Book Reviews

#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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#71 Around the world with Jon Turk

Crocodiles and Ice by Jon Turk Fernie: Oolichan Books, 2016 $23.95  / 9780889823235 Reviewed by Jeremy Twigg First published Jan. 12, 2017 * If you’ve ever wondered how to survive a crocodile attack, Jon Turk’s Crocodiles and Ice (Oolichan $23.95) is for you. As described in the recounting of his solo kayak trip in the Solomon…
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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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#67 Denman Island porch song

ESSAY: A Denman Island Porch Song by Bill Engleson First published Dec. 27, 2016 * Once a week, every Wednesday from 1-4 in the afternoon, I volunteer in the Dora Drinkwater Library on Denman Island. Such a reputedly literate island spawns more sluggish times than one might hanker for. If the season is clement and…
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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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#63 An Imperial crackpot in BC

Guilty But Insane. J.C. Bowen-Colthurst: Villain or Victim? by James W. Taylor Cork, Ireland: Mercier Press, 2016 €14.99 / 9781781174210 Reviewed by Joe Simpson First published Dec. 14, 2016 * In Guilty But Insane, James W. Taylor traces the life of British Army officer Captain John Bowen-Colthurst of the Royal Irish Rifles. A veteran of campaigns in India, Tibet,…
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#62 Coming out as Métis

I Am a Métis: The Story of Gerry St. Germain by Peter O’Neil Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016 $32.95  /  9781550177848 First published Dec. 10, 2016 * Jean Barman reviews Peter O’Neil’s I Am a Métis: The Story of Gerry St. Germain, a noteworthy account of Senator Gerry St. Germain’s journey from Grantown, Manitoba, to…
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#61 Street fighting men

The Last Gang in Town: The Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park Gang by Aaron Chapman Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016 $24.95 / 9781551526713 Reviewed by Lanni Russwurm First published Dec. 8, 2016 * In The Last Gang in Town, Aaron Chapman tells the story of the Clark Park Gang, named…
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#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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