GOLD/1ST PLACE AWARD WINNER, 2015 IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BOOK AWARDS
(POPULAR FICTION category)
GOLD/1ST PLACE AWARD WINNER, 2016 FEATHERED QUILL BOOK AWARDS
(ADULT FICTION category)
Brothers Richard and Seth Barrett are devoted to running the family ranch on Nebraska's Platte River, and they plan to do so for the rest of their lives. But their mother's will requires them to travel by horse and canoe along the river to understand why their maternal grandfather homesteaded the ranch three generations earlier. From her grave, their mother also commands them to observe the harm that industrial farming has done to the land, air, and water.
The Barrett brothers’ journey is not to be a smooth one. A ninety-year-old bachelor farmer with a game plan of his own threatens to disrupt and delay the will's mandatory expedition. A neighbor rancher, using a gullible hometown sheriff and a corrupt local politician, seeks to thwart their plans and seize the property. In this turbulent novel, the Platte River—a mile wide and an inch deep—becomes its own character and lives up to its legend of being too thick to drink and too thin to plow.
James A. Misko (1932 - 2019) was born in Nebraska, then moved to Oregon and Alaska, completing what for him was a natural bridge to the frontier. He worked in his time as an oil field roughneck, a logger, truck driver, saw mill hand, teacher, journalist, real estate broker, and writer.
To read his obituary, feel free to click here.
"In Jim Misko's exciting new novel, As All My Fathers Were, two aging brothers set out by horseback up the beautiful but endangered Platte River. Their odyssey into the heart of the contemporary American West is both harrowing and inspiring. Anyone who thinks that old-fashioned storytelling in the tradition of Lonesome Dove and Cold Mountain has gone the way of the Platte River buffalo herd must read this fine novel." —Howard Frank Mosher, author of God's Kingdom
"In this tough but tender story of two estranged brothers—and their event-filled trek down Nebraska's Platte River—Misko simultaneously paints a memorable portrait, as incisive as it is illuminating, of America's disappearing past and its increasingly conflicted future."
—Robert Masello, author of The Romanov Cross
"What is extraordinary about Jim Misko's As All My Fathers Were is how he makes the land, Nature, practically a main character in his stories. You can't read his novels without feeling you've been in that world, and if you haven't, you envy those who have and still are. To do this, and still hold onto tension and the excitement of good storytelling with themes that have meaning to us, makes As All My Fathers Were a must read for anyone who wants to breathe fresh air."—Andrew Neiderman, author of The Devil's Advocate and the V.C. Andrews novels
“Jim Misko has done it again. As All My Fathers Were is a masterpiece. This novel has everything a reader searches for in pursuit of a fine book—strong characters, brilliant dialogue, exciting plot, tension that bounces off every page, conflict, high ideals and villainy. In addition, by the end of the book, the average reader is far better educated and informed of a real-life issue of which the vast majority is uninformed.”
—Stephen Maitland-Lewis, award-winning author of Ambition and Emeralds Never Fade
"As All My Fathers Were is highly recommended; it's a walk (or more accurately, a ride) down Memory Lane at the very same time as a bridge to the future. That's a tall order to fill, but Misko accomplishes it well and then some."
—Bryce Lambley, author of Platte River Driftwood
"This is Jim Misko's best book [yet]. What a read. Accurate because of his knowledge of the area. Misko's devoted followers should double as new readers finish the last page. The interplay of characters, both virtuous and villainous, is great as a major family calamity looms."
—Denis Bromley, friend, follower and fellow Scotch drinker
"A passion play for the New West, As All My Fathers Were gathers momentum the way a river grows, gathering substance with every bend and merging channel, and shines in its descriptive writing. This is Misko at his best."
—Lynn Schooler, author of Heartbroke Bay
"Jim Misko’s As All My Fathers Were, set in 2014, with historical reference to the mid-1800s, the novel’s core is the story of a deceased family matriarch, Mae Barrett, and her passion to convert their farming philosophy from one of 'industrial methods' to 'sustainable agriculture.' Given this heady premise I can state the book still manages to achieve, at times, the momentum of an entertaining page-turner."
—John P. Hagen, author of Play Away Please
"James A. Misko's recipe for a satisfying novel:
—Two aging brothers, set in their contrary ways.
—One odyssey by horseback and canoe through their family's past, with a crucial deadline to save their heritage.
—'Good ol' boy' villains conspiring to make them fail.
—One dying river.
—A conscientious author who knows the territory.
—Stir in saddle sores, exhaustion and suspense, and serve at just the right moment.
It's called As All My Fathers Were.”
—James Alexander Thorn, author of Follow the River
"Jim Misko in his new novel, As All My Fathers Were, has given us a novel and unique portrait of the Platte River country, as well as some interesting characters to conduct the reader on this journey. Well done, Jim."
—Dick Couch, author of Act of Revenge and Always Faithful, Always Forward
"As All My Fathers Were is a refreshingly unapologetic, environmental polemic—one with living characters and a pulse. But far more remarkable than the story of two Nebraska farmers on a quest to save their land, is its author: an 80-something self-described gun-toting political conservative. Jim Misko’s condemnation of modern agribusiness bares an essential truth: Nature knows no politics, and we’re all in this together. Off in the distance, you can hear Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, and the Platte River itself applauding."
—Nick Jans, author of A Wolf Called Romeo and member of USA Today's board of editorial contributors
"If you want to know how the Platte River works, read James A. Misko’s absorbing and rambunctious tale of Seth and Richard Barrett, who must complete a journey up the river from its confluence with the Missouri to its source near North Platte, Nebraska, and back if they are to inherit the family farm. In As All My Fathers Were, you’ll learn the natural history of this once wild river that shaped the land and those who lived near it but in the past century has been broken by energy generation and the agricultural industry. Yet as Misko’s novel bears witness, the Platte still has the power to inspire the imagination and fine literature."
—Lisa Knopp, author of What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte