Montana has a long and celebrated tradition of artful, reflective nonfiction. From Joseph Kinsey Howard's Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome to K. Ross Toole's Montana: An Uncommon Land, we've been gifted with a series of erudite and sharp-eyed guides to help show us who we are. To this eminent list we can now add Russell Rowland's Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. A native Montanan and an applauded novelist (In Open Spaces, High and Inside), Rowland spent the better part of a year studying and traveling around his beloved home state, from the mines of Butte to the pine forests of the Northwest, from the stark, wind-scrubbed badlands of the East to the tourist-driven economies of the West. Along the way, he considered our state's essential character, where we came from, and, most of all, what we might be in the process of becoming."Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey is astounding in beauty and vitality, interwoven with great wisdoms about human shadow and human light, touched by divine notions of the sacredness that binds all people, and graced with a hard won and ultimately natural sense of illumination."
― Shann Ray, author of American Copper, winner of the Spur Award
"In a voice all his own, Rowland proves to be warm and personable, and yet cutting and real―basically, one couldn't wish for a better guide to the state of Montana. This book is utterly unique. A gorgeous accomplishment."
― Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue, winner of the High Plains Book Award
"Fifty-Six Counties is a remarkable book: a macro-focused narrative using a wide-angle lens. If you have room for only one book about Montana on your shelf, make it this one.
― David Abrams, author of Fobbit
"Fifty-Six Counties is an insightful consideration of our state's angles and attitudes; it's not an easy task but this result is grand."
― Pat Williams, former US Congressman from Montana