History (world)

#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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#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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#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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#708 Make Rome great again

Possess the Air: Love, Heroism, and the Battle for the Soul of Mussolini’s Rome by Taras Grescoe Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95 / 9781771963237 Reviewed by Angela Clarke * Taras Grescoe’s Possess the Air: Love, Heroism, and the Battle for the Soul of Mussolini’s Rome is a timely non-fiction study of populism and historical responsibility….
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#685 Tracking the Komagata Maru

Voices of Komagata Maru: Imperial Surveillance and Workers from Punjab in Bengal by Suchetana Chattopadhyay New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2018; New York: Columbia University Press, 2019 $35.00 (U.S.) / 9788193401583 Reviewed by Larry Hannant * Many Canadians became aware of the name Komagata Maru only in 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, still in his…
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#680 All hat and no soapbox

Mad Hatter by Amanda Hale Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2019 $29.95 / 9781771833905 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * Don’t judge a book by its cover … at your peril. That’s a song worth listening to but sometimes, and in this case, it is all there, the rabbit’s final bone crushing scream. As the subject, an archetypal…
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#635 Go east, young man

A Voluntary Crucifixion by David J. MacKinnon Montréal: Guernica Editions, 2019 $25.00 / 9781771832724 Reviewed by Jim Christy * If you’ve ever heard of David MacKinnon, where have you been? Certainly not around the literary scene anywhere in Canada, including his native British Columbia, even though he is arguably one of the best writers in the…
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#630 Breaking with the Tribe

Mad Hatter by Amanda Hale Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2019 $29.95 / 9781771833905 Reviewed by Sally Campbell * Some books are simply better than others. This fictionalized memoir, set in Britain during the Second World War, takes on big questions — mental fragility, emotional resilience, demonization of dissenters, tribalism, family secrets and family legacy, sex, love,…
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#599 Coast Salish women revealed

Interwoven Lives: Indigenous Mothers of Salish Coast Communities by Candace Wellman Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2019 $27.95 (U.S.) / 9780874223644 Reviewed by Marie Elliott * Researching settlement history can take you in many directions, some more challenging than others. While helping people with their family histories at the Washington State Archives in Bellingham,…
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#420 Why the red poppies matter

ESSAY: A century since Vimy and Passchendaele: Two wars, two families, one message by Howard Macdonald Stewart First published Nov. 11, 2018 * For Remembrance Day 2018 we offer a moving reflection by Howard Stewart — reprinted from Ormsby no. 195 (November 11, 2017) on this centenary of 11.11.18 — on war’s impact on his…
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#208 Autobiography of a WASP

First published Nov. 23, 2017. REVIEW: Edges of Empire: A Documentary by Rhodri Jones (Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe) Vancouver: Rarebit Press. 2017. $20.00  /  9780994941237 Reviewed by Julian Wake * Born in 1946, Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London and came to Canada to teach art history at McGill…
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#21 Bumbling down the Danube

1973: Bumbling down the Blue Danube, and the Red Danube, with Cornelius Burke by Howard Macdonald Stewart first published October-November 2016 * The Ormsby Review is pleased to present a memoir by Howard Stewart, born in Powell River in 1952 and a long-term resident of Denman Island. When Stewart was twenty, in 1973, near the…
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