Biography

1429 A fine Edwardian melodrama

Hampton Court: A History by Allen Specht Victoria: Privately Published, 2021 $15.00  /  9781778350450 Available at Books & Shenanigans (347 Cook Street) and Ivy’s Bookshop on Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, or by contacting the author at <awspecht2@gmail.com> Reviewed by Martin Segger * The domestic arrangements that distinguish a ménage à trois from a ménage à deux…
Read more 1429 A fine Edwardian melodrama

1425 Greta, Cassandra, Athena

ESSAY: Greta, Cassandra, Athena: Visions of Justice by Jennifer Moss * Davos, Switzerland. January 25th, 2019: A small, serious, 16-year-old girl in bright purple pants perches on the edge of her chair at the widely televised World Economic Forum. She shuffles her papers for a moment, looks briefly at the camera, and begins with the…
Read more 1425 Greta, Cassandra, Athena

1421 A border outrage, 1884

Deadly Neighbours: Colonialism, Cattle Feuds, Murder and Vigilantes in a Far West Valley by Chad Reimer Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2022 $26.00 / 9781773860732 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * White settler injustice: racial tensions fuelled by two sets of laws, one white and the other First Nations  I’m a sucker for old dusters. The westerns…
Read more 1421 A border outrage, 1884

1411 A constabulary for women

Vancouver’s Women in Blue: Trailblazers of the Vancouver Police Department, 1904-1975 by Carolyn J. Daley, with a foreword by Bev Busson Maple Bay: Ruddy Duck Press, 2020 $49.95 / 9781999279202 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * “I don’t remember the first time I drew my gun.” That’s one way to grab the reader’s attention. It’s the…
Read more 1411 A constabulary for women

1362 Seamstress to cabinet minister

A Liberal-Labour Lady: The Times and Life of Mary Ellen Spear Smith by Veronica Strong-Boag Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021 $89.95 / 9780774867245 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Who? Mary Ellen Spear Smith (1863-1933) was British Columbia’s first female Member of the Legislative Assembly. She was also the first female cabinet minister and the first female…
Read more 1362 Seamstress to cabinet minister

1352 I walk, therefore I am

Philosophers’ Walks by Bruce Baugh London and New York: Routledge, 2021 $35.96 (U.S.) / 9780367333133 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Growing up in North Vancouver, Bruce Baugh found himself drawn to taking “long, solitary walks” amongst its “ravines and forests.” During his later extensive studies, he was fascinated to discover that some of the philosophical…
Read more 1352 I walk, therefore I am

1340 Canada and Vietnam revisited

The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War by John Boyko Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Knopf Canada), 2021 $32.00 / 9780735278004 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart  * Six Easy Pieces. John Boyko has written a compelling, largely anecdotal history of Canada’s involvement in the Americans’ long years of war in Indochina. It consists…
Read more 1340 Canada and Vietnam revisited

1327 Who was Benjamin Lay?

Prophet Against Slavery. Benjamin Lay: A Graphic Novel by David Lester, with Marcus Rediker and Paul Buhle (editors) Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Beacon Press), 2021 $20.00 / 9780807081792 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * Who was Benjamin Lay? A radical 18th-century Quaker challenges slavery It is fair to ask who the central figure is in…
Read more 1327 Who was Benjamin Lay?

1318 A spectrum of Island women

Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trail-blazing Women of Vancouver Island by Haley Healey Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $9.95 / 9781772033533 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Flourishing and Free is a sequel to author Haley Healey’s best-selling book On Their Own Terms: True Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island. In her new book she…
Read more 1318 A spectrum of Island women

1308 The late life of Muggins

Muggins: The Life and Afterlife of a Canadian Canine War Hero by Grant Hayter-Menzies, with a foreword by Mark Zuehlke Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $22.95 / 9781772033717 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Writing a book totally devoted to a dog is a difficult task but Grant Hayter-Menzies has it down to a fine art. In Muggins:…
Read more 1308 The late life of Muggins

1285 From anonymity to spotlight

Pandemic Spotlight: Canadian Doctors at the Front of the Covid-19 Fight by Ian Hanomansing Madeira Park: Douglas and McIntyre, 2021 $22.95 / 9781771622929 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * For nearly two years we have existed in a time warp. When I see a reference to something which happened in April, and now it is October,…
Read more 1285 From anonymity to spotlight

1267 Footman at Government House

ESSAY: An “Odd-Man” at Government House, Victoria by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor * For most people, reading another person’s diary is a furtive and shameful act. For historians, however, studying the private journal of a long-dead person can be a valuable and exciting, if occasionally puzzling, endeavour. In 1870, Robert Colston was both the official government…
Read more 1267 Footman at Government House

1255 Victoria’s religion of the heart

Queen Victoria: This Thorny Crown by Michael Ledger-Lomas Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. (Spiritual Lives Series). $40.00 (U.S.) / 9780198753551 Reviewed by Simon Devereaux * This compact, densely written volume fills a surprisingly large gap in the vast biographical literature on Queen Victoria. The Victorian age is well-known for its public religiosity. It was manifest…
Read more 1255 Victoria’s religion of the heart

1253 Running away in old age

Shadow Life by Hiromi Goto, illustrated by Ann Xu New York: First Second Books (Macmillan), 2021. Distributed by Raincoast Books. Please order from your local independent bookstore $24.99 (U.S.) / 9781626723566 Reviewed by Carol Matthews * Vancouver poet and novelist Hiromi-Goto’s graphic novel Shadow Life, brilliantly illustrated by Ann Xu, is a vollendungsroman, a story…
Read more 1253 Running away in old age

1252 J.W. McKay & the Métis mystery

Joseph William McKay: A Métis Business Leader in Colonial British Columbia by Greg N. Fraser Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $22.95 / 9781772033403 Reviewed by John R. Hinde * By coincidence, Greg N. Fraser’s biography, Joseph William McKay: A Métis Business Leader in Colonial British Columbia, arrived on my desk the same day that the Tk’emlups…
Read more 1252 J.W. McKay & the Métis mystery

1244 Golden City to Tobacco Plains

ORMSBY REVIEW PRESS: Frederick Paget Norbury, Chapter Three: Letters, 1887 by Brenda Callaghan  * Editor’s note: we are pleased to present Chapter 3 of Brenda Callaghan’s hitherto unpublished biography, Frederick Paget Norbury, Remittance Man or Gentleman Immigrant? The Story of an Englishman in Canada. Earlier in 2021 we published  the Introduction,  Chapter 1, and Chapter 2….
Read more 1244 Golden City to Tobacco Plains

1232 Unwelcome in the academy

Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment by Sarah Milroy (editor) Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2021, in collaboration with The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario $60.00 / 9781773271194 Reviewed by Maria Tippett * Today, we all accept that historically Canadian female artists were excluded from major exhibitions and art societies, given little financial support…
Read more 1232 Unwelcome in the academy

1227 John Jensen, northern socialist

No Compromise: A Memoir by John Jensen, edited by Rod Link, foreword by George Heyman Vancouver: Walhachin Press, 2021. This book is for sale at Munro’s Books (Victoria), People’s Co-op Bookstore (Vancouver), and Misty River Books (Terrace) — Ed. $20.00  /  9781777582302 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Northern Socialist. Tracing the life of a B.C….
Read more 1227 John Jensen, northern socialist