Lisa Hendrickson: Burning the Breeze

Lisa Hendrickson

Lisa Hendrickson: Burning the Breeze

Lisa Hendrickson will read selections from her new book: Burning the Breeze. 

This reading and discussion, on March 4th at 2pm, is suitable for all ages. Signed copies of the books will be available to purchase.

Register with Eventbrite here.

About the Book

Burning the Breeze: Three Generations of Women in the American WestWILLA Literary Award Finalist in Creative Nonfiction Finalist, Evans Handcart Award, Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, Utah State University

In the middle of the Great Depression, Montana native Julia Bennett arrived in New York City with no money and an audacious business plan: to identify and visit easterners who could afford to spend their summers at her brand new dude ranch near Ennis, Montana. Julia, a big-game hunter whom friends described as “a clever shot with both rifle and shotgun,” flouted gender conventions to build guest ranches in Montana and Arizona that attracted world-renowned entertainers and artists.

Bennett’s entrepreneurship, however, was not a new family development. During the Civil War, her widowed grandmother and her seven-year-old daughter—Bennett’s mother—set out from Missouri on a ten-month journey with little more than a yoke of oxen, a covered wagon, and the clothes on their backs. They faced countless heartbreaks and obstacles as they struggled to build a new life in the Montana Territory.

Burning the Breeze is the story of three generations of women and their intrepid efforts to succeed in the American West. Excerpts from diaries, letters, and scrapbooks, along with rare family photos, help bring their vibrant personalities to life.


“Women’s history buffs will find plenty of drama and adventure in this thoroughly researched account of how one family’s ‘spirit of resilience’ helped form the character of the American West.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is an outstanding tribute to three strong, assured, and fearless women battling long odds to survive and thrive in the West.”—Robert Clark, Roundup Magazine

“Using family journals, correspondence, and photographs, Burning the Breeze explores the story of three generations of intrepid women in rich and engrossing detail.”—Missouri Historical Review

“[A] remarkable blend of history and biography. There’s a Ken Burns or Willa Cather–like feel of both intimacy and sweep to the storytelling, and a touch of the heroic. When I finished reading, I felt not only as though I knew these women (and was inspired by them) but that I had a deeper understanding of American history.”—Susan Neville, author of Fabrication: Essays on Making Things

“Only enormously gifted women could have won the contest between financial disaster and hard-earned success. This book is a wonderful read. You won’t be saddle sore, but you will be thrilled by the ride.”—Pierce C. Mullen, professor emeritus of history at Montana State University

“Julia Bennett sure did ‘burn the breeze’ as she rode at full speed though a long life. . . . [Hendrickson] vividly portrays the ups and downs of a remarkable woman, sprinkled with a dash of scandal.”—James H. Madison, professor emeritus of history at Indiana University

The Author

Lisa Hendrickson is the author of Burning the Breeze: Three Generations of Women in the American West, published by Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press.

The book was a finalist for the WILLA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction presented by Women Writing the West. It also was named a finalist for the Evans Handcart Award, which recognizes “works with a personal perspective and strong storytelling on the Interior West.” Jurors commented, “This is a fascinating personal story of Montana women and their interventions in a male-dominated society.”

Lisa edited a series of three books on Indiana’s 200th anniversary for the Indiana Bicentennial Commission and co-authored, with Dick Hall, Kiritsis and Me: 63 Hours at Gunpoint. Her articles have been published in the Indiana Historical Society magazine Traces, Montana Historian magazine and other publications.

Before starting her own business, Lisa served as director of communications at Park Tudor School. She also handled media and public relations for Ameritech, Indianapolis (now AT&T) and Merchants National Corporation (now PNC) and worked as an executive producer, producer, and statehouse reporter for Indianapolis broadcast media.

Lisa holds B.A. degrees in English composition and French from DePauw University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is currently working toward an MFA degree in creative fiction at Butler University.

Facebook: Lisa Hendrickson Communications

Instagram: lhendricbooks

Twitter: @lhendriccomm

LinkedIn: Lisa Hendrickson /


The event is finished.


Mar 04 2023


2:00 pm


Indy Reads
1066 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN, 46203