Book Reviews

#100 The hermit of Chemainus

The Ghosts We Know by Sean Karemaker Wolfville, NS: Conundrum Press, 2016 $20.00  /  9781772620030 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner First published March 7, 2017 * In his first book, The Ghosts We Know, Sean Karemaker presents an artist’s recent journey through life on coastal B.C. from the quiet corners of rural Vancouver Island to the…
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#99 Opening the Oscar envelope

First Published March 6, 2017 REVIEW: Oscar of Between: A Memory of Identity and Ideas by Betsy Warland Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016. $21.95  /  978-1-987915-16-7 Reviewed by Catriona Sandilands * In 2007, Betsy Warland took a birthday trip to London for a range of plays and events, including an exhibition on military camouflage at…
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#98 Early Island attachments

A Perfect Eden: Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island by Michael Layland Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2016 $39.95  /  9781771511773 Reviewed by Robin Fisher First published Mar. 3, 2017 * When I returned to the coast after a decade living on the prairies I settled initially on Vancouver Island. Speaking to a friend who had…
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#97 Getting away with murder

Hell’s History: The United Steelworkers’ Fight to Prevent Workplace Deaths and Injuries from the 1992 Westray Mine Disaster through 2016 by Tom Sandborn Vancouver: United Steelworkers, 2016 9780995843707 Out of print in hard copy but free digital copy available here. Reviewed by Ron Verzuh First published Mar. 1, 2017 * Tom Sandborn’s Hell’s History opens…
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#96 Métis longing and belonging

Belonging Métis by Catherine Richardson (Kinewesquao) Vernon: J. Charlton Publishing, 2016 $30.00  /  9781926476070 Reviewed by Émilie Pigeon First published Feb. 28, 2017 *   Despite being recognized as one of the three Aboriginal peoples of Canada in the Constitution Act of 1982, the Métis remain hard to define. From Vancouver Island to Labrador their…
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#95 Wolfgang meets Emily

I Had an Interesting French Artist to See Me This Summer: Emily Carr and Wolfgang Paalen in British Columbia by Colin Browne Vancouver: Figure 1, in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2016 $24.95  /  9781927958780. Reviewed by Elisabeth Otto First published Feb. 27, 2017 * Writer, documentary filmmaker, and cultural historian Colin Browne has…
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#94 Empire of the Cariboo Chilcotin

British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast: A Photographer’s Journey by Chris Harris 108 Mile Ranch: Chris Harris and Country Light Publishing, 2016 $39.95  / 9780986581847 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes First published Feb. 24, 2017 * First photographer Ian McAllister helped identify and preserve The Great Bear Rainforest. Now photographer Chris Harris sees the Chilcotin Ark…
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#93 BC’s naval heritage

Britannia’s Navy on the West Coast of North America, 1812-1914 by Barry Gough Victoria: Heritage House, 2016 $29.99 / 9781772031102 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart First published Feb. 23, 2017 * Readers will know that Barry Gough, British Columbia’s premier naval historian, is equally seadog and landlubber. His torrid pace in retirement has included major…
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#92 Of salmon, herring and abalone

People of the Saltwater: An Ethnography of Git lax m’oon by Charles R. Menzies Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2016 $45.00 (U.S.) / 9780803288089 Reviewed by Robert Muckle First published Feb. 22, 2017 * A pinch of sea salt goes with the territory… In People of the Saltwater, UBC anthropologist Charles Menzies provides an…
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#91 Nurturing postwar feminism

From Left to Right: Maternalism and Women’s Political Activism in Postwar Canada by Brian Thorn Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016 $32.95 /  9780774832090 Reviewed by Lisa Pasolli First published Feb. 19, 2017 * Canadian women, far from being trapped in suburban homes and domesticity in the late 1940s and 1950s, were active across the political spectrum…
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#90 Yellowcake & mass destruction

Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines — A Canadian Story by Patricia Sandberg Surrey: Crackingstone Press, 2016 $24.99 / 9780995202306 Reviewed by Ormsby Review staff First published Feb. 18, 2017 * Sun Dogs and Yellowcake chronicles the short existence of Gunnar Mines, Saskatchewan, between 1952 and the closing of the mine in 1963. Patricia Sandberg…
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#89 Rebels with legal causes

Lawyers’ Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950 by W. Wesley Pue Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016 $75 / 9780774833097 Reviewed by John McLaren First published Feb. 17, 2017 * In Lawyers’ Empire (UBC Press), legal historian Wesley Pue of the UBC law school traces the lives and struggles of the leaders and rebels of the…
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#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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#87 Peruvian sojourn

Inge Bolin Thirst in the Andes: Climate Change and Solutions for Survival First published Feb. 14, 2017 * Inge Bolin’s first novel, When Condors Call (Nanaimo: Chaska Publications, 2010) follows a young physician from the Peruvian Andes in search of a cure for Leishmaniasis, a disfiguring disease. Her 2016 stay in Peru enabled her to…
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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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