Book Feature: Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West by Thomas “Jerry” Delaney

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Book Feature | 0 comments

Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West is a coming-of-age novel by Thomas “Jerry” Delaney set during the Civil War.

Coming-of-age historical drama provides readers with a unique reading experience. It takes us to a specific time in our history and gives us a peek at the people and society. Great historical fiction novels provide an excellent backdrop for a remarkable personal narrative. ReadersMagnet will look at one of the recently published historical novels that center on the life journey of a young man and how he ended up in the infamous town known for its violence and vigilantism. Today, we will get to know more of Thomas “Jerry” Delaney’s Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West.

Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West

Bannack: A Growing Up Story In The Vigilante West is a 2020 historical drama featuring a coming-of-age adventure set during the Civil War in majestic mountainous Montana. Jerry Delaney’s masterpiece contains 218 pages of wild adventure, a journey to self-discovery, and redemption. The title is named after the famous ghost town in Beaverhead County, Montana.

The book’s main protagonist is a young man named Billy Mayfair. Throughout the story, we witness the hard life of Billy and the struggles he endured before landing a job in a Union hospital during the height of the Civil War. Mayfair is then able to travel north of Fort Benton and then settling in the town of Bannack, where his life will forever change. This remote town becomes his home and its sheriff, his closest friend.

Bannack is a story of adventure and self-discovery set in the time of the Civil War and vigilante violence, Sixteen-year-old Billy Mayfair, kicked out of his home in Illinois by his father, sets out to find a fortune in gold in a remote mining camp in what would become Montana Territory.

While in St. Louis, he loses his money and virginity, gets in a fight, and lands in jail. But he manages to save enough working in a Union hospital caring for Civil War causalities to book passage on a streamer headed 2,000 miles north of Fort Benton. Panning for gold and living in the wild hard-drinking town of Bannack, he becomes a friend of the sheriff, who will become known in the official record as the most notorious outlaw in Montana history: twenty-one men are hanged in less than a month’s time. (excerpt from book description)

Thomas “Jerry” Delaney’s Bannack is a narrative loosely inspired by the famous town’s history, particularly the violence and vigilantism. In 1964, the town witnessed the trial and hanging of several men found guilty by the Vigilance Committee of Bannack and Virginia City, including the town’s sheriff, deputies, and several others totaling twenty-two individuals in less than a month.

About the Author

Thomas “Jerry” Delaney was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in northwest Montana in a small town called Polson. Jerry finished college at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington. Thomas “Jerry” Delaney served as the Director of Public Affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. As an Adjunct Professor, Jerry taught writing at City College of New York. As a freelance writer, he also took multiple writing projects, including editing a national health magazine, adapting a play based on a book by Albert Camus presented in Santa Fe, NM, and essays on contemporary political topics. Thomas “Jerry” Delaney currently lives in Santa Fe with his partner, Deon Hilger.

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