It’s finally here.
Tourists and Transplants: A History of Montana, Volume 7.
Like the previous volumes, we go 30 years at a time. So this volume is 1990 to 2020.
It was hard writing the last parts, the parts about Covid and the 2020 Election. It’s so fresh in our minds, so raw...and still ongoing.
I know I’ll have to update this book in a few years; I’m looking forward to it.
Until then, it’s out.
It comes out to 520 pages in eBook format, and 460 pages in the paperback version.
I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am, the sense of accomplishment I feel!
I started this website in March of 2013 with the express intent of writing a complete and succinct history of this state.
I had no idea what I was doing. I was still living in China at the time, in a city 6,800 miles away from the state I was writing about.
I completed the first volume of the series while living there. I did it in a month, with the goal of writing one chapter a day and posting it to the website.
Several years later I went back and updated the book. This was after I started writing my Mountain Man series of historical fiction novels. I had to do a lot of research into Montana in the 1700s and early-1800s to write those. I learned a lot, and wanted to share that knowledge. Hence the 2nd edition of the first volume, Tribes and Trappers.
I think we’ll see a 2nd edition of the 1840-1870 book as well, Priests and Prospectors.
Back in 2013 I desperately wanted to write a modern history of the state. It became apparent rather quickly that this was impossible.
I did not know the early history of the state.
So I set myself a task of learning that history, and writing about it at the same time. Hence the 7 volumes.
And who in the hell is going to read that many books about one state?
As it turns out...not many. The first book has sold around 500 copies, the second just 150. Only 14 people bought the last volume, which covers 1960 to 1990.
While it’s true that many people simply do not care about the state’s history, it’s also true that my books are hard to find on Amazon.
A lot of this has to deal with the company’s decision in 2016 to go all-in with Amazon Prime. That meant you had to opt-in your books to the program, or else face the unspoken and unacknowledged censoring. My monthly book royalties went from $2,000 to around $500. Today I’m lucky to make $100 a month from Amazon.
Boom and bust, the story of Montana.
The imminent historian at the University of Montana since K. Ross Toole died is Harry Fritz. In the 90s he did a poll to find out the most popular Montana history books. Montana: High, Wide and Handsome took the prize, hands down.
The book was 70 years old at the time, its author having died in 1951.
The next best book about Montana history was Malone’s book, A History of Two centuries. It ended in 1990.
Well, the 30-year drought is over.
I don’t care about making money from this book. I do apologize that the print version is $15.99...it’s the lowest I can make it due to the printing costs.
My greatest hope - and the reason I started this series to begin with - is that young Montanans will read it, learn of the mistakes we’ve made, realize the successes, and go forward with confidence,
People that want to be leaders of Montana will seek out this knowledge. Well, I hope so. I hope we have young people in this state that want to realize history, that want to learn from past mistakes and successes. I think they’re out there, I hope so….I have to believe.