In her effort to “disentangle reality from centuries of myth and mystique” (Hampton Sides), historian and author Betsy Gaines Quammen visits Elk River Books on Thursday, Nov. 16, to discuss her book True West: Myth and Mending on the Far Side of America, with journalist and publisher Scott McMillion.
According to the publisher, “True West explores myths of the West and how, if left unexamined, they distort the realities of the present and exacerbate polarizations. These misperceptions about land, politics, liberty, and self-determination threaten the wellbeing of western communities overrun by newcomers seeking a dream—unless America recognizes the dangers of building a national identity on illusion. Gaines Quammen interrogates it all by listening, carefully, to people from varying political and cultural perspectives as she seeks to reconcile the deep anger and broad misunderstandings that linger amid myths that define and impede the West and America.”
Ryan Busse, author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America and current Montana gubernatorial candidate, writes, “This book is an expertly guided tour through the revealing parts of our twisted Western reality. At once beautiful, engaging and disturbing, Betsy’s book is a revealing mirror to the place us westerners call home.”
Gaines Quammen examines the intersections of extremism, public lands, wildlife and western communities. She received a PhD in history from Montana State University, her dissertation focusing on Mormon settlement and public land conflicts, and an MS in environmental studies from University of Montana. She is the author of American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, and Public Lands in the West, and lives in Bozeman with her spouse, science author David Quammen.
An award-winning journalist, McMillion is the editor and publisher of Montana Quarterly and the author of Mark of the Grizzly. He’s been a featured essayist on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” and a frequent guest on radio and television news programs. His writing appears in magazines and newspapers around the nation.
Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.