Politics & labour

#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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#77 Rubber chicken & pot shops

Surviving City Hall by Donna Macdonald Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2016 $22.95  /  9780889713208 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published in Jan. 22, 2017 * In 2010, the small city of Nelson, B.C., attracted the attention of The Guardian for weathering the most recent economic downturn — a feat the esteemed newspaper attributed partly to dollars…
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#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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#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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#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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#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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#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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#47 Ujjal’s odyssey

Journey After Midnight: India, Canada and the Road Beyond by Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2016 $34.95  /   9781927958568 Reviewed by Hugh Johnston First published November 21, 2016 * Journey After Midnight is Ujjal Dosanjh’s memoir of his journey from a village in the Punjab to London in 1964, and to Vancouver in 1968….
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#46 Crafting a lasting reconciliation

In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth & Reconciliation by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail Victoria: Brindle & Glass (TouchWood Editions), 2016 $19.95  /  9781927366448 Reviewed by J.R. (Jim) Miller First published November 19, 2016 * When asked in September 2016 how he thought the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was being received, former…
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#30 Bob Bouchette, everyman scribe

Bob Bouchette’s last story, 1938 by Janet Nicol First published October 21, 2016 * Long before Allan Fotheringham or Eric Nicol, Vancouver’s most popular columnist was Bob Bouchette. The prolific non-conformist Bob Bouchette wrote literally thousands of columns, usually around 700 words each, mostly for The Vancouver Sun. His six-part series on the abysmal conditions…
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#19 The Reddest Rose

ESSAY: The Reddest Rose: Trade Unionist Harvey Murphy by Ron Vurzuh First Published: September 22nd, 2016 * Harvey Murphy is not a name that echoes loudly throughout the annals of 20th-century British Columbia labour history. In fact, the tireless trade union organizer, negotiator, and active Communist Party of Canada (CPC) bureaucrat has almost disappeared from…
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#3 When Nanaimo was Colville

“Nanaimo was a mining hamlet of some forty-five buildings in 1857. The name was scarcely known outside Vancouver Island… The Beaver came along about every six months, the Otter more frequently, and an Express canoe occasionally… The chinks between the logs, through which the wind would sough with a shriek of triumph, were plastered up…
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