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Montana: A History of Two Centuries Revised Edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Still, it's difficult to recommend this book to the casual reader. By striving so diligently for completeness and balance, the authors created a product that is weighty, dense, and largely without style. Montana's vibrant, spirited history has been rendered lifeless here, and reading this book can be very slow going. As a professional historian, I find it to be a great reference tool, but its not something that most folks will want to read for fun. Instead, you might consider these two evocative and beautifully-written histories of the state: Joseph Kinsey Howard's "Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome" and K. Ross Toole's "Montana: An Uncommon Land." Both are classics in their field, and are wonderful reads.
While acknowledging that Montana's history dates back thousands of years before white Europeans first appeared on the scene, this text primarily deals with history since the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-1806.
Fur traders and mountain men followed quickly after Lewis and Clark. They explored the land but didn't settle anywhere for long. The populating of Montana began in the western part of the territory in the 1860s with the development of the gold and silver mining districts. Geographically, western and eastern Montana differ greatly. Cattlemen were the first developers of eastern Montana, primarily after 1880, and were followed after 1900 by the farmers of the homestead era. "A History of Two Centuries" is one of the few books to treat development of the entire state evenly.
Gold, cattle, mining, homesteading, railroads, economics, drought, and the evolution from frontier to integration into the United States are all elements of Montana's history. Each of these ingredients caused Montanans to compete forcefully against the natural world and one another. Many of the ingredients have spawned individual books. No other single book covers them all so well.
A lot of the Montana's history is at the heart of America's "Wild West." Few writers have the discipline to describe Montana without getting caught up in the romance of the myth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book years ago, and have been reading it again as I work on my own history of the state. Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by Greg Strandberg