Economy & industry

1482 The black cat lives on

For Freedom We Will Fight: The Industrial Workers of the World in British Columbia, 1905-1990 by Larry Gambone Edmonton: Black Cat Press, 2021 $16.00  /   9781926878263 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * B.C.’s Wobblies: A radical union that will not die The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), known everywhere as the Wobblies, were once the…
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1481 Save Swiss Edelweiss Village

ESSAY: Swiss Edelweiss Village: to be or not to be? by Ron Dart * Swiss guides were front and centre in the origins and development of mountaineering and mountain culture in Western Canada. The fact that much of their work was divided between Lake Louise and Rogers Pass meant that Golden, BC, became their place…
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1460 Trainspotting in the Kootenays

When Trains Ruled the Kootenays: A Short History of Railways in Southeastern British Columbia by Terry Gainer Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2022 $25.00  /  9781771604017 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Trainspotting in the Kootenays: Did we miss the train as a better way to travel in the 21st century? When I was a kid growing…
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1434 Kootenay mother lode

Silver Rush: British Columbia’s Silvery Slocan, 1891-1900 by Peter J. Smith Ladysmith: Two Daughters Publications, 2020. Also available at many BC bookstores. $39.95  /  9781999045906 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Kootenay Mother Lode: Mammoth Tome offers Detailed Account of Mining History in BC’s Colourful Slocan District A book the size of the old Eaton’s Catalogue…
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1418 Old time labour history

Smelter Wars: A Rebellious Trade Union Fights for Its Life in Wartime Western Canada by Ron Verzuh Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022 $34.95 / 9781487541125 Reviewed by Bryan D. Palmer * Old Time Labour History; or About Underwear as the Subject of Working-Class Politics Labour history was once all the rage. Less so now….
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1417 Small town transition

Cambium Blue by Maureen Brownlee Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $22.95 / 9781550179309 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * It is 1995, and Beauty Creek is celebrating its 60th year amidst climate change and hydra-headed Neo-liberalism. Like most BC Interior towns, the hamlet (somewhere north of Clearwater and resembling Valemount) is in transition, its defining pillars…
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1414 A seed saver’s companion

Saving Seeds: A Home Gardener’s Guide to Preserving Plant Biodiversity by Dan Jason Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020 $14.95 /  9781550179002 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * This small book packs a lot of punch, much like a seed itself. I am a life long gardener, but, for various reasons, I have never been a seed…
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1405 Colonialism corrective

TELEVISION DOCUSERIES REVIEW: British Columbia: An Untold History by Kevin Eastwood, Writer and Director Burnaby: British Columbia’s Knowledge Network, 2022 Reviewed by Patrick A. Dunae * Knowledge Network, ‘British Columbia’s public educational broadcaster,’ has produced a compelling documentary series entitled British Columbia: An Untold History. The production qualities are superb. Each episode of the four-part…
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1388 Restoration of the commons

Civilizing the State: Reclaiming Politics for the Common Good by John Restakis Gabriola: New Society Publishers, 2021 $19.99 / 9780865719439 Reviewed by Stan Markotich * The world as we know it is changing and we may be unable to return to anything familiar. With his thought-provoking Civilizing the State: Reclaiming Politics for the Common Good,…
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1379 Bill Hong & the Cariboo Mountains

…And So…That’s How it Happened: Recollections of Stanley-Barkerville, 1900-1975 by W.M. (Bill) Hong. Originally edited by J.R.S. Hambly, updated by Gordon Lee, edited by Gary and Eileen Seale Quesnel: Spartan Printing, 1978; fifth Printing January 2018 by Blueline Graphics, Coquitlam [price to follow] / 9780987365004 Available at Frog on the Bog Gifts, Wells, BC Review…
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1376 The new British Columbia Review

The new British Columbia Review by Richard Mackie * As of today, February 10th 2022, The Ormsby Review will be known as The British Columbia Review. This change comes with the strong endorsement of the two Boards that have guided The Ormsby Review through the last several years. Named after Margaret Anchoretta Ormsby (1909-1996), a…
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1370 A game of monopoly

“Opposition on the Coast”: The Hudson’s Bay Company, American Coasters, the Russian-American Company, and Native Traders on the Northwest Coast, 1825-1846 Edited and introduced by James R. Gibson Toronto: The Champlain Society, 2019 $99.00 / 9780772764416 Reviewed by Peter Grant * A game of monopoly: The Bay, of department store fame, was once the terror…
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1369 Home & work on Kootenay Lake

Boswell Beginnings and Beyond by Tom Wishart, Janice Baker, and Lynn Campbell (editors) Boswell: Boswell Historical Society, 2021 (new edition; first published by the Boswell Ladies’ Club, 1986) $35.00 / 9781771369947 Available at local bookstores or from Lynn Campbell: lynncampbell1508@gmail.com Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Surviving the Ravages of Time: A remote BC town dodges…
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1350 Making & taking Strathcona Park

A Journey Back to Nature: A History of Strathcona Provincial Park by Catherine Marie Gilbert Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $26.95  /  9781772033588 Reviewed by Matthew Downey * The past year in British Columbia has seen activism and protests centred on the forest industry and controversies over the logging of old growth rainforest. In such a…
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1341 An unsafe online world

Coding Democracy: How Hackers are Disrupting Power, Surveillance, and Authoritarianism by Maureen Webb, with a foreword by Cory Doctorow Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (The MIT Press), 2021 $23.95  /  9780262542289 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * An Unsafe Online World: What happens if do-evil computer nerds overrun do-good ones in the struggle to save democracy?…
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1326 Witness to Canadian mining

Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala by Catherine Nolin and Grahame Russell (editors) Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 2021 $29.95  /  9781771135627 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Catherine Nolin and Grahame Russell both teach in the Geography Department at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George; she’s department…
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1313 Island spirits and cocktails

Distilleries of Vancouver Island: A Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits by Marianne Scott Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2021 $25.00 / 9781771513326 Reviewed by Joe Wiebe * Published earlier this year, Marianne Scott’s Distilleries of Vancouver Island is essential reading for anyone who might enjoy a wee dram of Island whiskey, a sip…
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1310 Eking a living on Saturna

Making a Living on Saturna: Jon and Priscilla, an oral history by Bill Schermbrucker Saturna Island: Cliffside Publishing, 2021 $17.00 /  9781777544201 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * “How does one make a living on a beautiful, isolated island which consists mainly of rock and gravel?” This is the driving question behind author Bill Schermbrucker’s book…
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