Elk River Books will host a reading by Ken Egan, executive director of Humanities Montana, who will share excerpts from his new book, Montana 1864: Indians, Emigrants, and Gold in the Territorial Year at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 14.
Egan chose that year because of its significance in Montana history. According to a press release, 1864 was “spurred by a perfect storm of the Civil War, the discovery of gold, and the relentless push of white Americans into Indian lands.
“The book takes readers through the year from the Vigilante hangings in January to the first territorial legislature in December. The history is told with intertwined stories about Indians, traders, gold miners, trail blazers, fortune-seekers, settlers, presidents and outlaws. ‘These are the characters who changed Montana, including those who resisted the change with words and war,’” Egan says.
Bruce Whittenburg, director of the Montana Historical Society, says that year was “one of the most important, wild, and exciting years in the history of the West, and Ken Egan brings it to life. [He] is a wonderful story-teller.” Tim Lehmann, author of Bloodshed at the Little Bighorn says Egan’s book “is a pleasure to read, perfect for anyone with an interest in Montana history. Richly developed characters, lively prose, and a richly nuanced sense of the moment.”
A Polson native and Great Falls high school alumnus, Egan has a PhD in American literature and has taught writing at colleges from Vermont to Greece to Slovakia. All royalties from the book go to support Humanities Montana programs. His reading is free and open to the public, and will take place upstairs at Elk River Books and the Wheatgrass Saloon, 120 N. Main St. in Livingston. The reading will be followed by a signing and reception. For more information, call 333-2330.