Featuring 10 new books with UM connections. Compiled by Ginny Merriam.


Categories: Alumni , History , Research , Arts

 “Horsefly Dress,” by Heather Cahoon. The University of Arizona Press, 2020, 96 pages, $16.95.

In this new collection, award-winning poet Heather Cahoon looks at the genesis and purpose of suffering through traditional stories of the Salish and Kootenai tribal community and contemporary life, woven through with images of the natural world – deer, chokecherries, ninebark and birds. A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Cahoon is a descendant of Horsefly Dress. She earned her MFA in poetry at UM, where she teaches Native American Studies and directs the American Indian Governance and Policy Center. 

 Horsefly Dress


“For the Love of Running,” Stuart Kremzner. Self-published, 2020, 159 pages, $19.99.

Stuart Kremzner’s new book aims to help runners take their training to higher levels of performance with innovative ideas about technique, injury prevention, training planning and more. Kremzner gives detailed instruction on interval and speed training, along with testing through time trials. Kremzner earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology at UM and went on to coach athletes for 25 years. He also started and directed several premier sports training facilities and has coached Olympic marathon runners and cross-country and Nordic skiers.


 For the Love of Running  

“Windblown: The Remarkable Life of Richard S. Buker Jr., MD, a Family Doctor,” by Larry W. Halverson. Frugal Fam Doc, 2020, 432 pages, $24.95.

Physician Richard Buker remarkably went from his education at Yale Medical School to a 50-year career as a family-practice doctor in Chester, Montana. Looking for a place to be of service, he wrote to towns around the West and found a great need in Chester, where the town “just felt right.” Buker reopened the Liberty County Hospital and practiced during an era of immense political, cultural and health care transitions. He was also mentor to author Larry Halverson, also a family-medicine physician and UM graduate.



“Transcending Depression: Quest Without a Compass,” by Larry Godwin. Self-published, 2020, 141 pages, $12.95.

Retired UM faculty member Larry Godwin is the first to tell you his memoir is not based in clinical experience, scientific research or empirical evidence. Instead, it’s an anthology of brief paragraphs containing his honest thoughts of the moments during 49 years of living with serious depression. While at the time he writes them, his thoughts are just the feelings of the day, they form a candid, long-term tapestry of struggle, defeat and small victories.


Transcending Depression  

“A Private Cathedral,” by James Lee Burke. Simon & Schuster, 2020, 384 pages, $28.00.

Missoula’s own James Lee Burke’s 40th book reunites his readers with the iconic favorite character detective Dave Robicheaux and his sidekick Clete Purcel. Dave and Clete set out to rescue two young people who are in love but hail from rival New Iberia crime families. Burke introduces a supernatural twist in the novel, a superhuman assassin who can induce frightening hallucinations. Burke, a former UM faculty member, has won two Edgar Awards for best novel and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and his novels have been adapted for movies and television.


A Private Cathedral 

“If It Sounds Good It Is Good: Seeking Subversion, Transcendence, and Solace in America’s Music,” by Richard Manning. PM Press, 2020, 257 pages, $26.95.

In his new book, journalist Richard Manning invites us to leave behind academic theorizing about music – American roots music, specifically – and embrace music as a human essential that reverberates in our inner ears, requiring no processing or digestion by the brain. Manning, who writes that “bluegrass was my gateway drug,” takes his examination of music and its genesis and purpose through the human brain, birds and animals, ancient and modern cultures, wilderness and the guitars he has known. He is a UM alum and occasional visiting faculty member.


If It Sounds Good, It Is Good

“Plain Bad Heroines,” by Emily Danforth. William Morrow (HarperCollins), 2020, 640 pages, $27.99.

Emily Danforth sets the story within a story of her new novel at the Brookhants School for Girls. The reader meets three young friends and students who form their own club, the Plain Bad Heroine Society, around their admiration for a daring young writer. They’re found dead one day, apparent victims of swarming yellowjackets. More than a century later, the abandoned school is the setting for a horror movie, and its three modern heroines become entangled with the past. A native of Miles City, Danforth earned her MFA in creative writing at UM and lives in Rhode Island.


 Plain, Bad Heroines

“Citizens Uniting to Restore Our Democracy,” by Daniel Kemmis. University of Oklahoma Press, 2020, 276 pages, $26.95.

Dan Kemmis’ UM connections include a law degree and directorship of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West. He is a leading scholar of the theory and practice of American democracy and a former Missoula mayor. In his new book, he goes beyond the deeply divided public life of today to look at our political state in a much broader context. He sees in the apparent chaos of modern political debate an affirmation of Americans’ abilities as collective problem-solvers and much hope for healing our democracy. 


Citizens Uniting to Restore our Democracy

“Douglas Fir: The Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree,” by Stephen Arno and Carl Fiedler, illustrations by Zoe Keller. The Mountaineers Press, 2020, 192 pages, $21.95.

UM alum and legacy forester Stephen Arno worked for the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula for 26 years. He knows trees. Here he tells the story of the Douglas fir, taken for granted as a utility tree by Westerners. Douglas firs thrive from British Columbia to Mexico, from mountain ranges to deserts, and provide more building lumber than any other tree on Earth. Arno and co-author Carl Fiedler’s narrative will inspire readers to think more deeply as they cut their winter’s firewood from the venerable tree.


 Douglas Fir Book Cover  

“The Coconut Crab,” by Peter W. Fong. Green Writers Press, 2020, 204 pages, $12.99.

Peter W. Fong earned an MFA in fiction at UM and now lives in Tangier, Morocco. He works in summers as a fly-fishing guide in northern Mongolia. He has published in many magazines and anthologies and the novel “Principles of Navigation.” His new book, written for young readers, tells the story of the friendships among a bird, a goat, a crab and a gecko, who navigate the challenges of the eat-or-be-eaten world.


The Coconut Crab 

To be considered for Bookshelf, you must send a copy of the book, along with any press materials and contact information, to: Montanan, University Relations, 203 Brantly Hall, Missoula, MT 59812 or email with "Bookshelf" in the subject line. Submission of materials does not guarantee that your work will be featured. Bookshelf highlights authors that have a connection to UM only (alumni, former faculty and staff, etc.).

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