History (B.C.)

1912 Fire, ash, and regrowth

Before Combustion By Nicholas Bradley Kentville: Gaspereau Press, 2023 $23.95 / 9871554472543 Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon * The title of Nicholas Bradley’s new book, Before Combustion, is drawn from a line in his poem, “Self-portrait in Lycra Skinsuit,” where the poet considers a schism in his cyclist persona. There’s the familiar self who, enveloped in…
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1910 What’s in a name?

Canada’s Place Names & How to Change Them by Lauren Beck Montreal: Concordia University Press, 2022 $34.95  /  9781988111391 Reviewed by Jeff Oliver * Is it possible to read a nation’s history through its place names? Lauren Beck’s new book Canada’s Place Names & How to Change Them makes a compelling case for it. This…
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1907 The legacy of a shipwright

Called by the North: Extraordinary Adventures of the Fur Trade, Shipbuilders, Navigators and Traders in Northwestern Canada and Alaska by George H.S. Duddy Maryland: Heritage Books, 2022 $44.95  /  97807884240097 Reviewed by Ken Favrholdt * This book is an extraordinary feat of research and writing. It is especially significant as the Arctic has become the…
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1903 Corporate media bad guys

The Postmedia Effect: How Vulture Capitalism is Wrecking Our News by Marc Edge Vancouver: New Star Books, 2023 $25.00  /  9781554201976 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Notice how your local newspaper isn’t quite what it used to be? Maybe there are fewer local news stories reported. Maybe it’s no longer serving as a watchdog at…
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1902 Knowing the forest

Strong Winds and Widow Makers: Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country by Steven C. Beda Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2023 $24.95 (USD)  /  ISBN 9780252086823 Reviewed by Gordon Hak * The book title might suggest that there is little of interest here for British Columbia readers, who often do not…
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1891 ‘Standing in the river’

Instructions for a Flood: Reflections on Story, Geography and Connection by Adrienne Fitzpatrick Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2023 $24.00  /  9781773861128 Reviewed by Catherine Owen * Gentle memories. That’s the descriptor that first flowed over me at the close of reading this short, pared set of reflections on land, water, Indigeneity, history, time, people and…
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1880 Small place, big story

Sheltering in the Backrush: A History of Twin Islands by Jeanette Taylor Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2023 $24.95  /  9781990776113 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Jeanette Taylor begins her book with the words: “Twin Islands, a private retreat just off the entrance to Desolation Sound Marine Park, is a small place with a big…
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1875 A ‘twisty turn-y story’

The Almost Widow By Gail Anderson-Dargatz Toronto: HarperAvenue, 2023 $25.99 / 9781443464482 Reviewed by Steven Brown * There may be trouble ahead. Piper’s conservation officer husband Ben was supposed to be home four hours ago. He took his boat across the wintry lake to investigate tree poaching in a proposed park area and hasn’t returned….
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1874 Bridge River Gold

Voices from Bridge River: The Bridge River Hydroelectric Projects, the People Who Built Them, and the Lives They Touched by BC Hydro Power Pioneers with Kerry Gold Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022 $29.95  /  9781773271071 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * With her caustic wit and outspoken opinions, local newspaper publisher Ma [Margaret] Murray put BC’s…
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1870 Mack Laing in Alaska

Capturing the Summit: Hamilton Mack Laing and the Mount Logan Expedition of 1925 by Trevor Marc Hughes Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2023 $24.95  /  9781553806806 Reviewed by Sage Birchwater * When naturalist/cinematographer Hamilton Mack Laing was commissioned by the National Museum of Canada to accompany the expedition making the first ascent of Mount Logan in 1925,…
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1861 ‘Only connect’

The Broken Heart of Winter By Judy LeBlanc Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2023 $24.95 / 9781773861050 Reviewed by Carole Gerson * E.M. Forster’s well-known phrase, “Only connect  … Live in fragments no longer,” could well serve as the epigraph to The Broken Heart of Winter, Judy LeBlanc’s novel about the need to connect with family…
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1858 ‘Obscure as much as to reveal’

Exploring Vancouver: Ten tours of the City and its Buildings (Fifth Edition) by Harold Kalman and Robin Ward Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2023 $29.95  /  9781990776274 Reviewed by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe * Exploring Vancouver has evolved alongside the city.  Once a series of First Nations settlements amidst a stupendous maritime setting, it became a lumber…
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