Montana 1948: A Novel

Montana 1948: A Novel

by Larry Watson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571310613
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication date: 05/25/2007
Pages: 186
Sales rank: 63,899
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Louise Erdich

A beautiful novel about the meaning of place and evolution of courage....A wonderful book.

Reading Group Guide

1. What motivates Frank Hayden's final act? (The author has characterized it as both a selfish and a selfless act.)

2. Late in the novel, Gail Hayden changes her attitude. She no longer wants her husband to continue the course of action that earlier she encouraged him to follow. What causes her to change?

3. What does Wesley Hayden mean by his admonishment not to "blame Montana"?

4. A great deal of attention is paid to locating Bentrock (a fictional community) on the map. Why? What role does the setting play in the novel?

5. Whose story is this? Wesley's? David's? Why?

6. Who is the moral center of the story? Why?

7. How does prejudice play into the story?

8. Why is Wesley Hayden especially concerned when his son David tells him that Len McAuley might "know something"?

9. What would the outcome of the story have been had David's father publicly arrested his uncle? Would things have turned out better? Worse? Would you have done the same thing as Wesley had it been your family?

10. Was there any justice for the crimes committed by Uncle Frank?

11. Most of the novel's action takes place in 1948. Why did the author choose that year? Could the events occur today?

12. In what ways is the novel about privilege and the abuse of power?

13. What is the effect of David Hayden telling this story so many years after the fact?

Customer Reviews

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Montana, 1948 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 133 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
LevkoOpryshok More than 1 year ago
The book Montana 1948 was written by Larry Watson in 1993. It great fiction, a western novel for everyone who likes to read about justice and crime in family clans. The young boy David and his family lived in Montana. His father, Wes Hayden, is a sheriff and David's uncle Frank is a doctor. The Hayden brothers are very famous, and the town of Bentrock respects them. The town does not have a clinic and Dr.Frank is the first one who will help people and who will do his best for them. But one moment when Marie, who was is Hunkpapa Sioux and David's babysitter got sick, everything changed because Sheriff Wes found out the terrible truth about his brother Frank. Sheriff Wes investigated his own brother. It was very difficult for him because he has to punish his sibling. In the investigations, he includes a sheriff deputy Len. I believe, he would want to deal with it by himself but father prevents him because he wants to protect and hide his sin from law. They never expected that a war hero and a reputable person in town could do something really bad. With every page, the book Montana 1948 became more interesting. Larry Watson knows how to encourage people to read.
hannah1028 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ideas Larry Watson brings to light about human behavior transcend time and cultural barriers. However, Mr. Watson's five star novel, Montana 1948, is more than just a story. Its pages tell the true story of life's fairness and the rewards of doing the right thing. Although Barbra Finkelstein of The New York Times Book Review says that the novel, ¿¿depends on cliched characters to lug the story to its conclusion,¿ I disagree. The ability to relate to the narrator¿s family and upbringing is one of this story¿s greatest attributes. The stereotypical the characters add a sense of familiarity for many readers, and allow them to better immerse themselves in the plot. Also, the story itself did much more than ¿lug¿. Its suggestions about how our society were thought provoking such as in the part where the narrator recounts how the people in town would often ¿look the other way¿ when faced with problems such as his uncles molestation of the Indian girls. In addition to this, its unpredictable twists leave the reader unable to turn the pages fast enough. Wesley, the narrator¿s father, is the town sheriff and is faced with a, ¿moral dilemma,¿ as Publishers Weekly puts it. His All-American brother has been molesting Indian girls and may have murdered one. It is then that Wesley must decide between treating the situation as a family member and simply letting it slide out of loyalty or as the county¿s Sheriff with the intent of prosecuting this criminal to the fullest extent. When he decides that prosecution would do nothing but embarrass the family name, he plans to let his brother off the hook. However, once his brother admits to and tells explicitly of his crimes without any show of remorse, Wesley becomes determined to bring him to justice. I agree with Barbara Hoffert of Library Journal when she says, ¿The moral issues, and the consequences of following one¿s conscience, are made painfully evident here.¿ Mr. Watson does not make life out to be a fairytale. When the narrator and his family are forced to move away from their home because of the choice they made to do what they thought was right Mr. Watson stated simply the truth that often times the ¿good guys¿ don¿t win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a well written and interesting book
Ilovemister More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. couldn't put it down. I don't think that this book is for 14-18 age group. I didn't even realize that was what it was marketed for. This book is great for adults. Great writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DStan29 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this novel, Larry did a wonderful view of capturing the words. This deserves a 5 star rating, This is a short book but it does a very great job of explaining what has happened back then in the late 40's and what the consequences were, and the fact that there wasn't much technology to prove anything. This book expresses about an importance of family, justice and how loyal others are. This novel is very clear but it is somewhat confusing. I thought this book would be boring, as a High School student, but it was quite the intensity, and  it was some things that I hadn't expected to be in this book. This can teach you about what you should/n't do, because of consequences. Great Book...Loved it. It is a very hard book to put down, the details are amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was interesting as such but not much more and it was just a tad over 100 pages. I noted that it was reduced from $14.00 to the $11.48 I overpaid for it. I read in no time at all and I was furious. TOTAL rip-off!
AlaskanReader More than 1 year ago
Montana 1948 marks the second book by Larry Watson that will make my top ten list of books for 2014. I loved the characterizations, the story, the narrator, and the writing overall. The story is narrated by 12 year-old David Hayden of Bentrock, Montana. He is part of THE Hayden family, his grandfather a powerful and rich rancher. His father, Wes, is a lawyer turned sheriff, and his mother, Gail, works at the courthouse. The family seems very happy and David is a precocious and inward boy, enjoying the land and his horse Nutty, that he keeps at his grandfather's ranch. Marie, a Sioux Indian, is the housekeeper and babysitter for David's family and David loves her. She is kind, powerful and efficient. One day, David hears Marie coughing and realizes that she is ill. She keeps saying that she doesn't want to see a doctor. What she means is that she doesn't want to see Frank, Wes's brother, who is one of the two town doctors. Of course, the Haydens always call Frank for medical reasons as he is family. However, Marie is adamant and when the Haydens call Frank Marie insists that Gail be in the room during the examination. She tells Gail later that Frank has molested several of the young women on the reservation and that it's a widely known fact. The story deals with issues of integrity and loyalty. Does Wes deal with these allegations against his brother or does he let them go? Frank is, after all a war hero and a respected citizen with a beautiful wife. Wes's father is very powerful and Frank is the golden son while Wes is second best. How will the town deal with this information if it is to come out? David hears all that is going on by listening to the adults and it is refreshing to hear a narrator that I believe is reliable. It is also refreshing to hear the story narrated by an adult from his twelve-year old perspective. The novel is short at 169 pages but it is long on emotions, psychological intrigue, and brilliance. Larry Watson is a writer that I have recently discovered but I have ordered all his books. There is a book of connected short stories about the Hayden clan that I think will be exceptionally good. I am thrilled to have discovered Larry Watson. As a lover of literary fiction, I can think of no better writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of story that you want to share with your best friends. The characters are well developed and the plot engaging. I finshed the book wishing there were more pages to turn. I've ordered several of Larry Watson's books and that's the best compliment I can think of to convey how much I liked the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that you cant put down. It wonder whats gonna happe next.and i love thie twist at the end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My English teacher is reading this to us and i find it very good and wish that class would not end so we could finish it and find out what happens in the end. I recomed this book to other high school students who love to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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pjpick More than 1 year ago
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."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
youngspanion More than 1 year ago
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.