Thanks for joining us for Glacier Book Club!
Monday, December 20, 2021, 6:30PM MST
The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
About The Book: On September 4, 1805, in the upper Bitterroot Valley of what is now western Montana, more than four hundred Salish people were encamped, pasturing horses, preparing for the fall bison hunt, and harvesting chokecherries as they had done for countless generations. As the Lewis and Clark expedition ventured into the territory of a sovereign Native nation, the Salish met the strangers with hospitality and vital provisions while receiving comparatively little in return.
For the first time, a Native American community offers an in-depth examination of the events and historical significance of their encounter with the Lewis and Clark expedition. The result is a new understanding of the expedition and its place in the wider context of U.S. history. Through oral histories and other materials, Salish elders recount the details of the Salish encounter with Lewis and Clark: their difficulty communicating with the strangers through multiple interpreters and consequent misunderstanding of the expedition’s invasionary purpose, their discussions about whether to welcome or wipe out the newcomers, their puzzlement over the black skin of the slave York, and their decision to extend traditional tribal hospitality and gifts to the guests.
Listen to the Voices of Salish and Pend d’Oreille Tribal Elders here.
Join Executive Director, Doug Mitchell, on Zoom and have a discussion with Germaine White and Thompson Smith about the book, The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Register for the event using the form below.
2022 Book Club schedule coming soon!
Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 6:30PM MST
About The Book: A lively and lyrical account of one woman’s unlikely apprenticeship on a national park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work.
Christine Byl first encountered the national parks the way most of us do: on vacation. But after she graduated from college, broke and ready for a new challenge, she joined a Glacier National Park trail crew as a seasonal “traildog” maintaining mountain trails for the millions of visitors Glacier draws every year. Byl first thought of the job as a paycheck, a summer diversion, a welcome break from “the real world” before going on to graduate school. She came to find out that work in the woods on a trail crew was more demanding, more rewarding—more real—than she ever imagined.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Christine Byl here.
Black Faces, White Spaces
About The Book: In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the “great outdoors” and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces.
Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature, and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Carolyn Finney here.
In Search of the Mount Cleveland Five
About The Book: Two days after Christmas in 1969, five young, forward-thinking mountaineers set out to climb Mount Cleveland, the highest peak in Glacier National Park. They were never seen alive again. The Mount Cleveland tragedy will remain one of the most enigmatic mountaineering accidents in the United States. In this tale, the author fast-tracks himself into mountaineering at age 15. His quest is to vindicate the Mount Cleveland Five by climbing the north face with the brother of one of the missing. In Search of the Mount Cleveland Five is a true story about the coming-of-age, racing through 22 years of climbing endeavors with colorful Montana climbers and their close calls, antics and tears. The grief and inspiration of the Mount Cleveland avalanche never leaves the rear view mirror. The story ends on a peak in the Alaska Range as the author attempts a new route with the son of his longtime climbing partner. The slope they are ascending threatens to avalanche-and history is on the verge of repeating itself.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Terry G. Kennedy here.
Through Glacier Park
About The Book: Mary Roberts Rinehart writes in her famous travelogue, Through Glacier Park, first published in 1916, as the already famous mystery writer, introducing readers to the recently minted national park and to the scenic wonders of Montana and to the adventures to be found there. Howard Eaton, an intrepid guide who had become known for his Yellowstone experience, had convinced Rinehart to make the trek to the West. Traveling three hundred miles on horseback with a group of more than forty assorted tourists of all shapes and sizes, she took in her fellow travelers, the scenery, and the travel itself with all the style and aplomb and humor of the talented fiction writer and journalist she was—and her words remain fresh and entertaining to this day.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with the author’s great-grandson, Rick Rinehart, here.
About The Book: A wildlife biologist’s shocking death leads to chilling discoveries about a home for troubled teens in Christine Carbo’s haunting and compelling crime novel set in the wilds of Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris knows that each summer at least one person—be it a reckless, arrogant climber or a distracted hiker—will meet tragedy in the park. But Paul “Wolfie” Sedgewick’s fatal fall from the sheer cliffs near Going-To-the-Sun Road is incomprehensible. Wolfie was an experienced and highly regarded wildlife biologist who knew all too well the perils that Glacier’s treacherous terrain presents—and how to avoid them.
The case, so close to home, has frayed park employee emotions. Yet calm and methodical lead investigator Monty senses in his gut that something isn’t right. So when whispers of irresponsibility or suicide emerge, tarnishing Wolfie’s reputation, Monty dedicates himself to uncovering the truth, for the sake of the man’s family and to satisfy his own persistent sense of unease.
The Nature Fix
About The Book: From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Florence Williams here.
The Voices of Rivers
About The Book: Dickerson’s lovingly crafted narratives take us to waters from sockeye spawning streams of Alaska’s Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks, to Rocky Mountain rivers in the national parks and forests of Montana and Wyoming, to the little brook trout creeks in his home waters of Maine. Along the way we will fall in love with arctic streams, glacial rivers flowing green with flour, alpine brooks tumbling out of melting snow, and little estuaries where lobsters and brook trout swim within a few yards of each other; with wide deep lakes, little mountain tarns with crystal clear water, and tannin-laden beaver ponds the color of tea. The narratives are creative, personal, and compelling, yet informed by science and history as well as close observation and the eye of a naturalist. The characters in the stories are fascinating, from fly fishing guides to fisheries biologists to wranglers to Dickerson himself who often explores the rivers with a fly rod in hand, but whose writing transcends any sort of fishing narrative. But the most important characters are the rivers themselves whose stories Dickerson tells, and whose music he helps us to hear.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Matthew Dickerson and Friends of Acadia’s David MacDonald here.
People Before the Park
About The Book: Step out of a world governed by clocks and into the worldview of the Kootenai and Blackfeet peoples. For countless years, they made their seasonal rounds in the landscape that is now Glacier National Park.
An archaeologist, ethnographer, ethnohistorian, and author, Dr. Sally Thompson has spent over thirty years working with the tribes of the Rocky Mountain West to tell history from their points of view. In People Before The Park, co-authored with the Kootenai Culture Committee and the Pikunni Traditional Association, Thompson brings readers into the lives, traditions, and practices of the Blackfeet and Kootenai people on the landscape in and around what we now refer to as Glacier National Park.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Sally Thompson here.
About The Book: In the summer of 1972, 25-year-old Harry Eugene Walker hitchhiked away from his family’s northern Alabama dairy farm to see America. Nineteen days later he was killed by an endangered grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. The ensuing civil trial, brought against the US Department of the Interior for alleged mismanagement of the park’s grizzly population, emerged as a referendum on how America’s most beloved wild places should be conserved. Two of the twentieth century’s greatest wildlife biologists testified—on opposite sides.
Moving across decades and among Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, and Sequoia National Parks, author and former park ranger Jordan Fisher Smith has crafted an epic, emotionally wrenching account of America’s fraught, century-and-a-half-long attempt to remake Eden—in the name of saving it.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Jordan Fisher Smith here.
The End of Night
About The Book: A deeply panoramic tour of the night, from its brightest spots to the darkest skies we have left.
A starry night is one of nature’s most magical wonders. Yet in our artificially lit world, three-quarters of Americans’ eyes never switch to night vision and most of us no longer experience true darkness. In The End of Night, Paul Bogard restores our awareness of the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky and how it has influenced the human experience across everything from science to art.
From Las Vegas’ Luxor Beam — the brightest single spot on this planet — to nights so starlit the sky looks like snow, Bogard blends personal narrative, natural history, science, and history to shed light on the importance of darkness — what we’ve lost, what we still have, and what we might regain — and the simple ways we can reduce the brightness of our nights tonight.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Paul Bogard here.
A Culmination of Giants
About The Book: Bristol takes readers on a journey through the history of Glacier National Park, beginning over a billion years ago from the formation of the Belt Sea, to the present day climate-changing extinction of the very glaciers that sculpted most of the wonders of its landscapes. He delves into the ways in which this area of Montana seemed to have been preparing itself for the coming of humankind through a series of landmass adjustments like the Lewis Overthrust and the ice ages that came and went.
First there were tribes of Native Americans whose deep regard for nature left the landscape intact. They were followed by Euro-American explorers and settlers who may have been awed by the new lands, but began to move wildlife to near extinction. Fortunately for the area that would become Glacier, some began to recognize that laying siege to nature and its bounties would lead to wastelands.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author George Bristol here.
The Wonder of Birds
About The Book: A fascinating investigation into the miraculous world of birds and the powerful – and surprising – ways they enrich our lives and sustain the planet.
Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with them. Birds, Jim Robbins posits, are our most vital connection to nature. They compel us to look to the skies, both literally and metaphorically; draw us out into nature to seek their beauty; and let us experience vicariously what it is like to be weightless. Birds have helped us in so many of our human endeavors: learning to fly, providing clothing and food, and helping us better understand the human brain and body. And they even have much to teach us about being human in the natural world.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Jim Robbins here.
The Wild Inside
About The Book: A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild – and the even darker heart of human nature.
It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers – a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness.
The Wolverine Way
About The Book: This enigmatic animal is more complex than the myths that surround it. With a shrinking wilderness and global warming, the future of the wolverine is uncertain. The Wolverine Way reveals the fascinating natural history of the wolverine and the habitat threats that face them. Engagingly told by Douglas Chadwick, volunteer with the Glacier Wolverine Project, the project, a five-year study of the wolverines in Montana’s Glacier National Park – reveals key missing information about the wolverine’s habitat, social structure and reproduction habits. Wolverines, according to Chadwick, are the land equivalent of polar bears in regards to the impacts of global warming. The plight of wolverines adds to the call for wildlife corridors that connect existing habitat that is proposed by the Freedom to Roam coalition.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Doug Chadwick here.
Political Hell-Raiser: The Life and Times of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana
About The Book: Burton K. Wheeler (1882-1975) may have been the most powerful politician Montana ever produced, and he was one of the most influential – and controversial – members of the United States Senate during three of the most eventful decades in American history. Johnson provides the most thorough telling of Wheeler’s entire career, including all its accomplishments and contradictions, as well as the political storms that the senator both encouraged and endured. The book convincingly establishes the place and importance of this principled hell-raiser in American political history.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Marc C. Johnson here.
The father of Glacier national Park
About The Book: George Bird Grinnell was a prolific writer and record-keeper. After a long day’s hunt or exploration, he diligently made time in camp for meticulous journal entries. With his small group of explorers, he discovered and named forty geological features east of the Continental Divide and west of the Blackfeet Reservation. As a result, he wrote a series of articles about his trips from 1885 to 1898 for publication in Forest and Stream. In 1891, he began advocating to protect the area as a national park and led that charge for nearly two decades until successful. His discoveries, publications and leadership led to the creation of Glacier National Park. Cousin Hugh Grinnell compiles first-person narratives from unpublished journal entries, personal correspondence and dozens of articles to tell the early story of Glacier.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author Hugh Grinnell here.
A Woman’s Way West
About The Book: A Woman’s Way West is centered around Fraley’s wife’s great-aunt Doris, who moved to Glacier and met her husband, Dan Huffine, in 1925 and were one of the first rangers to occupy the Cut Bank Ranger Station. They drove the classic Glacier Park tour buses, were backcountry rangers and cooked for the crews that surveyed the engineering marvel of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. They were an eccentric couple that shared a great love of the outdoors and of Glacier.
Watch the Zoom book club discussion with author John Fraley here.