American Romance

Why this book?

Evocative and clear-eyed introduction to the western landscape; this compelling read orients readers firmly in place and time. It’s carefully researched nonfiction that reads like a suspense thriller; you’ll spend many nights reading it past your bedtime.


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Homesteading: A Montana Family Album

By Percy Wollaston

Homesteading: A Montana Family Album

Why this book?

This book convinced me I would never have survived as a homesteader! Though not a professional writer, Wollaston does an incredible job of drawing in the reader and sharing heartwarming and heartwrenching details about the homesteader’s life.


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Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron

By Donna M. Lucey

Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron

Why this book?

The story behind this book is nearly as fascinating as the book itself. Evelyn Cameron—Lady Cameron!—accompanied her ne’er do well husband to Montana with a scheme to raise thoroughbreds. When that failed, her husband fell into despair and it was up to Evelyn to put food on the table. She did that by photographing what she saw around her: everything from staged and romanticized “Western photos” that she sold to magazines back East, to interiors of dreary homestead claim shacks. Her glass plate negatives were converted to greenhouses after her passing but were thankfully discovered and restored, resulting in this incredible book of photographs.


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When You & I Were Young, Whitefish

By Dorothy M. Johnson

When You & I Were Young, Whitefish

Why this book?

Dorothy M. Johnson wrote three short stories that were made into Western movies: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; The Hanging Tree; and A Man Called Horse. But this collection is a light-hearted visit to her childhood, growing up near Glacier National Park. A quick but delightful read to balance out some of the chewier reading I’ve suggested.


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Traveler's Companion to Montana History

By Carroll Van West

Traveler's Companion to Montana History

Why this book?

The author, a history professor and Tennessee State Historian, provides an in-depth look into Montana history, region by region. The academic tone is nicely balanced by the people and events presented on the pages – plain folk to preachers and everything in between. A great companion to Jonathan Raban’s Badland.


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