History (world)

#864 Crossing Lake Tanganyika

Maison Rouge: Memories of a Childhood in War by Liliane Leila Juma Vancouver: Tradewind Books, 2020 $12.95 / 9781926890302 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Like many of us, I often find myself reading a couple of books at the same time. So, when I picked up Leila Juma’s thin tome I was also reading another…
Read more #864 Crossing Lake Tanganyika

#862 The remarkable Victoria Chung

A Woman in Between: Searching for Dr. Victoria Chung by John Price with Ningping Yu Vancouver: Canadian Chinese Historical Society of British Columbia and UBC Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies, 2019 $30.00  /  9780993659324 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * An immigrant girl, born in Victoria in 1897 and a…
Read more #862 The remarkable Victoria Chung

#858 Enter the one-man power saw

Chainsaws: A History by David Lee, in conjunction with Mike Acres Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020 (updated 2nd edition; first published 2006) $34.95 / 9781550179118 Reviewed by Robert Allen * This book captured my interest right from the beginning with its retro cover showing a 1951 IEL Super Pioneer “one-man power chainsaw,” a 1950s style…
Read more #858 Enter the one-man power saw

#857 Oceans as sustainable commons

Vanishing Fish: Shifting Baselines and the Future of Global Fisheries by Daniel Pauly, with a foreword by Jennifer Jacquet Vancouver: Greystone, 2019 $34.95 / 9781771643986 Reviewed by Loys Maingon * …fish are in dire peril, and, if they are, then so are we. — Daniel Pauly (p. 24) In a remarkable collection of essays drawn…
Read more #857 Oceans as sustainable commons

#856 Alas, poor British Columbia

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art by Bruno David and Ian J. McNiven (editors) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019 $175.00 (U.S.) / 9780190607357 Reviewed by Chris Arnett * “Rock art,” for those who don’t know, is a general term for Indigenous paintings or carvings found on rock surfaces inside caves,…
Read more #856 Alas, poor British Columbia

#847 Hedonism, pleasure, ethics

ESSAY: The Will to Pleasure: Hedonism, Ethics, and Aesthetics from the Ancient World to the Present Age by Eryn Holbrook * When Christianity and Marxism end their shared reign, we will need visions of new possibilities. There is always one fixed point: the body. Not a body of Platonic ideas, nor a body cut in…
Read more #847 Hedonism, pleasure, ethics

#837 The global frame of Deni Béchard

My Favourite Crime: Essays and Journalism from Around the World by Deni Ellis Béchard Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $24.95 / 9781772012323 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Deni Béchard’s My Favourite Crime is a powerful collection of writing. The book’s cover blurb, not something I usually put much faith in, contains much truth: this really is an…
Read more #837 The global frame of Deni Béchard

#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…
Read more #825 Alison’s excellent adventure

#823 Canadian internment legacies

Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories & Legacies by Rhonda L. Hinther and Jim Mochoruk (editors) Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020 $31.95 / 9780887558450 * The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps by Sandra Semchuk Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2019 $34.99 / 9781772123784 * Harry Livingstone’s Forgotten Men: Canadians and…
Read more #823 Canadian internment legacies

#819 Pandemics past and present

Epidemics and the Modern World by Mitchell L. Hammond Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020 $54.95 / 9781487593735 Reviewed by Jody Decker * This textbook by a history professor at the University of Victoria, Mitchell Hammond, focuses on epidemics of infectious diseases which, he argues, have left the greatest impact on the modern world, even…
Read more #819 Pandemics past and present

#810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $14.95 / 9781553805724 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Secrets in The Shadows is the story of two boyhood friends, Michael and Wolfgang (Wolfie), growing up in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But it is also so much more. Author Heige S. Boehm has…
Read more #810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

#807 North Pacific Imperial Gothic

The Birdcages: British Columbia’s First Legislative Buildings, 1859-1957 by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor Victoria: FriesenPress Publishing, 2020 $16.99 / 9781525547041 Reviewed by Martin Segger * This handsome, generously illustrated volume is essentially the biography of a building. Building biographies, multi-disciplinary by nature and ranging across the architectural, social , and cultural historical genres, are all too…
Read more #807 North Pacific Imperial Gothic

#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…
Read more #796 John McLoughlin of Rainy Lake

#788 The year of the bicycle: 1973

MEMOIR: The year of the bicycle, 1973: North American backroads at the end of the Indochina War by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Here, for the vicarious pleasure of the many COVID-19 shut-in readers of The Ormsby Review who are unable to travel, is a memoir of an ambitious bicycle journey taken in 1973 by Howard…
Read more #788 The year of the bicycle: 1973

#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 –…
Read more #771 A tale of rubble and splendour