History (B.C.)

#88 The ’54 Games began modern B.C.

The Miracle Mile: Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games by Jason Beck Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016 $29.95  /  9781987915006 Reviewed by Roger Robinson First published Feb. 15, 2017 * In The Miracle Mile, Jason Beck explores the planning, hitches, and setbacks involved in Vancouver’s hosting of the 1954 British Empire and…
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#86 Capturing Hill 70, reconsidered

Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War by Douglas E. Delaney and Serge Marc Durflinger, editors Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016 $34.95 / 9780774833592 Reviewed by Chris Arnett First published Feb. 12, 2017 * In Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War, military historians Doug Delaney and Serge Durflinger…
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#85 Flooding a Garden of Eden

The Peace in Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam by Christopher Pollon (text) and Ben Nelms (photos) Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $24.95  /  9781550177800 Reviewed by John Gellard First published Feb. 11, 2017 * The 100 kilometres of the Peace River Valley between Hudson’s Hope and Fort St John has rich alluvial…
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#84 The coast was not clear

The Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain’s Story by Colin Henthorne Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $24.95 / 9781550177619 Reviewed by Jan Drent First published Feb. 8, 2017 * Ten years after the sinking of the Queen of the North in 2006, the vessel’s captain, Colin Henthorne, provides a first-hand account of why the…
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#83 Vancouver and his mapmaker

The Hidden Journals: Captain Vancouver and his Mapmaker by Mary Tasi and Wade Baker Vancouver: Sky Spirit, 2015 $20  /  9780993843815 Reviewed by Mike Starr First published Feb. 8, 2017 * This book is not a scholarly study, but Wade Baker and Mary Tasi have accomplished something that many scholars would trade their tenure to…
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#82 Jane’s ruling aphorisms

A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bebout by Marilyn R. Schuster (editor) Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $50  /  9780774835435 Reviewed by Alan Twigg First published Feb. 7, 2017 * “I hope I’m remembered for being lusty, feisty and full of life.” — Jane Rule People who knew Jane Rule are…
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#81 Portraits of Fenwick Lansdowne

J. Fenwick Lansdowne by Tristram Lansdowne (editor) Portland, OR: Pomegranate Communications, 2014 US $65.00 / 9780764966705 Reviewed by Briony Penn First published Feb. 7, 2017 * A fixture of Victoria’s artistic, cultural, and natural communities for five decades, James Fenwick Lansdowne (1937-2008) is now the subject of a book edited by his son Tristram, featuring…
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#79 Emptying the grasslands

Crossing Home Ground: A Grassland Odyssey through Southern Interior British Columbia by David Pitt-Brooke Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $32.95  /  9781550177749 Reviewed by Harold Rhenisch First published Jan. 25, 2017 * David Pitt-Brooke — naturalist, veterinarian, and writer — walked a thousand kilometres through the grasslands of the southern interior of British Columbia, from…
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#78 Godiva, Zulu, and Nanaimo bars

Hard Knox: Musings from the Edge of Canada by Jack Knox, foreword by Ian Ferguson Victoria: Heritage House, 2016 $19.95  /  9781772031508 Reviewed by Bill Engleson First published Jan. 25th, 2017 * I cracked open Jack Knox’s Hard Knox: Musings from the Edge of Canada on the coldest day of 2016 on Denman Island, alarmed…
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#77 Rubber chicken & pot shops

Surviving City Hall by Donna Macdonald Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2016 $22.95  /  9780889713208 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published in Jan. 22, 2017 * In 2010, the small city of Nelson, B.C., attracted the attention of The Guardian for weathering the most recent economic downturn — a feat the esteemed newspaper attributed partly to dollars…
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#75 Nechako before the flood

Ootsa Lake Odyssey: George and Else Seel — A Pioneer Life on the Headwaters of the Nechako Watershed by Jay Sherwood Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016 $24.95 /  9781987915211 Reviewed by Sage Birchwater First published Jan. 18, 2017 * Ootsa Lake Odyssey follows the lives of George and Else Seel, who worked in the Nechako…
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#74 Street views before Google

Glorious Victorian Homes: 150 Years of Architectural History in British Columbia’s Capital by Nick Russell Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2016 $29.95 /  9781771511865 Reviewed by Larry McCann First published Jan. 16, 2017 * Glorious Victorian Homes is vintage Nick Russell, written with verve, wit, and deep insights about Victoria’s architectural heritage. Well-known and highly regarded for…
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#73 North West Company on the Pacific

The Fur Trade Gamble: North West Company on the Pacific Slope, 1800-1820 by Lloyd Keith and John C. Jackson Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2016 US $27.95 / 9780874223408 Reviewed by Jamie Morton First published Jan. 15, 2017 * Although often addressed over the last two centuries, the story of the early expansion of…
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#72 Squamish matriarch and firebrand

The Amazing Mazie Baker: the Squamish Nation’s Warrior Elder by Kay Johnston Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016 $24.95 / 9781987915068 Reviewed by Dorothy Kennedy First published Jan. 14, 2017 * In The Amazing Mazie Baker, Kay Johnston exposes the life and work of Mazie Baker (born 1931), the Squamish gadfly and firebrand who exposed irregularities…
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#70 Getting tipsy in Victoria

Aqua Vitae: A History of the Saloons and Hotel Bars of Victoria, 1851-1917 Glen A. Mofford Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2016 $19.95  /  9781771511896 Reviewed by Martin Segger First published Jan. 10, 2017 * For a community that has been known to present its history as a Edenesque garden-city on the fringes of the British Empire,…
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#69 BC forestry politics and policy

The Sustainability Dilemma: Essays on British Columbia Forest and Environmental History by Robert Griffin and Richard A. Rajala Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum Press, 2016 $34.95  /  9780772669742 Reviewed by Graeme Wynn First published Dec. 28, 2016 * In The Sustainability Dilemma, Robert Griffin and Richard Rajala explore contested issues, policies, and campaigns concerning the…
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#68 Won Alexander Cumyow

ESSAY: Canadian First:  The Life of Won Alexander Cumyow (1861-1955) by Janet Mary Nicol First published Dec. 28, 2016 * Canada’s west coast accommodated “two solitudes”—people of the dominant English-speaking community and those of Asian heritage.  One man who tried to bridge these separate, often hostile worlds was Vancouver pioneer, Won Alexander Cumyow.  He was…
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#66 No country for old media

No News is Bad News: Canada’s Media Collapse — and What Comes Next by Ian Gill, foreword by Margo Goodhand Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2016 $18.95 / 9781771642682 Reviewed by David N. Wright First published Dec. 21, 2016 * Ian Gill’s No News is Bad News. Canada’s Media Collapse — And What Comes Next is a…
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#65 The Christy Clark Liberal era

Christy Clark: Behind the Smile by Judi Tyabji Victoria: Heritage House, 2016 $32.95  /  9781772031065 Reviewed by John Douglas Belshaw First published Dec. 17, 2016 * This book is neither fish nor fowl. Judi Tyabji, a former MLA who broke with the Liberal Party in an acrimonious split, states at the outset that this is…
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#64 From Jalna to timber baron

ESSAY: From Jalna to timber baron: reflections  on the life of H.R. MacMillan by Ron Dart First published Dec. 16, 2016 * For good or ill, Harvey Reginald (H.R.) MacMillan (1885-1976) is a name synonymous with the forestry business in British Columbia. Those with a flagging or limited memory will have some minimal sense of…
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