Book Reviews

1965 The shame of 1907

White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver by Henry Tsang Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $32.95  /  9781551529196 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Many British Columbians will have heard of the Vancouver anti-Asian riots of 1907. It was a brutal historic event that revealed deep-seated public prejudices fueled by paranoia about the province being…
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1964 Literary thriller, ‘by all accounts … thrilling’

Uncontrolled Flight by Frances Peck Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2023 $25.95 / 9781774390757 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * Frances Peck has once again written a story that will grip British Columbian’s fears and hearts. Her debut novel, The Broken Places, envisioned fall-out from the big earthquake predicted to hit the Vancouver area. Uncontrolled Flight’s catalyst is…
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1963 A quest for Champions

Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest by Amanda Lewis Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2023 $24.95  /  781771646734 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * As I write from our province’s southern Interior, amidst the worst air quality in the world, I find I must state the obvious. The lessons Amanda Lewis accrues in…
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1961 Illustrating logging camp life

The Rangitangs: Life on the Edge – A Humorous Look at Coastal Loggers Float-camp Life from the 1920s to 1950s by Mike Whalen Self-published by Mike Whalen, 2023 $40.00 (soft cover)  /  978173885723 Reviewed by Matthew Downey * Inspired by the cartoon collection from which it draws its name, The Rangitangs: Life on the Edge is…
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1959 Hidden truth and diversion

Like Every Form of Love: A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime by Padma Viswanathan Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2023 $35  /  9781039006201 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This book is described as A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime. It is also two separate stories within a story while describing many different forms…
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1958 Shades and perplexities of blue

Sapphire and the Hollow Bone by Diana Hayes Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2023 $23.95 / 9781771715192 Reviewed by gillian harding-russell * Meditative and elegiac in its imagery and moods and finding resonances in mythology, Diana Hayes’ Sapphire and the Hollow Bone is imbued with the colour blue. Whether such details as the cherished gift of a “star…
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1957 Hardship and a sense of hope

Away From the Dead by David Bergen Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2023 $24.95 / 9781773103105 Reviewed by Trish Bowering *  “She asked him to read to her. And so he did. And every evening after that, he picked up his book and read… The story was both simple and difficult. She said that normally people…
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1956 The fire dragon

Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2023 $38.00  /  9780735273160 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * John Vaillant opens his book with a quote from the fire chief of Fort McMurray, Alberta: “No one’s ever seen anything like this…this is rewriting the book.” We are soon…
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1954 Survival of the fittest Scots

Unsettled: Lord Selkirk’s Scottish Colonists and the Battle for Canada’s West, 1813-1816 by Robert Lower Toronto: ECW Press, 2023 $29.95 /  9781770417182 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Many of us learned about Lord Selkirk’s Red River Settlement in high school or college, but we’ve never read it so up close and personal as Robert Lower…
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1953 ‘Observations and discoveries’

Four Seasons by the Salish Sea: Discovering the Natural Wonders of Coastal Living by Carolyn Redl, photography by Nancy Randall Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2023 $32.95   /  9781772034479 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Author Carolyn Redl has been fascinated with life along the Salish Sea ever since she moved to Vancouver Island from the prairies…
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1980s East Van nostalgia

East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE by Nick Marino Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023 $21.95 / 9781551529332 (paperback) Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * When I moved to Vancouver in August 1985, Nick Marino, aged 17, was working his last summer at the PNE. To me the PNE (the Pacific National Exhibition) was some distant…
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