Ivan Doig Books

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Ivan Doig was an American novelist who wrote Westerns. Born in 1939 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, his parents were a ranch hand (Charlie Doig) and a ranch cook (Bernita Ringer).

Order of Montana Trilogy Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 English Creek 1984 Description / Buy
2 Dancing at the Rascal Fair 1987 Description / Buy
3 Ride With Me, Mariah Montana 1990 Description / Buy

Chronological Order of Montana Trilogy Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Dancing at the Rascal Fair 1987 Description / Buy
2 English Creek 1984 Description / Buy
3 Ride With Me, Mariah Montana 1990 Description / Buy

Order of Two Medicine Country Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Bucking the Sun 1996 Description / Buy
2 Mountain Time 1999 Description / Buy
3 Prairie Nocturne 2003 Description / Buy
4 The Eleventh Man 2008 Description / Buy
5 The Bartender's Tale 2012 Description / Buy
6 Last Bus to Wisdom 2015 Description / Buy

Order of Whistling Season Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Whistling Season 2006 Description / Buy
2 Work Song 2010 Description / Buy
3 Sweet Thunder 2013 Description / Buy

Order of Ivan Doig Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Sea Runners 1981 Description / Buy

Order of Ivan Doig Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published Details
1 News, a Consumer's Guide 1972 Description / Buy
2 Utopian America 1976 Description / Buy
3 This House of Sky 1978 Description / Buy
4 Winter Brothers 1980 Description / Buy
5 Inside This House of Sky 1983 Description / Buy
6 Heart Earth 1992 Description / Buy
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The author’s grandmother (Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Ringer) became a pivotal part of his upbringing after his mother died (on his sixth birthday). The agricultural environs of White Sulphur Springs and Dupuyer shaped Doig’s childhood, enhancing his appreciation for ordinary people living in extraordinary places.

An avid consumer of comics and magazines, the author attended Valier High School before using his full-tuition scholarship to acquire a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. He also pursued journalism, securing his master’s degree in 1962 and a Ph.D. in American History (University of Washington).

Before delving into fiction, Doig was a freelancer lending his talents to newspapers and magazines. Many critics trace the origins of his successful publishing career to ‘This House of Sky,’ a memoir he wrote after getting his Ph.D.

The book explores his upbringing in Montana. It introduced the world to his enduring passion for Western literature, which he associated with the people who worked the land, not just the place. He wrote about miners, town builders, and teachers, romantic and platonic relationships, the droughts, blizzards, fires, and floods that plagued the land, and more.

He wrote from the working-class point of view because he understood their struggles. He recorded the colloquial language of the working class men and women from his childhood on thousands of file cards that informed his work on ‘This House of Sky.’

Author David Laskin praised Doig for the accuracy of the historical elements in his work. This was not a coincidence. Two of Doig’s close friends and collaborators (Dave and Marcella Walter) were historians.

They would check some of his manuscripts for historical inaccuracies. In one particular case, Doig thought he had gone too far in amending history to satisfy the story’s needs. He wanted Dave and Marcella to ensure he hadn’t strayed too far from local history.

The author hated the romanticized aspects famous writers injected into the Western genre, creating unrealistic myths about cowboys in the Old West that failed to represent the complexities of the setting.

He couldn’t understand how the cowboys in the genre could go an entire book without doing everyday tasks such as churning butter and milking cows. The false reality irked him. According to Doig, you couldn’t explore the American West without highlighting the exhausting labor that occupied the men and women.

Doig died in 2015 at 75. His passing was connected to MGUS and smoldering myeloma diagnoses he got in 2001 and 2006. At the time, he was married to Carol Muller. The pair met at the Medill School of Journalism. The couple was childless.

Carol played a critical role in Doig’s success. The professor of journalism helped him to write and edit his manuscripts. She donated Doig’s collection (records, notes, and photos) to the Montana State University Library.

Ivan Doig Awards

Doig’s accolades include the Wallace Stegner Award (University of Colorado), the Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award (Western Literature Association), the Christopher Award, and the Evans Biography Award, to mention but a few.

Best Ivan Doig Books

The writer counts his English and Latin teachers from high school among the most influential people he ever met because of everything they taught him. Doig’s best books include:

The Whistling Season: Paul, Damon, and Toby Milliron lost their mother to a burst appendix. Now a widower, their father, Oliver, needs help. The house is a mess. Rose Llewellyn is recently widowed. Along with her brother, Morris Morgan, Rose will change their lives when the housekeeper joins their household.

Last Bus To Wisdom: Donal Cameron lived a comfortable life with his grandmother, who worked as a cook at a ranch in the Montana Rockies. When the doctor prescribed surgery for the woman’s female troubles, she sent Donal to her sister in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, Kate was nothing like her sister. The tyrannical woman made Donal’s life difficult. Nothing he did pleased her. She was just as likely to victimize her husband, Herman.

Eventually, Aunt Kate surrendered to the worst aspects of her nature and sent Donal back to Montana. The last thing she expected was for Herman, her husband, to join Donal on the Greyhound.

When Does The Next Ivan Doig book come out?

Ivan Doig doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Heart Earth and was released on August, 16th 2016. It is the newest book in the Ivan Doig Non-Fiction Books.


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