Book Reviews

#60 Fur traders and textual analysis

The Recorded History of the Liard Basin 1790-1910: Where British Columbia joins the Yukon and N.W.T. by Anthony Kenyon Fort Nelson: Fort Nelson News, 2016 $60.00  /  9781771364140 Reviewed by George Szasz First published Dec. 7, 2016 * Anthony Kenyon, born and raised in England, graduated in medicine at Cambridge University (1958 and married in 1959…
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#59 From Civil Gothic to Modern

Thomas Fuller: Architect for a Nation by Dorothy Mindenhall [Victoria:] Lakehill Books, 2015 $45.00 / 9780994809513 * Imagining Uplands: John Olmsted’s Masterpiece of Residential Design by Larry McCann [Victoria:] Brighton Press, 2016 $55.00  / 9780995066304 A joint review by Harold Kalman First published Dec. 6, 2016                  …
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#58 Off the danger scale

The Bold and Cold: A History of 25 Classic Climbs in the Canadian Rockies by Brandon Pullan Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2016 $45.00  /  9781771601153 Reviewed by Rod Szasz First published Dec. 4, 2016 * In The Bold and Cold, Brandon Pullan tells the story of the classic climbs in the Canadian Rockies in the…
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#57 Decoding European rock art

The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols by Genevieve von Petzinger New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016 $36.0 (U.S.)  / 9781476785493 Reviewed by Chris Arnett First published Dec. 2, 2016 * In The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols, Genevieve von Petzinger explores the geometric images found…
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#56 A Quaker in the Spanish Civil War

Live Souls: Citizens and Volunteers of Civil War Spain by Serge Alternês and Alec Wainman Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2015 $24.95  /  9781553804376 Reviewed by Larry Hannant First published Dec. 2, 2016 * Live Souls: Citizens and Volunteers of Civil War Spain contains the stunning documentary record of 1,650 photos taken over three years in Spain…
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#55 Eyewitness to Bill Miner

ESSAY: Eyewitness to Bill Miner:  A lost despatch from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 1904 by Fred Braches First published Dec. 1, 2016 * For British Columbians who know their history, the name Bill Miner evokes memories of a failed train robbery in 1906, a crime generously viewed as a gentleman’s transgression. Fred Braches shares new…
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#54 Breaking the glass ceiling

The Life and Art of Mary Filer by Christina Johnson-Dean, with an introduction by Robert Held Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishers, 2016 $35.95 / 9781896949550 Reviewed by Janet Mary Nicol First published Nov. 30, 2016 * The Life and Art of Mary Filer follows the career of the glass sculptor Mary Filer. Trained as…
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#53 Marina Sonkina’s Russia

ESSAY: Putin’s Potemkin village by Marina Sonkina First published October 27, 2016 * Every two years, Russian-born fiction writer Marina Sonkina of Vancouver takes her SFU and UBC students for a field trip to Russia to enhance their appreciation of the literature, art and cultural history they have been studying — and it keeps getting…
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#52 A fishing journalist looks on

Casting Back: Sixty Years of Fishing and Writing by Peter McMullan Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2016 $25.00  /  9781771601740 Reviewed by Ian J.M. Kennedy First published Nov. 29, 2016 * In Casting Back: Sixty Years of Fishing and Writing, Peter McMullan, the former editor of the Nanaimo Free Press, conveys his passion for fly-fishing in his…
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#51 Cow men, cowboys, vaqueros

Cowboys of the Americas by Luis Fabini (photographs) and Wade Davis (text) Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2016 $50.00  /  9781771641166 Reviewed by Ken Mather First published Nov. 27, 2016 * Cowboys of the Americas dwells on the distant origins – southern Spain and Spanish America – of the vaqueros or cowmen of the grasslands of the…
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#50 Make it up as you go along

None of This Was Planned: The Stories Behind the Stories by Mike McCardell Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $29.95  /  9781550177787 Reviewed by Bill Engleson First published November 27, 2016 * In None of This Was Planned, veteran newspaper and TV reporter Mike McCardell reveals his MO for gathering stories. Reviewer Bill Engleson teases out…
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#49 Talk is cheap, beer is better

Brewing Revolution: Pioneering the Craft Beer Movement by Frank Appleton Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $24.95  /  9781550177824 Reviewed by Joe Wiebe First published No. 28, 2016 * In 1978 the back-to-the-land magazine Harrowsmith published a subversive how-to article, “The Underground Brewmaster.” It was written by Frank Appleton of Edgewood, formerly a supervisor at O’Keefe…
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#48 From Soda Creek to best seller

Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival by Bev Sellars Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2016 $19.95  /  9780889229723 Reviewed by Caroline Woodward First published November  24, 2016 * Editor’s note: as happens occasionally at The Ormsby Review, a happy mixup occurs and we end up with two reviews of the same book. For our second review…
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#47 Ujjal’s odyssey

Journey After Midnight: India, Canada and the Road Beyond by Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2016 $34.95  /   9781927958568 Reviewed by Hugh Johnston First published November 21, 2016 * Journey After Midnight is Ujjal Dosanjh’s memoir of his journey from a village in the Punjab to London in 1964, and to Vancouver in 1968….
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#46 Crafting a lasting reconciliation

In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth & Reconciliation by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail Victoria: Brindle & Glass (TouchWood Editions), 2016 $19.95  /  9781927366448 Reviewed by J.R. (Jim) Miller First published November 19, 2016 * When asked in September 2016 how he thought the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was being received, former…
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#45 The bootlegger and the maid

The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello by Adriana A. Davies Fernie: Oolichan Books, 2016 $19.95 / 9780889823181 Reviewed by Lynne Bowen First published Nov. 16, 2016 * When authorities charged Emilio Picariello and Filumena Lassandro with the murder of Alberta Provincial Police Constable Stephen Lawson on 21 September 1922 in the Crowsnest Pass town…
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#44 Freezing the puck in the corner

The Hockey Scribbler by George Bowering Toronto: ECW Press, 2016 $19.95 / 9781770412897 Reviewed by Bruce McDougall First published November 16, 2016 * If a mere hockey player like Wayne Gretzky were to write a book in which he criticized poets for ripping the feet off their anapests and bludgeoning scansion into a bloody pulp,…
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#43 Defiance, hope, and healing

The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke by Ron Smith Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2016 $22.95  /  9781553804802 Reviewed by Mark Forsythe First published November 15, 2016 * Ron Smith, the founder of Oolichan Books, thinks the word “stroke” is far too light to describe a brain that has been “attacked” or “carpet bombed.” In his…
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#42 Nukwa and the merchant of Yale

Pioneer merchant Louis Oppenheim: not Oppenheimer by Bonnie Ellen Campbell First published Nov. 14, 2016 * Editor’s note: Bonnie Campbell assumed she was English. As a young adult she was surprised to learn that her grandmother was the daughter of a Prussian-Jewish merchant Louis Oppenheim, of Yale, and his wife Nukwa (Hannah) of Spuzzum, daughter…
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