What are you currently reading?


Well-known member
Aug 14, 2019
North Idaho
I finished "This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild" by Nate Swcheber

A must read. A biography of Bernard and Avis DeVoto, but more than that. A history of the many (and ongoing) attempts to steal the public lands and resources for private profit, but more than that. A study of underhanded political tactics we are still seeing today. Tactics we fought a shooting war against in the 1940's, then allowed into our political culture in the US. Well researched and presented, the book is packed with moments of "WTF didn't they teach me this in school?"

Stomach turning in places, triumphant in others. This book was my graduation reading assignment in my evolution from Sage Brush Rebel to fighter for the Public Lands of the US.
I remember reading somewhere once that an adolescent is mature enough to start seeing that their parents have flaws, an adult is mature enough to start realizing that they too have the very same flaws. The book helped me take a mindful deep dive into my political development from accepting everything my parents believed without question to examining why they too believed it without question.

Did it radicalize me? Maybe. What it showed me is that what I see around me in well meaning conservatives friends comes right out of the playbook of Senators Pat McCarran and Joseph McCarthy, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and others.

I'm 61 now. I worry that there are young people today who are not taught who McCarran and McCarthy were and what they did. I was taught about McCarthyism, and knew who Pat McCarran was, but I had no idea that McCarran was the master and McCarty the crone. I saw McCarthy as a comic figure from the time of the Howdy Doody show (google it, youngsters). What a shock to read the names of the real people whose lives were ruined by this, those who killed themselves after the "Black Macs' " political machine had run them over and destroyed them. More than a few.

It was a kind of a #metoo for me in that it showed me that my politics are not unique. That there has been a long history of informed individuals in our country who could not stomach a diet of either red or blue kool-aid.

Before you read this, listen to the Hal Herring podcast with the author:

What a pleasant surprise to learn that I am only two degrees of separation from the author. Not because I'm somebody, but because my friends are. Thanks @Beignet, that rocked my world. Thank Nate for a great contribution. Hanging out a few minutes with you and Hal talking about this book was really cool.

Finally - how wild to be listening to this audiobook in the truck driving over Lolo Pass, just as the chapter about the naming of Devoto Grove on Highway 12 comes up. Bernard's ashes being scattered over the Bitterroots by plane, and and Avis' ashes being scattered there at the grove. A place I have been many times and loved, without knowing the story of its namesake.

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Bill Zent

Active member
Nov 2, 2013
Death March, the survivors of Bataan by Donald Knox.

Great book, but the very small print in this particular paperback is a PITA to read.
Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

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