KevinGThe straight scoop:

Kevin S. Giles was raised in Deer Lodge, Montana, in the shadow of the territorial-era state prison. His father, Murry, narrowly escaped being taken hostage during the 1959 riot and later became a lieutenant of custody. His mother Jean was a teacher who taught the fortunes of persistent reading and writing. Kevin is a journalism graduate of the University of Montana in Missoula and has worked as

a reporter, editor and designer for six daily newspapers in the United States and Australia. He’s written two nonfiction books, Jerry’s Riot: The True Story of Montana’s 1959 Prison Disturbance, and Flight of the Dove: The Story of Jeannette Rankin. (Out of print, but new edition coming!) He’s also edited and designed several other books and, in the course of his career as a newspaper journalist, written thousands of news stories and editorials.


Two of Kevin’s favorite quotes by someone else:

“Small use it will be to save democracy for the race if we cannot at the same time save the race for democracy.” Pacifist Jeannette Rankin, about World War I.


“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde, 1890


One of Kevin’s favorite quotes he wrote himself:

“Stiff with terror, he now realized he could become a human torch.” From Jerry’s Riot.


What two readers have said about Jerry’s Riot:

 “Sooo, on the nicest days of the year so far in Montana, what was I doing? Making the fatal mistake of picking up the book ‘Jerry’s Riot’! I could not put it down and finished the entire book over the weekend! Kevin, your attention to detail was mind-boggling and your style of writing had me on the edge of my seat the entire time….” Gayle Mizner


“It is the best book I ever read in my life and I am a heavy reader. So informative, such interesting data, descriptions. I felt I know the guys you wrote about.” Bill Fenton


What Kevin loves about life:

Any moment spent in the Montana mountains, well-composed photography, grandkids with ice cream, conversations over Merlot, a sentence that lingers on the tongue like white chocolate, memories of childhood innocence, strumming a well-tuned guitar, appreciating Montana authors and Montana history.


Murry Giles, a real-life guard at Montana State Prison:

Kevin says: This is my dad. He was an officer at Montana State Prison from the late 1950s through the 1960s. After that he was manager of the inmate store, known as “the canteen.” This photo was taken about 1964, just after the warden promoted Dad to lieutenant of custody. The first time I saw Dad at work I was 12 years old. I came inside the walls on a Friday night to see the inmate boxing matches. This was a coming of age for Deer Lodge boys, at least for those of us whose fathers worked at the prison. I sat in the balcony of the theater while Dad, the only guard I could see on the main floor, circulated among the hundreds of convicts in the wooden seats. He made a good prison guard because he could talk their rough talk. He always respected men who tried to improve themselves. As I grew older, I came to appreciate the broader context of Montana State Prison history, particularly the prison riot in 1959. Dad is gone now, the victim of heart disease. I look back at his tough life inside that prison with admiration.

Victor Baldwin, shown fourth from right in this 1970s photo, survived being taken hostage in 1959. Many of these guards shown here were involved in the riot or began work at the prison soon afterwards.

Many of these guards shown here in the late 1970s outside the main cell house in the old prison worked when the riot occurred or began work at the prison soon afterwards.


10 thoughts on “Author

  1. My Dad was with the National Guard and was at the Riot of 1959. More then 2 people Die (17 Die). My dad was one of the Guardsman that carried out 17 bodies and placed them into Army Medical vehicle. The sheriff Johnny Wilson told my dad to not to say a word about what took place. I live in deer lodge and remember the hold event.

  2. My wife directed me to your site. Imagine my surprise – my mother was born/raised in Deer Lodge; my godfather was once the warden.

  3. Kevin I am trying to order your new book and I can’t find where to order it on your website. Caan you send me the link please. Thank you. Nikki Gillette Smith.

  4. We have an Uncle, Opie Smith, who was a guard at the prison during the 1950-60’s – maybe into the 1970s. We cannot find out anything about him as all family members have passed. How can we find out if he is listed somewhere as having been a prison guard at the old prison.? Appreciate any help to track him down in Deer Lodge, Montana. Sincere thank you for you website about the prison. If anyone knew Opie, (he died I believe in 1971) or any of his family, wife, children? Please blog follow up on this

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