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New “Speaking Ill of the Dead” Book Just Released

The seekers of the Golden Hatchet have come up with another look at the dark side of Montana history with the just released “Still Speaking Ill of the Dead.�

The first book by the Golden Hatchet authors, “Speaking Ill of the Dead,� sold more than 20,000 copies.

The book, published by Globe Pequot Press of Helena, is literally hot off the presses, barely in time for the holiday season. The book will be premiered Wednesday (Dec. 22) from noon to 1 p.m. at the Montana Historical Society Museum Store with all of the contributing authors on hand to sign copies.

“There is a kind of cult of the followers of ‘Speaking Ill of the Dead.’ We didn’t think the book would be out until next year, but when it came in early, we decided to hold this special event to satisfy their historical blood lust,� Society Museum Store Manager Richard Boyd said only partly in jest.

The book is an interesting, if sometimes disgusting, look at the immoral, cowardly, selfish and just plain evil people and events in Montana history.

The targets of the historians’ well-aimed pens this time include Lewis and Clark guide Toussaint Charbonneau, cannibals and heinous frontier characters Boone Helm and Liver-Eatin’ Johnston, vigilante and executioner John Beidler, the Montana Council of Defense that tromped on civil liberties during war time.

In all there are 14 stories and profiles in the book taken from presentations made at the annual Montana History Conference “Jerks in Montana History� sessions. Those who come up with the best “Jerks� story are awarded the Golden Hatchet at the conference.

Editors of the new book and Golden Hatchet Award winners are Jon Axline, historian for the Montana Department of Transportation, and Montana Historical Society archivist Jodie Foley. Other contributors are Dave Walter and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society, Angie Gifford and Kristin Gallas formerly with the Society, and Grant Kohrs National Historic Site historian Lyndel Meikle.

The 160-page paperback book sells for $14.95.

Posted by on 12/17 at 09:49 AM






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