Isle of Books Presents Last Best Books: "Marcus Daly's Road to Montana" and "Great Falls, Montana"

Marcus Daly

Marcus Daly's Road to Montana

By Brenda Wahler

The early life of Montana magnate Marcus Daly have too long been overlooked in histories of the man and the state which became his home. Author Brenda Wahler corrects this deficiency by devoting this entire enthralling book to the period. 

From his eary life in Ireland to his New York boyhood and on to California, Nevada, Utah and, eventually, Montana - where he would make his name and secure his fortune - Wahler's well-written book contains many morsels that will be precious to students of Daly's career. In it's pages, you'll learn about his life-long affinity for horses, his relationship with Utah millionaires the Walker Brothers, and his first days as a miner in the the lawless, silver-mining hinterland of early Butte, Montana, where he would meet Clark, work on the Alice mine, and spark the so-called war of the Copper Kings. 

But here's the real compliment. We liked the book so much that Ms. Wahler has been booked as a future contributor to Distinctly Montana Magazine. On the basis of this and other examples of her work, we're very excited to have her writing for us. We bet you'll like reading her too. 

Great Falls, Montana

Great Falls, Montana

By Reggie Watts

Montana is lucky to call itself home to Reggie Watts, comedian, musician, and former bandleader for Comedy Bang Bang! and The Late Late Show, a list of appellations to which he can now add "writer." 

His memoir, moreover, has an irresistible title - how often do we get to read a book named after a Montana town? Let alone one with so many remarkable (and sometimes strange, bizarre, hilarious, and occasionally dangerous) stories in it. Stories in which the young Reggie, a biracial kid raised on the plains of Montana, contends with punk music and being a multi-lingual Air Force brat, chases girls, attempts to resist the temptation to sip a little cough syrup, and discovers himself.

Watts's experience in Montana will speak to anyone, including those who aren't already fans of his particular style of music and comedy. But he's also being more personal and confessional here than he has been elsewhere and, consequently, Great Falls, Montana is a charming and funny introduction to Watts.

But it is also, and no less significantly, an important contribution to the literature of Montana. Great Falls emerges from the book as a character in itself, portrayed (nostalgically and with plenty of affection and pathos) as a beautiful, if flawed, town where a kid like Reggie could become the (oddball) success that he did. 

Or, as the book jacket says: "Reggie Watts is weird... Reggie Watts is also from the town of Great Falls, MT. These two facts are not unrelated."

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