Montana Folks

Montana Folks

Olson, Kristy
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Montana Folks
By Durrae and John Johanek, Kurt Keller
Guilford, Connecticut
Two Dot, 2005
231 pages

Bozeman residents Durrae and John Johanek hit the road with Helena's Kurt Keller to photograph and profile 57 Montanans with unique jobs. Part Studs Terkel, part The Horse Whisperer, Montana Folks recognizes the diverse ways in which Montanans make a living. Included are sheepshearer Olen Raisland, Hutterite elder Sam Hofer, saddlemaker Ben Swanke, and weather observer Janet Zieg, and many more. Some of the stories are authoritative, like Chuck Jonkel's, who is a bear expert in Missoula, and some are lighthearted, like Jim Jensen's, who is a professional Santa broker. But besides simply highlighting interesting occupations, the book's examination of the pursuit of passion also makes it a study of the very personal process of defining success for one's self. Many of the subjects went through several careers before finding the one that stuck, and there's something soothing about discovering how others find their way in the world. But where are the construction workers? The DMV employees? The accountants? The librarians? Well, not everyone can be in a book, and even if the authors ignored the leagues of secretaries, claims adjusters, cops, plumbers, sales clerks, and other mainstream workers that also make the world turn, Montana Folks exemplifies the fact that everybody has a story, even you.
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