History (B.C.)

#186 Northern industrial follies

Unbuilt Environments: Tracing Postwar Development in Northwest British Columbia by Jonathan Peyton Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $32.95  /  9780774833059 Reviewed by Wade Davis First published October 23, 2017 * My father came of age in the 1930s, son of a doctor in the lead zinc mining town of Kimberly in the East Kootenays. To reach…
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#184 Margaret Ormsby remembered

First published October 18, 2017 Just over a year ago, in “Welcome to the Ormsby Review” (September 16, 2016), Richard Mackie provided his memories of Margaret Ormsby, the B.C. historian after whom The Ormsby Review is named. Mostly these referenced his conversations in two fine, old living rooms in the Coldstream Valley, near Vernon, where…
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#182 Reckoning the beckoned

First published October 16, 2017 REVIEW: Beckoned by the Sea: Women at Work on the Cascadian Coast by Sylvia Taylor Victoria: Heritage House, 2017. $19.95  /  9781772031799 Reviewed by Molly Clarkson   * Sylvia Taylor’s Beckoned by the Sea: Women at Work on the Cascadian Coast brings together the stories of twenty-four women whose career…
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#181 Mousewoman meets Spandex

The Seriousness Of Play: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas by Nicola Levell London: Black Dog Publishing, 2016 £19.95 (U.K.)  /  9781910433119 Reviewed by Eldon Yellowhorn First published October 14, 2017 * Play, playful, and playfulness best describe the visual jazz that Nicola Levell presents in her portrait of Michael Nicoll and the Yahgulanaas experience. After a short preface…
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#180 The first major B.C. internments

Essay: Refuge of a Scoundrel: Patriotism and William Bowser by Wayne Norton First published Oct. 13, 2017 * In this Ormsby Review exclusive, Wayne Norton reveals that in his brief term in office (1915-16), the Conservative Premier William Bowser fanned the flames of patriotism stoked by mounting Canadian war casualties and the German sinking of…
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#179 Nanaimo & Johnny Cash

First published October 12,2017 Nanaimo journalist Julie Chadwick has helped The Man In Black’s manager in the 1960s and ‘70s, Saul Holiff, to posthumously present his recollections for The Man Who Carried Cash (Dundurn $19.95). The long-winded subtitle for this tale of a tempestuous but affectionate relationship is ‘Saul Holiff, Johnny Cash, and the Making…
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#178 Kipling on Vancouver Island

ESSAY: Kipling on Vancouver Island by John F. Bosher First published October 11, 2017 * Rudyard Kipling’s first visit to the Pacific coast of British Columbia was in 1889 in the course of his journey from India via Japan and the U.S.A. to London with every intention of making a literary name for himself. He…
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#177 Monumental tasks

Commemorating Canada: History, Heritage, and Memory, 1850s-1990s by Cecilia Morgan Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016 $26.95  /  9781442610613 Reviewed by Mike Starr First published October 4, 2017 * Cecilia Morgan’s Commemorating Canada is a good place to start when examining the role of historical commemoration in Canada. The book is part of the Themes in…
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#175 Artist among the Songhees

Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America by Paul Kane, edited and with an introduction by Kenneth Lister Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2016 $39.99  /  9780888545077 Reviewed by Grant Keddie First published October 3, 2017 * Between November 1846 and November 1847, the Irish-Canadian artist Paul Kane (1810-1871) visited the Columbia…
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#174 Lights, camera, action, debate

Tar Wars: Oil, Environment and Alberta’s Image by Geo Takach Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 2017 $34.95  /  9781772121407 Reviewed by Nichole Dusyk First published Sept. 29, 2017 * In the first pages of Tar Wars, Geo Takach of Royal Roads University repudiates his own title and coins the term “bit-sands” to refer to the…
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#172 Highland Clearances to BC

First published September 18, 2017 REVIEW: The Nor’ Wester by David Starr Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2017. $11.95 978-1-55380-493-2 Reviewed by Steve Pocock David Starr’s The Nor’Wester, for young readers, introduces us to fifteen-year-old Duncan Scott, a young highlander evicted with his sister and parents from their rural cottage during the Highland Clearances in the early nineteenth…
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#171 Florence, Dante and Me

REVIEW: Florence, Dante and Me by Robert Stuart Thomson Godwin Books 2017 9780995876002 Reviewed by Beverly Cramp First published September 18, 2017 * It’s the summer of 1960 and a young UBC student is about to leave Vancouver, then still very much a White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant city. Twenty-year old Robert Thomson had won a scholarship to spend…
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#170 Midwifery, bongos & blue boxes

Canadian Countercultures and the Environment Colin M. Coates (editor) Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2016 $34.95  /  9781552388143 Reviewed by Lauren Harding First published September 17, 2017 * I read the last pages of Colin Coates’s edited collection while lying on Vancouver’s infamous Wreck Beach. Around me fresh University of British Columbia undergraduates gawked at…
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#167 Janet Smith & Wong Foon Sing

The White Angel by John MacLachlan Gray Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $29.95 / 9781771621465 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published Sept. 8, 2017 * The challenges of writing historical fiction are manifold. Writers must capture both the exterior (surface and sociological details of a time they know only through research) and the interior…
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#166 Three platters of Charles Edenshaw

Entering Time: The Fungus Man Platters of Charles Edenshaw by Colin Browne Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2016 $19.95 / 9781772010398 Reviewed by Alan L. Hoover First published September 8, 2017 * Charles Edenshaw (c. 1867-1920) is perhaps the most recognized and acclaimed Northwest Coast Indigenous artist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An outstanding feature…
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#165 Alaska Highway before GPS

Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community by Lily Gontard (text) and Mark Kelly (photographs) Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2017 $24.95  /  9781550177978 Reviewed by Heather Longworth Sjoblom First published September 6, 2017 * 2017 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the construction of the Alaska Highway through British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska. Throughout…
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#163 When the rubber hit the road

British Columbia by the Road: Car Culture and the Making of a Modern Landscape by Ben Bradley Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $34.95  /  9780774834193 Reviewed by Daniel Francis * In 2013 a septet of Canadian historians calling themselves The Past Collective published a study which contradicted the hoary old cliche that Canadians do not know…
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#162 The sisters of war

First published August 30, 2017 REVIEW: War Torn Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes by Andrea McKenzie (editor). Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016. $32.95  /  9780774832540 * REVIEW: Sister Soldiers of the Great War: The Nurses of the Canadian Army Medical Corps by Cynthia Toman Vancouver: UBC Press 2016. $34.95  / …
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#158 A province of non-believers

First Published August 19, 2017 REVIEW: Infidels and the Damn Churches: Irreligion and Religion in Settler British Columbia by Lynne Marks Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017.  $34.95  /  9780774833462 Reviewed by Chelsea Horton *   More British Columbians self-identify as secular than do the populations of any other province in Canada today. And, historian Lynne Marks illustrates…
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#152 Getting spidey in Victoria

Victoria’s Most Haunted: Ghost Stories from BC’s Historic Capital City by Ian Gibbs Victoria: Touchwood Editions, 2017 $19.95  /  9781771512138 Reviewed by Peter Grant First published August 13, 2017 * The standard general histories of the Victoria, most of them by popular (non-academic) historians, are now almost half a century old. These are: Derek Pethick’s…
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