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‘Ridgeline’ and Michael Punke’s Historical Imagination

Michael Punke
Michael Punke

Michael Punke’s Ridgeline is, broadly, about what is now known - though rarely talked about - as the Fetterman Massacre, which took place in 1866 in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley. The U.S. Army sent hundreds of soldiers, as well as women and children, to set up a fort in the region, eventually named Fort Phil Kearny, on what was the traditional land of the Lakota, the Arapaho, and the Cheyenne. Listen to Lauren’s lively conversation with Punke about his empathetic and nuanced snapshot of a rarely-heard history of the American West now!

About Michael:
Michael Punke is the author of several books including The Revenant, a #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Academy Award–winning film. In his diverse professional career, Punke has served as the U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, history correspondent for the Montana Quarterly, and an adjunct professor at the University of Montana. As a high school and college student, he worked summers as a living history interpreter at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. He lives with his family in Montana and is an avid outdoorsman.

Michael Punke recommends:
The Joe Pickett series by C. J. Box

Lauren Korn recommends:

Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling (Blue Hen)
There There by Tommy Orange (Vintage Books)
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Gallery Books)
Horsefly Dress by Heather Cahoon (University of Arizona Press)
The Cheyenne Story: An Interpretation of Courage by Gerry Robinson (Sweetgrass Books)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Vintage Books, Doubleday)
The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison (Counterpoint Press)


Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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