Good book on Montana history?

We’re going to embark on our one-year RV oddysey (or possibly ‘oddity’) next spring. We plan to spend some time in Montana exploring both the northwest Flathead Lake area (among others) and the Missouri Breaks area. Montana has a rich history and I’d like to pick up a good book (or two) that gives a good feel for the area. My brother-in-law is somewhat of an expert on the place and has a huge library, but I’d rather drill holes in my kneecaps than even speak to the prick. So I turn to Dopers to point me in the right direction.

I enjoyed Speaking Ill of the Dead.

Possibly not the kind of history you have in mind, but if you’re at all interested in geology, you should bring The Roadside Geology of Montana with you on your trip. When I lived in Montana, I kept this book in my car, as I never knew when I’d look out the window and see some intriguing/beautiful rock formations rising up on the landscape. The book is conveniently organized by highways, so it’s a good idea to read about your driving route ahead of time; otherwise, your driving companion can read aloud and tell you what you’re missing while you keep your eyes on the road. :slight_smile:

Not exactly what I’m looking for. I would expect a book called “Jerks in Montana History” to be a biography of my BIL, though.

I’m looking more for exploration, pioneer settlement, impact to tribal territory, things of that nature. I’ve read “Undaunted Courage”, about the Lewis & Clark expedition. It was very informative, but doesn’t really talk about the rest of the territory.

This looks very promising. I’ll order a copy.

It is not precisely Montana history, but I highly recommend Cheyenne Memories, an history of the Cheyenne Tribe. The author, John Stands in Timber, was a member of the tribe who lived on the reservation from the 1880’s to the 1960’s. During his effort to record the tribe’s history, he was able to interview some of the survivors from the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Somewhat limited in scope, but War of the Copper Kings is a good recounting of the history of the mining industry in Butte. For more general information, there’s also this list.

Another possible resource is the Montana Historical Society.

Another series of books, completely off the topic of the actual history of Montana, but wonderful to read for a sense of local character is the Gabriel DuPre books by Peter Bowen. Gives a good feel for rural, Indian, and second or third generation Montanans (ians? ites?).

Highly recommend, great protagonist.

“A Roaring in the Wind” by Robert L Taylor is historical fiction, and pretty funny.

The WPA Guide to 1930s Montana

Roadside History of Montana

Montana - High, Wide and Handsome.

Not a “history” book per se - more this one guy tracing his family roots all over the state. But a GREAT read about Montana is “Ghost Hunting in Montana” http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Hunting-Montana-Search-Roots/dp/1585747203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225079589&sr=1-1

A friend, who was living outside Kalispell at the time, sent this to me and I absolutely loved it. I think it will be a great pre-requisite for travelling around the state (this guy’s family was spread all over the state). He gives great “views” of what each city is like today, as well as some history about how the city got it’s start, etc…