Biography

#831 Don’t mention the Yukon Poet

Robert Service: The True Adventures of Yukon’s Favourite Bard by Elle Andra-Warner Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 (first published as Robert Service: A Great Canadian Poet’s Romance with the North, Altitude Publishing, 2004) $9.95 / 9781772033311 Reviewed by William R. Morrison * As an experiment in the lasting influence of poetry in this country, I thought…
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#825 Alison’s excellent adventure

Moments of Glad Grace: A Memoir by Alison Wearing Toronto: ECW Press, 2020 $16.99 / 9781770415133 Reviewed by Graeme Wynn * This splendid memoir recalls the week that Alison Wearing spent researching family history with her father in Dublin. It is, on the face of it, a beautifully-crafted, bitter-sweet story of an excellent adventure. Anxious…
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#802 Cutting Simon Fraser down to size

Lowering Simon Fraser by Maddie Leach (concept and editing) and Michael Kluckner (drawings and interpretation) Vancouver: Contemporary Art Gallery, 2019 [catalogue; no price]  / 9781989503027 Lowering Simon Fraser (the catalogue) is available from the shop at the Contemporary Art Gallery Reviewed by Forrest Pass * 1908 should have been a bumper year for commemorations in…
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#801 Welcome to Ormsby Street

Welcome to Ormsby Street by Richard Somerset Mackie * In September 2016, in his Welcome to the Ormsby Review, Richard Mackie provided his memories of Margaret Ormsby (1909-1996), the B.C. historian after whom The Ormsby Review is named. He referenced their conversations in two fine old living rooms in the Coldstream Valley, near Vernon, where…
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#799 Murder at the Sumas settlement

The Trials of Albert Stroebel: Love, Murder and Justice at the End of the Frontier by Chad Reimer Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2020 $24.95 / 9781773860206 Reviewed by Kathryn Neilson * The Trials of Albert Stroebel chronicles the 1893 murder of John Marshall, a farmer on the Sumas prairie, and its consequences for his one-time…
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#796 John McLoughlin of Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake House: Twilight of Empire on the Northern Frontier by Theodore Catton Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017 $32.95 (U.S.) / 9781421422923 Reviewed by Sarah Carter * The pandemic crisis descends as I write this review and my first thought is that this book will be a welcome diversion from the anxieties and upheavals…
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#791 The incomparable Al Howie

In Search of Al Howie by Jared Beasley Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2019 $25.00 / 9781771603386 Reviewed by Timothy Lewis * The old adage tells us not to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Jared Beasley’s In Search of Al Howie, one learns much from that practice. The reader’s eye…
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#776 Five women at the edge of empire

Henry & Self: An English Gentlewoman at the Edge of Empire by Kathryn Bridge Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2019 (first published by Sono Nis Press, 1996) $22.95 / 9780772672612 * By Snowshoe, Buckboard and Steamer: Women of the British Columbia Frontier by Kathryn Bridge Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2019 (first published by Sono…
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#771 A tale of rubble and splendour

Lampedusa by Steven Price Toronto: McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House), 2019 $32.00 / 9780771071683 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * On March 12, 2020, Steven Price’s Lampedusa was one of five books shortlisted for the 2020 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on September 19th –…
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#764 Refuge at Hot Springs Cove

The Hot Springs Cove Story: The Beginnings of Maquinna Marine Provincial Park by Michael Kaehn Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $24.95 / 9781550178609 Reviewed by Mike Starr * Ivan Clarke and his wife Mabel donated the land beside Hot Springs Cove to the Province of British Columbia to create Maquinna Provincial Park. This book, which…
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#749 Robin Blaser in retrospect

A Literary Biography of Robin Blaser: Mechanic of Splendor by Miriam Nichols New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019 $39.99 (U.S.) / 9783030183264 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * The most astonishing section of this book comes when author Miriam Nichols describes Robin Blaser’s time as a teacher at Simon Fraser University. Perhaps it is because…
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#748 Collishaw of the western desert

Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign, 1940-1941 by Mike Bechthold Norman, Oklahoma: Oklahoma University Press, 2017 $34.95 (U.S.) / 9780806155968 Reviewed by John Hinde * In his recent book, Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign, 1940-1941, Mike Bechthold points out that “May 1941 marked a pivotal transitional…
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#746 An early Indigenous advocate

The Fourth World: An Indian Reality by George Manuel and Michael Posluns (foreword by Vine Deloria Jr., afterword by Doreen Manuel, introduction by Glen Coulthard) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019 (first published by Collier Macmillan Canada, 1974) $24.95 (U.S.) / 9781517906061 Reviewed by Chris Arnett * When I taught in the First Nations studies…
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#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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#711 In memoriam E.D. Blodgett

In memoriam E.D. Blodgett by James Felton (editor) * Born in Philadelphia in 1935, E.D. Blodgett (Ted) (Edward Dickinson) Blodgett came to Canada in 1966 to teach at the University of Alberta. He wrote 22 books of poetry, one of which, Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano (Ottawa: Buschek Books, 1996), won the Governor General’s Award for…
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