History (B.C.)

#745 The secret spy of Salt Spring

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter by Robert Hutton London: St. Martin’s Press, 2019. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books Reviewed by Julian Wake * When I first read Eric Roberts’ Salt Spring Saga, someone here on Salt Spring — my home — told me that he had been an important…
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#742 Beyond the Great Western Peninsula

ESSAY: Beyond the Great Western Peninsula by Richard Mackie * I received a doctorate in Canadian history at UBC in 1993 and taught as a sessional lecturer at three colleges or universities on Vancouver Island between 1994 and 2002.[1] To the uninitiated, Canadian history is divided in half, into “pre-Confederation” and “post-Confederation,” shortened to “pre-confed”…
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#738 Cowichan soliloquy

River Tales: Stories from My Cowichan Years by Liz Maxwell Forbes Crofton: Osborne Bay Books, 2019 $24.95 / 9780994906533 Reviewed by Georgina Montgomery * It has always been a happy thought to me that the creek runs on all night, new every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed…
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#737 Canada vs Germany in Italy

The River Battles: Canada’s Final Campaign in World War II Italy by Mark Zuehlke Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $37.95 / 9781771622356 Reviewed by Richard Lonsdale * Twenty-five years ago there were very few popular book-length histories of the Canadians in the Italian Campaign of World War II. We can thank award-winning author Mark…
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#734 Destination Danish colony

San Josef by Harold Macy New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781775165989 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Although I have lived on Vancouver Island for over forty years, I have never travelled farther north than Port Hardy. All I knew of San Josef and Cape Scott at the northern tip of the island was…
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#732 Race, rails, and Hogan’s Alley

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada by Cecil Foster Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95 / 9781771962612 Reviewed by John Douglas Belshaw * For Black History Month Canada (February 1- 20, 2020) we present John Belshaw’s review of Cecil Foster’s They Call Me George: The…
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#730 Marking the Great Divide

Surveying the 120th Meridian and the Great Divide: The Alberta-BC Boundary Survey, 1918-1924 by Jay Sherwood Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $29.95 / 9781773860091 Reviewed by Keith Regular * Editor’s note: see also Robert Allen’s review of this book’s predecessor, Surveying the Great Divide: The Alberta/BC Boundary Survey, 1913-1917 (Caitlin Press, 2017) in The Ormsby…
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#721 Five British Columbia battalions

The Empire on the Western Front: The British 62nd and Canadian 4th Divisions in Battle by Geoffrey Jackson Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780774860154 Reviewed by James D. Barrett * Geoffrey Jackson’s readable study of the performance of the 62nd Division British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the 4th Canadian Division (CEF) hits the mark…
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#719 A perpetual real estate fizz

Land of Destiny: A History of Vancouver Real Estate by Jesse Donaldson Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781772141443 Reviewed by Patricia A. Roy * Donaldson’s thesis is simple: “The history of Vancouver is the history of real estate” (p. 5). He persuasively argues that Vancouver has had housing crises almost continuously since its founding…
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#718 Bare-knuckle boxing on ice

Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey by Jeremy Allingham, with a foreword by Daniel Carcillo Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $22.95 /  9781551527710 Reviewed by Timothy Lewis * If you’re an ardent supporter of Canada’s recently deposed elder statesman of hockey commentary — Don Cherry — and his championing of fighting in…
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#714 A naturalist on the North Pacific

John Scouler (c. 1804-1871) Scottish Naturalist: A Life, with Two Voyages by E. Charles Nelson Glasgow: Glasgow Natural History Society, 2014 £11.00 (U.K.) / 9780956529510 Reviewed by Robert M. Galois * Naturalists’ Networks and the Northwest Coast in the Early Nineteenth Century On 25 July, 1824, John Scouler, a young Scottish naturalist, boarded the Hudson’s…
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#701 Nine years of northern nursing

When Days are Long: Nurse in the North by Amy Wilson, with an introduction by Laurel Deedrick-Mayne Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019. First published in Sidney by Gray’s Publishing, 1965 $24.95 / 9781773860084 Reviewed by Heather Longworth Sjoblom * “Such a challenge! And I couldn’t resist it,” wrote Amy Wilson about her acceptance as field…
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#699 Reply to a cenotaph

Once Well Beloved: Remembering a British Columbia Great War Sacrifice by Michael Sasges Victoria: Royal BC Museum, 2019 $17.95 / 9780772672551 Reviewed by Sylvia Crooks * The national trauma of the First World War, even though it was fought over one hundred years ago, is still deeply felt today. Michael Sasges’ Once Well Beloved is…
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#697 Skeena echoes and silkscreens

Voices from the Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History by Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $29.95 / 9781550178838 Reviewed by Tyler McCreary * On March 12, 2020, Voices from the Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History, by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers, was one of five books shortlisted for…
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