About Books: Summer 2019
Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food
By Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle
When Bob Quinn was a kid, a stranger at a county fair gave him a few kernels of an unusual grain. Little did he know, that grain would change his life.
Years later, after earning a doctorate in plant biochemistry, he returned to his family’s farm in Montana, where he began experimenting with organic wheat. In the beginning, his concern wasn’t health or the environment; he just wanted to make a decent living.
As demand for organics grew, so did Quinn’s experiments. He discovered that through regenerative farming practices like cover cropping and crop rotation, he could produce successful yields – without pesticides. He even started producing his own renewable energy. And he learned that the grain he first tasted at the fair was actually a type of ancient wheat, one that was proven to lower inflammation rather than worsening it, as modern wheat does.
Ultimately, the farmer’s forays with organics turned into a multimillion-dollar heirloom grain company, Kamut International.
In Grain by Grain, Quinn and cowriter Liz Carlisle (author of Lentil Underground) show how his story can provide the antidote to stagnating rural communities, degraded soil, and poor health.
“A compelling agricultural story skillfully told,” writes Kirkus Reviews.
The Kemptons: Adventures of a Montana Ranch Family, 1880-1964
By Trudy Kempton Dana
In its day, the famed Kempton Ranch of eastern Montana was one of the largest horse and cattle operations in Montana, selling mounts to armies and polo-playing royalty alike. The Kemptons themselves were a storybook family – descended from Mayflower pilgrims, Sioux Indians and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Their own exploits make for a larger-than-life Western epic.
Meet Joseph Kempton, a whaling ship captain who becomes an early Colorado pioneer; JB Kempton, the first to ship cattle on the Northern Pacific rails; and his son, Berney, a trick roper with Doc Carver’s Wild West Show, hotelier, and a friend to British earls and President Theodore Roosevelt.
Trudy Kempton Dana mines her family’s lore for salt-of-the-earth true stories of these and many other characters to reveal a family of rare vision, grit and integrity.
The 304-page book, published by Farcountry Press, is lavishly illustrated with photographs, artifacts and manuscripts, all contributing to a rich portrait of a fascinating family.
“A quintessential piece of American history as gripping as the Lewis and Clark journals,” writes Ken Stuart, founder and editor-in-chief, Schirmer Books, Macmillan Publishing Co.
Slaughter on the Otter: The Kendrick Sheep Raid
By Forest B. Dunning
Montana native and retired rancher Forest B. Dunning dives into the local history of a little known standoff between Montana ranchers, since dubbed “a conspiracy of silence.”
In mid-November 1900, a herd of sheep crossed a plowed furrow “deadline” that had separated cattle and sheep public ranges for many years. Early on the morning of Dec. 28, 1900, a determined group of cattlemen led by a future Wyoming governor and U.S. senator destroyed a band of 2,113 head of sheep that had “invaded” their range.
The story was cloaked by a conspiracy of silence for nearly 75 years, until almost 40 years after the senator’s death. Even then, the facts and motivations remained shrouded. In his meticulously researched book, Dunning sheds light on the massacre of young ewes.
Dunning, who lives in Sheridan, WY, was raised in Birney, near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. He has been a student, cowboy, soldier, financial advisor, purebred cattle rancher and cattle buyer. His love for Montana and Wyoming history and historical fiction are reflected in his new book, and a previous work of fiction, Between Two Tribes.