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Book & Film Reviews

book film review

book film review

An Environmental History of Canada

On the growing list of books on Canadian environmental history, University of Toronto historian Laurel MacDowell’s new textbook An Environmental History of Canada should take a prominent place. The evolution of this field of study...

By Sterling Evans


book film review

Canadians and the Natural Environment to the Twenty-First Century

The field of Canadian environmental history has blossomed over the past two decades. Consequently, instructors of Canadian environmental history courses are becoming increasingly spoiled with good options to choose from for course readers. In all...

By Jonathan Clapperton


book film review

Why Canadian Forestry and Mining Towns are Organized Differently: The Role of Staples in Shaping Community, Class, and Consciousness

Canada’s single industry towns (SITs), especially resource towns, continue to be the focus of considerable academic and policy attention. Canada’s population may be highly urbanized, indeed urbane, with the major metropolitan and even medium-sized urban...

By Roger Hayter


book film review

book film review

Ceramic Makers’ Marks

This slim and well-designed identification guide focuses primarily on nineteenth century American and European manufacturers of ceramics for those working to identify ceramic shards. Despite the back cover’s reference to “North American sites,” it draws...

By Lorne Hammond


book film review

Russian America: An Overseas Colony of a Continental Empire, 1804-1867

In this important book, Ilya Vinkovetsky of Simon Fraser University places the story of Russia’s American experiment fully within the history of colonialism. Russian America was a unique colonial adventure, he argues, in which the...

By Stephen Haycox


book film review

Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific

The history of Canada’s Pacific relations has long been a neglected subject. The general consensus was that Pacific relations were not central to understanding the history of the country and its place in the world....

By Laura Madokoro


book film review

Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific, Pacific Connections: The Making of the US-Canada Borderlands, Chasing the Dragon in Shanghai: Canada’s Early Relations with China, 1858-1952

The history of Canada’s Pacific relations has long been a neglected subject. The general consensus was that Pacific relations were not central to understanding the history of the country and its place in the world....

By Laura Madokoro


book film review

Above Stairs: Social Life in Upper Class Victoria 1843-1918, More English than the English: A Very Social History of Victoria

  In “Tracing the Fortunes of Five Founding Families of Victoria” (BC Studies 115/116 1998/1999), Sylvia Van Kirk revealed the mixed cultural background of some of Victoria’s most important settler families (the Douglases, Tods, Works,...

By Katie Louise McCullough


book film review

The Spencer Mansion: A House, a Home, and an Art Gallery

Robert Ratcliffe Taylor’s The Spencer Mansion, A House, a Home and an Art Gallery is, as the title suggests, really two books. One half considers the “life and times” of the five families who made...

By Maria Tippett


book film review

book film review

The Life and Art of Ina D.D. Uhthoff

Like many female artists of her generation, Ina D.D. Uhtoff, née Campbell, had a difficult time sustaining a career as a professional artist. The daughter of middle-class Scottish parents, she did not lack opportunity. In...

By Maria Tippett


book film review

Wrong Highway: The Misadventures of a Misplaced Society Girl

Wrong Highway is the memoir of Stella Jenkins, a middle-class mother of four from Victoria, who in 1948, recently divorced, formed a relationship with Bob Smith, a trapper and labourer. Stella left Victoria with her...

By Cameron Duder


book film review

Unbuilt Victoria

What if? Ah yes, that perennial question. What would a city look like if the “unbuilt” were actually built? What if a municipality’s proposed plans were followed “to a tee”? Sometimes the rejection of a...

By Larry McCann


book film review

Making Headlines: 100 Years of the Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver Sun turned one hundred in 2012. To mark this event, reporter Shelley Fralic compiled a (roughly) chronological account of goings-on in the city and at the paper itself. It is not so much...

By John Belshaw


book film review

Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism

Architecture has been a key site in the evolution of cultural Modernism; the elevator is often cited as an important early Modernist manifestation, and the idea that function creates its own form is a key...

By Bill Jeffries


book film review

Dalton’s Gold Rush Trail: Exploring the Route of the Klondike Cattle Drives

Although the Chilkoot Trail is the most famous trail to the Klondike, there were a wide variety of other routes that gold seekers used to reach the interior of the Yukon between 1896 and 1900....

By Charlene Porsild


book film review

Tse-loh-ne (The People at the End of the Rocks): Journey Down the Davie Trail

Keith Billington has had a long career as a nurse in British Columbia and the Yukon as well as being Band Manager for the Fort Ware Sekani/Kaska band (later known as Kwadacha Nation). The first part...

By Robin Ridington


book film review

Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

In Hearts and Minds, Dan Azoulay includes part of a 1913 letter from a young woman lamenting her lack of companionship: “although I like Vancouver very much I am not acquainted with many people, and...

By Megan Robertson


book film review

Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921

The Canadian Scottish (Princess Mary’s) regiment recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Popularly known as the Can Scots, it is the only militia unit on Vancouver Island. The regiment had previously been honoured with the freedom...

By Patrick Dunae


book film review

Train Master: The Railway Art of Max Jacquiard

Train Master: The Railway Art of Max Jacquiard, the new book by the noted transportation historian Barry Sanford, looks at British Columbian railways from 1925 to 1955, as depicted in ninety-nine paintings by Jacquiard. The...

By Ian Pooley


book film review

Backspin: 120 Years of Golf in British Columbia

Arv Olson’s second edition of Backspin expands readers’ acquaintance “with accounts of some of the people, places, and events” that shaped the 120 year history of golf in British Columbia (11). A journalist and golf...

By Elizabeth Jewett


book film review

Raising the Workers’ Flag: The Workers’ Unity League in Canada, 1930-1936

The struggle to build trade unions in the extractive and manufacturing industries of Canada — mining, forestry, fishing, clothing, furniture, and others — was meteoric and its demise equally rapid. Raising the Workers’ Flag provides...

By Ron Verzuh


book film review

The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972-1975

This book is splendid work of popular political history, biography, and related media study that co-authors Geoff Meggs (a former communications director to Premier Glen Clark) and Rod Mickleburgh (a veteran of the west coast...

By Allen Seager


book film review

In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing

The twelfth and most recent volume in NeWest Press’s Writer as Critic series, Roy Miki’s In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing, like others in the series, approaches writing as praxical intervention. Beginning with...

By Janey Lew


book film review

People’s Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada

People’s Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada is just that. It uses Discover Canada, the new Canadian Citizenship Guide, as a launch pad for critiquing the current federal government’s ideological leanings, leanings expressed in...

By Elise Chenier


book film review

Ghost Dancing with Colonialism: Decolonization and Indigenous Rights at the Supreme Court of Canada

In this book, Grace Li Xiu Woo, a retired member of the BC Bar, steps away from a standard case law analysis and instead analyzes Supreme Court decisions related to Aboriginal and treaty rights based...

By Hadley Friedland


Contributors

Contributors

Hugh Johnston is a professor emeritus in history at Simon Fraser University and recent author of Jewels of the Qila: The Remarkable Story of an Indo-Canadian Family (2011).

Richard McCandless is a retired senior BC government public servant with an interest in history and public policy. He was the lead government facilitator of the transfer of the driver licensing program to ICBC in the early 1990s. He has a history degree from the University of Victoria and a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s University, and lives in Saanich, BC.

Robert McCandless began his professional career in oil and gas and mining exploration. For several years while living in the Yukon, he was a contract researcher and writer, which led to his publishing Yukon Wildlife: A Social History (University of Alberta Press, 1985). He later worked for Environment Canada mainly on pollution prevention in mining, and also for several years advising on Aboriginal affairs including treaty negotiations.

Isabel Wallace is a doctoral candidate at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on South Asians and public health in BC and the Pacific Coast states in the early twentieth century.

LiLynn Wan is a potter who completed her PhD in history at Dalhousie
University. She has a particular interest in the history of race and First Nations in British Columbia, where she is originally from. She is currently the proprietor of WaterDragon Pottery, which operates out of her studio in Herring Cove, Nova Scotia.