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Western Books, Briefly Noted

“Forced to Abandon Our Fields: The 1914 Clay Southworth Gila River Pima Interviews” by David H. DeJong – 192 pages with eight photographs and three maps, March 31. 2011.

Publisher’s Description: During the nineteenth century, upstream diversions from the Gila River decreased the arable land on the Gila River Indian Reservation to only a few thousand acres. As a result the Pima Indians, primarily an agricultural people, fell into poverty. Many Pima farmers and leaders lamented this suffering and in 1914 the United States Indian Irrigation Service assigned a 33-year-old engineer named Clay “Charles” Southworth to oversee the Gila River adjudication. As part of that process, Southworth interviewed 34 Pima elders, thus putting a face on the depth of hardships facing many Indians in the late nineteenth century.

Reviewer’s Comment: “DeJong’s presentation of the oral interview transcripts is excellent. These interviews are a rich source of cultural and historical information about the Pimas.”—David Rich Lewis, Utah State University

“Montana Moments: History on the Go” by Ellen Baumlier – 200 pages, September 14, 2010, by the Montana Historical Society’s interpretative historian.

Publisher’s Description: Forget dreary dates and boring facts. Montana Moments distills the most funny, bizarre, and interesting stories from Montana’s history into pure entertainment. Meet the colorful cast of the famous and not-so-famous desperadoes, vigilantes, madams, and darned good men and women (and a few critters) who made the state’s history. You’ll get a laugh from the story of the transient vaudevillian who wrote Montana’s state song. Captain James C. Kerr’s tale of the Flathead Lake monster might make you shiver. No matter your reaction, the episodes recounted here always entertain. Best of all, each vignette takes about ninety seconds to read. So have fun exploring Montana – and enjoy a little history as you go.

Reviewer’s Comment: “The pages of Montana Moments overflow with enjoyable historical vignettes that cover nearly everything important that has happened in Montana’s history. Newcomers will find an excellent introduction to what makes Montana tick, while Baumler’s careful research and entertaining writing style will delight old timers.” — Harry Fritz, University of Montana

You may also like:

Montana’s Historical Highway Markers by Jon Axline and Glenda Clay Bradshaw

Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman by MHS Research Staff

Montana Native Plants and Early Peoples by Jeff Hart



set in Glacier National Park

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