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Montana 1948: A Novel [Paperback]

Larry Watson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 25 2007
Montana 1948 is Larry Watson's highly successful, award-winning first novel, a classic of the American West.
“From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them… “ So begins David Hayden's story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David's understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David's uncle Frank, a war heroand respected doctor; and the Haydens' Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, whose revelations turn the family's life upside down as she relates how Frank has been molesting his female Indian patients. As their story unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between family loyalty and justice.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Watson's novel about a middle-class Montana family torn apart by scandal during the summer of 1948 was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

A young Sioux woman tossing with fever on a cot; a father begging his wife for help; a mother standing uncertainly in her kitchen with a 12-gauge shotgun: from these fragments of memory, evoked by the narrator as the novel opens, Watson builds a simple but powerful tale. It is Montana in 1948, and young David Hayden's father, Wesley, is sheriff of their small town--a position he inherited from his domineering father. Wesley is overshadowed by his older brother, Frank, a war hero who is now the town doctor. When Marie, the Sioux woman who works for the Haydens, fall ill, she adamantly resists being examined by Frank. Some probing reveals that Frank has been molesting the Indian women in his care. Wesley's dilemma--should he turn in his own brother?--is intensified when Marie is found dead and David confesses that he saw his uncle near the house before she died. 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. Highly recommended.
- Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN 1948 my father was serving his second term as sheriff of Mercer County, Montana. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time June 15 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is more complex than it first appears.
Highly readable, it tells the story of 12yo David Hayden and his family's Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier.
The relationships between David, his mother, father and the housekeeper are tightly intertwined and David cares for all three of them deeply even though he seems to doubt his father for a short time.
David's feelings for his uncle are very mixed and he seems to be the first person to teach David that people are not always what they seem. Unfortunately David learns this in a tragic way.
Although the book deals with 'heavy' themes it never becomes heavy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing June 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book was awesome. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. The way Larry Watson dives into these great character studies without analyzing everything, but saying just enough--it's beyond words. I am a new, but true fan of Larry Watson's. I've never felt compelled to write a review on here before, but I was so disgusted by the negative reviews I read at the start of this page I just had to say something in this book's defense. There is so much talent in these pages and to not appreciate this seems ludicrous and naive to me. I have read three of his books --Laura, Montana 1948, and Justice--and am looking forward to reading Orchard next. 'Montana' left me completely satisfied and gushing to recommend it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars wow April 25 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
What kind of sick, twisted, evil teacher would make a student read this. This is the worst, most boring book I was ever forced to read. This includes The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, and a Separate Peace, by John Knowles, and a list of many others. This book doesn't even merit one star, unfortunately, you can't give it zero stars. I don't know what my teacher thinks we should be getting out of this book, but it is so bad that I just don't care.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Wow what a boring book March 21 2004
By Gary
Format:Paperback
It seemed like larry watson didn't know what he was doing. He foreshadows every little event through the wind. Its filled with so many stupid meaningless symolisms and metophores. This book has one theme and thats RETARTED
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars Feb. 25 2004
Format:Paperback
Watson weaves a tale about family, loyalty, and justice... and how a twelve year old boy remembers the summer of 1948. _Montana 1948_ was very well-written, and I found myself immersed in the story. Watson's setting, post-war Montana, matched well with his style and tone. The setting was quiet and casual, and while there were some very sad and tragic themes discussed, the style remained calm and quiet.
Overall a good piece of short fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Montana 1948 Feb. 13 2004
Format:Paperback
Montana 1948 was an excellent read. I really enjoyed this book. Larry Watson made the characters come to life in my mind. There are a lot of details which make the book very interesting. Each word was enough to kept me want to keep turning the page. This book, like many other books, starts off slow, but eventually picks up speed and becomes more interesting. The story takes place in the summer of 1948 in Montana and is told through the eyes of David Hayden. This time period is probably one of the hardest summers of David's life. He loses his Native American nanny. He finds out that his war hero/doctor Uncle Frank is hiding something far too embarrassing to expose to the community. He knows that if he does it will ruin the Hayden name. David's grandpa was the sheriff for every year running. When it was time for him to retire, he passed the job on to his other son Wesley. When Frank's true side is exposed it is up to Wesley to step in and try to keep it hush-hush.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Coming of Age Novel Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Out of the many coming of age novels I've read, Montana 1948 is one of the best, and for those who hate reading a lot, it isn't very long. It's plot is original, and David's premature loss of innocence is portrayed flawlessly through his thoughts and actions. As the book progresses, one can see how he struggles to adapt to the adult world as his childhood is mercilesly taken from him. Watson depicts the struggle between family loyalty and morality as the heartwrenching experience it truly is, and the ending demostrates the permanent effects that Montana 1948 had on the Hayden family. Montana 1948 shows that one can lose their childhood unexpectedly at any given time, and the effects reverberate throughout the rest of his/her life. I strongly recommend this book to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Book For U 2 Read Oct. 3 2003
Format:Paperback
At the age of 12, David Haydens world had totally changed and turned upside down. His families Indian maid had been struck with pneumonia. Davids father, Wesley(town sheriff) calls up his brother Frank(doctor) to check up on her. Frank is a real respected man, but soon everyone in the Hayden family finds out that Frank is really an Indian women molester. Since he became a doctor, he had been doing it for many years. Wesley takes action and investigates the whole incident. He soon finds out that Frank is convicted for all his wrong doings. In the mean time, the maid, Marie, dies from Frank murdering her. Wesley then locks Frank up in their basement and then one day finds him dead. The family moves away and starts a whole new life.
This book is really moving and is told in a great and personal way. Larry Watson writes as the person who is reading it is in the book as well. You feel like a character in the story, playing a part. This book was so exciting that it pursued me to read on and turn the pages. It kept me guessing to what was to happen next. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Its a well written novel and I enjoyed it as well.
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