History (world)

1218 Chennai, a place in between

MEMOIR: Chennai, a place in between by Jane Frankish * It was the last week of October 2002 and we were homeless, jobless, and rootless. This is just the way it was when we entered Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. Our home for the previous eight years had been Kuching, the…
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1202 Hothouse Earth: The future is now

Graeme Wynn reviews four books: The Imperilled Ocean: Human Stories From a Changing Sea by Laura Trethewey Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2020 $22.95 / 9781773101156 * Passion and Persistence: Fifty Years of the Sierra Club in British Columbia by Diane Pinch Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $12.99 / 9781550178814 * Hope Matters: Why Changing the…
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1194 Return of The Fire-Dwellers

The Fire-Dwellers by Margaret Laurence Toronto: Penguin Random House (Penguin Modern Classics, Emblem Editions), 2017 $19.95 / 9780735252837 First published by McClelland & Stewart, 1969 Reviewed by Harper Campbell * To read Margaret Laurence’s The Fire-Dwellers (1969) is to see a very different Vancouver from the one that exists today. Well, “see” isn’t really the right…
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1193 From Scapa Flow to Lord Byng

In Action with Destroyers 1939-1945: the Wartime Memoirs of Commander J.A.J. Dennis, DSC, RN by J.A.J. Dennis (author) and Anthony Cumming (editor) Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen and Sword Maritime, 2017 £19.99 (U.K.) / 9781526718495 Reviewed by Michael L. Hadley * BC books and authors offer a rich palette of local and international perspectives. They…
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1174 Truth, memoir, & beautiful lies

Lands of Lost Content: A Memoir by John Wilson Lantzville: John Wilson, 2020 $12.95  / 9780987706539 (eBook version available for $6.50) Reviewed by Julian Wake * John Wilson would enjoy a story of the couple that had been married for sixty years. “I have news,” the old man said at breakfast. “Oh, what’s that, dear?”…
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1153 Home on leave from Penang

Then Now by Daphne Marlatt Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2021 $16.95 / 9781772012873 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * The generation of Marlatt’s parents, and of my own, took the British Empire for granted. Government agencies were as feckless then as now (note the book’s title), but one got on with one’s job in business or the civil service…
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1148 Morality, poison & infanticide

The Trial of Jeanne Catherine: Infanticide in Early Modern Geneva by Sara Beam Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021 $24.95 / 9781487587673 Reviewed by John Lepage * Historians are usually careful to establish the relevance of their publications. It is part of the ongoing program of history’s defence of itself as a field of study…
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1125 Greek myths for the age of anime

Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook, From Aphrodite to Zeus, a Profile of Who’s Who in Greek Mythology by Liv Albert, illustrated by Sara Richard Toronto: Simon & Schuster (Adams Media), 2021 $22.99 / 9781507215494 Reviewed Linda Rogers * “He said, she said.” Oral storytelling is like court evidence without benefit of cell…
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1115 An artist in the wreckage of war

I Can Only Paint: The Story of Battlefield Artist Mary Riter Hamilton by Irene Gammel Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020 $49.95 / 9780228003915 Reviewed by Robert Amos * Mary Riter Hamilton was a Canadian artist born in Culross, Ontario in 1867. Following a difficult childhood she was married at 21 and widowed at…
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1097 HRH: A nodding acquaintance

MEMOIR: HRH: A nodding acquaintance by Maria Tippett * On the occasion of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021), we present an extract from the diary of art historian Maria Tippett of Pender Island of the visit to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in November…
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1094 Escape from Nanking, 1937

The Library of Legends by Janie Chang Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2020 $22.99 /  9781443456050 Reviewed by Valerie Green * The year is 1937. The place is eastern China. The story of The Library of Legends by Janie Chang is a true account of the evacuation of university students from the city of Nanking across thousands…
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1087 The soul & graveyard of Colombia

Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia by Wade Davis Toronto: Penguin Random House (Knopf Canada), 2020 $24.95 / 9780735278943 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart * Another river. I was bowled over years ago by Wade Davis’s One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (1997), a remarkable book about his youthful…
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1072 Healing through creativity

 A Whisper Across Time: My Family’s Story of the Holocaust told through Art & Poetry by Olga Campbell Vancouver: Jubaji Press, 2018, distributed by Red Toque Books. To purchase see here $31.95 / 9780981291123 Reviewed by Claire Sicherman * I first met visual artist and author Olga Campbell in 2019 at Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre,…
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1056 Beijing in Canada

Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada by Jonathan Manthorpe Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2019 $24.95 / 9781770865396 Reviewed by Trevor Carolan * Book-length critiques of our national failures of nerve and vision seldom make easy reading. Drug use policies, Quebec-ROC relations, Indigenous reconciliation, housing and environmental issues — on and…
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1021 Canadian science on Easter Island

Stanley’s Dream: The Medical Expedition to Easter Island by Jacalyn Duffin Montréal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019 $39.95 / 9780773557109 Reviewed by Colin Levings * Stanley’s Dream, Jacalyn Duffin’s book on the 1964-65 Medical Expedition to Easter Island (METEI) is an intriguing detailed compendium, retrospective analysis, and overall fascinating story of one of Canada’s…
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