Customer Reviews for

Montana, 1948

Average Rating 4.5
( 130 )
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(58)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Great, but short.

    This novel is fast paced, brilliantly populated, and beautifully set. The author does a great job of articulating his alienated characters over the unforgiving landscape he has created. I recommend it, but with one reservation... it's too short.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    High school review

    Montana1948, a novel by Larry Watson, deserves a 4 star rating because of its meaningful, relevant content and well-written exploration of the depth and changes of character of the main personas as a result of making difficult choices under immense pressure. Montana 1948 lays out the experiences of David Hayden, a 12 year old boy, during one summer in the small town of Bentrock. From the very first page, the author indicates the significance of the events that are to follow and provides snapshots of a few particularly vivid moments. Soon after the characters have been described the action proceeds and tension begins to build between the characters. By the time the final chapter is reached David had left behind his childhood and been forced to drastically change his perspective on both his family and the world they live in. As stated in the 1993 book review by Booklist, Montana 1948 is a ¿reflection on the hopelessly complex issue of doing the right thing ¿ and on the courage it takes to face one¿s demons.¿ Many times throughout the narrative characters have questioned the `right choice¿, as when Len, the deputy, spoke of learning when to look away, as when David¿s father decided to lock his brother in the basement, and as when, at the conclusion, David felt that he had lost all belief in the rule of law. David¿s father faced the knowledge of his brother¿s crimes and stood up against his father to bring Frank to justice. Secondly, as stated in the above mentioned book review, Montana 1948 also explores the ¿cataclysmic events on naturally reticent people.¿ David¿s perspective of nearly all the people in his family life is forever altered by his exposure to other, hidden sides of them. Because armed men came into their yard, David saw his mother use a shotgun. Because Marie spoke out, David realized that his uncle was not as wonderful as he seemed. Because of the combination of nearly unbearable living conditions and the admitted guilt of Frank, David¿s mother and father completely switched sides his mother now asked that Frank be released and his father could not do so. When faced with such a stark admission, he could no longer pretend nothing was happening.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Where Your Loyalty Lies.

    This short book is one that expresses the importance of justice, family, and loyalty, as well as decision making and power. Decision making and loyalty are closely tied in this book. You also begin to question yourself as you read. Would you stay loyal to justice and the good of the whole, or abuse your power to stay loyal to your family? These intriguing questions will keep you interested and wanting to read on. This quick read is one that is sure to keep your attention and keep you thinking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 1999

    Montana: 1948

    Montana: 1948, written by Larry Watson, is an example of a four star novel. It is clear and interesting. He introduces to the reader a story of a family torn by a scandal. The Hayden family lives in a small rural town of Montana. The silent scandal is revealed to the reader through the eyes of a twelve year old boy whose innocence and truth allows justice to prevail against the immoral acts committed by his uncle Frank. A review that appeared in Publishers Weekly said, 'David confronts his uncle's racism and the evasions and denials his family has constructed to cover up the affair. In crisp, restrained prose, Watson indelibly portrays the moral dilemma of a family torn between justice and loyalty.' I agree with this statement because the family of this man (Uncle Frank) hides the fact that he had been taking advantage of young Indian girls in his past. When he is confronted by his brother the town sheriff, Frank's father backs him up and accuses Wesley of jealousy and that Wes is only confronting Frank in revenge. The father believes that one should know when to look and when to look away. The cover for this crime is hidden through the prejudice that swarmed so many cities alike in that time. Wesley, his son, and his wife stand up for what is right, and choose justice over loyalty to the family by deciding to go through with the arrest of Uncle Frank. Barbara Hoffert from the Library Journal said, 'The moral issues, and the consequences of following one's conscience, are made painfully evident here. Watson is to be congratulated for the honesty of his writing and the purity of his prose.' I agree with this statement made by Ms. Hoffert because when the Haydens face the issues involved with the scandal, many moral issues arise. One's conscience is challenged here. Should the man of the law stay true to the law, or should there be special conditions when a family member is involved? The answer is painful in itself because in order to fulfill justice, Uncle Frank takes the blow. The story exposes the cruelty of human nature through the crimes committed by Uncle Frank and also the crime of his father who didn't hold Frank accountable for his actions. The honesty of Watson's writing tends to draw the reader in, wanting to help the author in his painful dilemma. I don't agree with Barbara Finkelstein from The New York Times Book Review, who said, 'Purple prose is the real culprit in this shallow overwrought tale.' I believe that the intense language developed the characters of the story and fit the times that the book was based on. David's detailed descriptions in his imaginations of woman weren't inappropriate. I believe that it showed the true thoughts of all boys at his age. Watson didn't deny the reader of any truths of sexual impurities that the characters had; thus, revealing all honesty and truth of the whole story. I gave the book four stars instead of five because although I thought the story was clear and had a strong plot, character development wasn't high on Watson's list. His story revealed many areas of the human condition and displayed the pain and suffering of each of the characters well. I was left wondering about the characters on a more personal level.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    A good story

    This was one of those books that you cant put down. It makes.you wonder whats gonna happe next.and i love thie twist at the end

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    3.75 stars.

    My first book of Larry Watson's and I would definitely read another of his again. Although the synopsis reads as if this were a mystery it is not. It's just a coming of age event in a teenager's life described in the no nonsense writing style of most Western writers. A hearty thumbs up for this one. Can't wait to read its prequel-esque partner, "Justice."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    Quick but taut read.

    This relatively short book can, and unless you start on it very late in the day, will most likely be read by you in one sitting because your mind demands to know what happens next. Completely different than what I espected, but in a good way.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    A young boy endures his parents hardships as the family deals with unexpected events that tears the family apart.

    Montana 1948 shows how a small town can be subjected to politics and justice at the same time. The father of a young boy is the law in a town that has many American Indians living in it. After the death of one of the young women from the reservation, questions begin to arise about the Sherriff's brother who by the way is the town Doctor. The father of the two men owns a lot of political capital earned while he was the Sherriff of the same town years earlier. The Story comes to a head and the conflict within the family of the young boy which includes the grand parents and his mom, who is the inlaw to everyone involved. Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    ALL AROUND GOOD BOOK!

    ¿When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books¿. This is exactly the fist thing that I thought when my teacher showed us the book. I thought, ¿Oh my god. This book is so boring with all the wheat fields and the front! How could this book possibly be a good book?¿ The book started off a little slow for me, but I stuck with it hoping that is would get better. And what do you know, it did. What I loved about this book is that it wasn¿t just a story about farming and buying 25 cent candies, it was actually in depth and told an actual story. With the whole thing about Uncle Frank ¿killing¿ Marie and them trying to figure out how she got so sick, it got you into it right there. Then, when you least expect it, they think that Uncle Frank is raping these Indian girls. This took the book to a whole other level! You don¿t expect something like this because in the beginning it just starts out with David, a 12-year-old boy, living his life on the farm with his family and him describing there life. Then you get back into the good stuff. When the father, Wesley. Hears these rumors about Frank it¿s almost too hard him to believe. What makes this even harder for him is the fact that he is the Sherriff and Frank is his brother. More and more evidence starts to come in about these horrific rumors. They even go as far as to questioning a few of the Indian girls. Now what is he to do? A reviewer describes this part as ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ With this I would have to agree. He finally takes the step to take in his brother and lock him up in his basement. This would frighten me to be living in a house with a crazed Uncle that god only knows what he would do to my family and I if he had enough guts to kill our housekeeper. I highly recommend this book. I had a wonderful time reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2006

    Montana 1948

    When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books. I assumed that it was going to be a rough read and that I would have to bear it out to the finish. But as I started reading, I was sucked in and couldn¿t stop. Montana is told in the eyes of an innocent twelve-year-old boy, David Hayden. Life is seemingly going well for David and his parents, Wesley and Gail, until they find out that their Sioux housekeeper and long-time family friend Marie Little Soldier has become ill from pneumonia. They are worried about her health, so they call in Uncle Frank, a local war hero and town physician. Marie quickly refused to be examined by Uncle Frank but for an unknown reason. When Marie is being examined, David hears screams and moans coming from the room. He thought nothing of them because he thought it was just standard procedure. As the story continues, the suspense increases as you find out why Marie didn¿t want to be examined. She has been told that Frank molests and rapes Indian patients. When Wes finds out about this issue, he confronts Frank and they both make racial remarks about Native-Americans. Publisher Weekly said that Watson ¿illuminates some dark corners of our national history.¿ I believe that Larry Watson put racism into his book to show that racism is still a major problem in today¿s society and that it is a hated topic that is ignored but should be considered. As Marie¿s health is clearly improving, she suddenly dies. The day of Marie¿s death, David actually witnessed Uncle Frank sneaking out the back door of their house. He finally confesses to his parents and tells them the truth about Marie¿s death. Wesley was completely shocked by this situation and ponders carefully about what he should do to Frank, since being the town sheriff. He takes it into deep consideration and does the only thing he could morally do arrest his brother Frank. But to save the family¿s name from total humiliations, he locks Uncle Frank up in their basement. Barbara Hoffert from the Library Journal says, ¿The moral issues and the consequences of following ones conscience are made painfully evident here.¿ This evidently true being that Wesley had to arrest his own brother and choose justice over family loyalty, which I think was the correct decision in this circumstance. This book was very realistic because it was a prime example of how power is abused and how karma can strike back. This book was fantastic and I would rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to walk away from the book with new morals and outlooks on life. Words: 459

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    not your boring back-in-the-day story

    'When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books.' This is exactly the first thing that I thought when my teacher showed us the book. I thought, ¿Oh my god. This book looks so boring with all the wheat fields on the front! How could this possibly be a good book?¿ The book started off a little slow for me, but I stuck with it hoping that it would get better. And what do you know, it did. What I loved about this book is that it wasn¿t just about farming and buying 25 cent candies, it was actually in depth and told an actual story. With the whole thing about Uncle Frank ¿killing¿ Marie and them trying to figure out how she got so sick, it got you into it right there. Then, when you least expect it, they think that Uncle Frank is raping these Indian girls. This took the book to a whole other level! You don¿t expect something like this because in the beginning it just starts out with David, a 12-year-old boy, living his life on the farm with his family and him describing there life. Then you get back into the good stuff. When the father, Wesley, hears these rumors about Frank it¿s almost too hard for him to believe. What makes this even harder for him is the fact that he is the Sherriff and Frank is his brother. More and more evidence starts to come in about these horrific rumors. They even go as far as to questioning a few of the Indian girls. Now what is he to do? A reviewer describes this part as ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ With this I would have to agree. He finally takes the step to take in his brother and locked him up in his basement. This would frighten me to be living in a house with a crazed Uncle that god only knows what he would do to my family and I if he had enough guts to kill our housekeeper. I¿ll leave the ending for you guys to figure out what happens to Uncle Frank and what gets made of the case with Marie. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    Haley's Review

    ¿The title Montana 1948 seemed to imply a story of a boring childhood, spent hunting, fishing and doing other boring, Steinbeck-style, Midwest activities¿. This was the first thought that came into my head when my teacher handed us the book and told us we were going to be reading it for the next couple days. ¿Oh great, this should be interesting.¿ I thought to myself. My thoughts didn¿t get any better. ¿When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books,¿ Brianne mentioned in her review. I felt the same way. I¿m the type of person if I¿m not interested from the beginning I have no interest at all. Being this was an assignment and required for a grade, I read on. To my surprise the book became interesting and I couldn¿t stop turning the pages. Every page was filled with excitement that I had to know what was going to happen next. The climax of the story was all in the air. I knew the book was going to be an interesting one once the family started to suspect Frank, the doctor, and also family member, of molesting the ill girl. I fist wondered how a family could accuse their own blood of doing something so sick. It all seemed so messed up, but once the end came it was clear to me. If you¿re the type of person that once you¿re into something you don¿t stop until it¿s finished, then I would recommend you reading this book. I¿m not a reader either, so for me to actually finish this book amazes me. It just goes to show how good of a book Montana 1948 is! The saying of don¿t judge a book by its cover is true. Because like I said in the beginning I was not excited at all to be reading a book with a bunch of tall wheat grass, and a barn on the front of it. It seemed like it was going to be a ¿westernized¿ book, but it turned out to be one of the best books I have actually read through, all the way!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Montana 1948: A Must Read

    When I first picked up this book, I was apprehensive to read it. The title didn¿t jump out at me as a book that I would enjoy reading. I figured it would just be a typical western story, like all other books of that time. I soon found out that Montana 1948 was an excellent read. It¿s one of those books that keep you hooked until the very end and I didn¿t want to put it down. The story takes place in the summer of 1948 in Montana and is told through the eyes of twelve year old David Hayden. While it starts out as any normal summer for a twelve year old boy at the time, David¿s life is soon turned upside down in a story filled with tragedy and justice. Everything seems to be going perfect for David, he has a close family, great friends, and a town that seems to look out for him. Everything changes when his nanny falls ill to pneumonia and she refuses to allow David¿s uncle, Frank, to examine her. After some investigation, rumors begin to surface that Frank has been molesting his Native American patients. When Marie suddenly dies, Frank is the number one suspect, and David¿s father is the one investigating him. This story sends you on a journey filled with rape, racism, murder, and suicide but most importantly loyalty and justice. This is best described by a reviewer from Minnesota, in 1997, as, ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ To appreciate Montana 1948 fully, one needs to look past the excitement and really take a look at the moral issues being discussed. While reading you can¿t help but put yourself in the narrator¿s shoes and really imagine yourself in the same position. What would you do if your uncle was accused of murder and your father was the one convicting him? David is faced with questions like this, and is really forced to grown up during this summer which sends him on an emotional coming of age story. Although, Montana 1948 starts out slow, I couldn¿t take my eyes off it and really grew to love it. I highly recommend Montana 1948 to anyone who hasn¿t read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Joe's review

    I thought the book was very good it gave your great detail and depth. And you also David Hayden begins to understand the facts of life and he begins to understand his father more. I also agree with Margaret Simmion who said that David from montana 1948. And Scout from to kill a moking bird have to deal with alot of the same things. They both discover who there fathers are and they both deal with family concicuences from what there fathers decide to do. But over all I enjoyed the both with its great deatail and its story always kept me interested and wanting to read on. It also gave good detail on his heritage and his famly orgins it was interesting because of how much he knew about his family. So this is why i gave this book a four star rating

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    Overall - a good read

    My first Larry Watson book - a good page turner. Interesting first person narrative keeps the story alive and moving forward and gives the illusion of true to life events. It covers all the basics of a good story: conflict, rejection, justice, etc. I read a borrowed copy and will buy this one for my personal library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006

    Davies life in montania

    when i was reading the book i thought that the book was really good, there were some parts that i did not like though, and the reason for that was that there were some really graphic detailes about the girl marie and about the fathers brother and how he did things to the indian girls, other wise though i thought that the book was really good the author really brought out the story about montania 1948, when i was reading the book it really grabbed me and made me feel like i was in montania 1948 with the family that the book captured.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    Montana 1948: Perceptions on the use of power

    Montana 1948 tells a gripping story of a seemingly successful family in a small community. David Hayden is the main character and narrator, who explains the pressures put upon every family member to outdo one another, and also the chilling event that collapsed the brittle ties within the Hayden family. The story begins with a familiar sounding tale of the rural Midwest, and slowly exposes a dark situation where power is sought after and abused. With every page turned, a feeling of shock tightens the hold onto this book, until the reader is thrust outward at the end and forced to reevaluate knowledge of history. Although Montana 1948 quickly generates concern and discomfort, it is a fantastic and quick read that provokes contemplation. One of the greatest points to consider was brought up by a reviewer from Minnesota in 1997: ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ David Hayden is forced to observe difficult decisions his father makes that demonstrate this choice. While the father decides to imprison a certain family member, this person is imprisoned in the basement to preserve the family¿s honor. Another reader in 1997 explains how the story is told through the eyes of a 12-year old, but this is only partially true. David Hayden narrates this book forty years later as a history teacher, which allows the author to have the main character reevaluate some perspectives as an adult. For instance, he considers why his grandfather became a sheriff, and determines that it was a never-ending desire for power. Perhaps the greatest realization came in the epilogue, which discusses how recorded history could be greatly modified, omitting stories that people of the time would prefer not to remember. When the book ends almost abruptly, readers ponder over this as if a higher authority had commanded them to. Although the book seems short and can be read quickly, it persistently brings up topics that may have been previously ignored and need to be considered. The Hayden family in Montana 1948 represents the law and there are few that oppose their regulation in the small rural society. Without clear opposition, their family members easily make wrong choices. By being short and powerful, the book leaves clear images and morals in its wake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2005

    Recommended

    I had to read this book as part of my summer reading list. I have to say, This book was ah-mazing. I thought it could have been better like how did Frank kill Maria and how come David's parents never sat down to tell that little boy what was going on although he already knew. It showed how racism can be a powerful thing and shouldn't exist in this world today. Great book. Defientley recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Unknow

    When I Picked up Montana 1948 I didn¿t think I would like it. But after I read it I liked it a lot. Like others I liked this book so I gave it 4 stars. David the Sheriffs son and the main character, the thing that I didn¿t like about him was that every time his parents would talk about Uncle Frank he would sneak around and try to listen. When Uncle Frank got caught by his brother I didn¿t like it how West didn¿t put him in jail, I mean if that was me then I would have to think about it first but I would had to do the right thing, just because West is the law doesn¿t mean he can do anything he wants, like he can be I going to lock Uncle Frank up and put him in my basement so Uncle Frank doesn¿t embarrass West whole family. The mother she basically wants what all mothers want for their family is protection she knew what Uncle Frank was doing and tried to tell West but he wouldn¿t believe her, and that also bothered me why would he believe her why would she lie or kid about something like that. The Grandfather I didn¿t really like him he was kind of a mean guy because he knew all a long but didn¿t even care but also he favored Frank over West because Frank went into the army. So this was a good book some little weakness but all books have them but other wise it was a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2005

    A learning tool

    Honestly I never saw a point of reading this book until I sat down and read it. Usually when you get a book in school you never saw a point to the book. This book of Montana 1948 showed a racism that is never really shown in America, but needed to be pointed out. You don't realize how much racism goes on until you read this book. There was much more to racism then just black and white. It shows that anyone be made fun of or hurt with the physical or mental stages of people. Sorry about the little rant, the story shows a small town in Montana. A family with an Native American as a maid. She will be treated with no respect except for her family. While the family defends her, people start talking about how evil 'they' are and how normal a couple characters are in the book. It is a good book to read once or twice.

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