Peter BoagJul 20, 2022
The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-Of-the-Century Oregon
University of Washington Press 2022
On November 19, 1895, eighteen year old Lloyd Montgomery murdered his parents and their neighbor at his home in rural Linn County, Oregon. In Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon (U Washington Press, 2022), Peter Boag, professor of history at Washington State University, tries to explain how this horrific crime came to pass. Boag explains that rural America in the late nineteenth century was in a state of crisis, and rural boyhood in particular was an experience fraught with both symbolism and peril. With an ongoing economic crisis and with violence and death everywhere, young American boys in places like Linn County found themselves with fewer future prospects and more expectations upon their shoulders than ever. The Montgomery murder thus spoke directly to the fears and the hopes that many Americans had for their nation's future, as well as to the inherent violence at the core of the American Western experience.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.