Politics & labour

1359 A shaky grasp at the Royal Society

Royally Wronged: The Royal Society of Canada and Indigenous Peoples by Constance Backhouse, Cynthia E. Milton, Margaret Kovach, and Adele Perry (editors) Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021 $39.95 / 9780228009030 Reviewed by J.R. (Jim) Miller Disclosure: the reviewer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada * In 2016, Dr. Cindy Blackstock…
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1345 Museum repatriation and renewal

Indigenous Repatriation Handbook Prepared by Jisgang Nika Collison, Sdaahl K̲’awaas Lucy Bell, Lou-ann Neel Victoria: Royal BC Museum, 2019 $29.95 / 9780772673176 Reviewed by Mark Turin * Anthropologist Aaron Glass remarked that use of the prefix ‘re’ in words such as repatriation, revitalization, rejuvenation, revival, and resurgence points to the undoing of some past action…
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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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1340 Canada and Vietnam revisited

The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War by John Boyko Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Knopf Canada), 2021 $32.00 / 9780735278004 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart  * Six Easy Pieces. John Boyko has written a compelling, largely anecdotal history of Canada’s involvement in the Americans’ long years of war in Indochina. It consists…
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1329 Return to Moresby Island

Paradise Won: The Struggle to Create Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve by Elizabeth May Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2020 (2nd edition; first published by McClelland & Stewart, 1990) $25.00 / 9781771604581 Reviewed by Ron Dart * Editor’s note: earlier in 2021 we published a review by Ron Verzuh of Paradise Won: The Struggle to Create…
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1327 Who was Benjamin Lay?

Prophet Against Slavery. Benjamin Lay: A Graphic Novel by David Lester, with Marcus Rediker and Paul Buhle (editors) Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Beacon Press), 2021 $20.00 / 9780807081792 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * Who was Benjamin Lay? A radical 18th-century Quaker challenges slavery It is fair to ask who the central figure is in…
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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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1305 McGillivray’s essential geography

Geography of British Columbia: People and Landscapes in Transition (fourth edition) by Brett McGillivray Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020 $55.00 / 9780774864329 Reviewed by Ken Favrholdt * Brett McGillivray’s Geography of British Columbia: People and Landscapes in Transition has withstood the test of time since its first edition in 2000, which I reviewed for BC Studies…
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1303 Bonnie Henry: writer

Ron Verzuh reviews two books: Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe: Four Weeks that Shaped a Pandemic by Bonnie Henry and Lynn Henry Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Allen Lane), 2021 $26.95 / 9780735241855 * Soap and Water and Common Sense: The Definitive Guide to Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites, and Disease by Bonnie Henry Toronto: House…
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1302 Lessons from the Big House

Linda Rogers reviews two books: Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power by Jody Wilson-Raybould Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2021 $34.99 / 9781443465366 * From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada by Jody Wilson-Raybould Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019 $24.95 / 9780774880534 * CHARACTER, a drama with some bad actors and some…
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1301 Goosebumps & unbroken ice

Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time by Michael Palin Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Vintage Canada), 2019 $23.00 / 9780735274297 Reviewed by Walter Volovsek * Editor’s note. A vigilant reader of The Ormsby Review might be startled to see Michael Palin’s Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages,…
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1281 Democracy in danger

Restoring Democracy in an Age of Populists and Pestilence by Jonathan Manthorpe Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2020 $24.95 / 9781770865822 Reviewed by Eric W. Sager * We now have a large shelfful of books on the perilous state of democracy in the twenty-first century. These books are responding to an apparent crisis: the decline in the…
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1279 Many little acts of rebellion

The Environmentalist’s Dilemma: Promise and Peril in an Age of Climate Crisis by Arno Kopecky Toronto: ECW Press, 2021 $24.95 / 9781770416093 Reviewed by Mike Starr * The Environmentalist’s Dilemma is not a typical environmental call to action. This book is more difficult to categorize; it is non-fiction, intensely personal, and autobiographical in parts, including…
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1278 Across the continent before GPS

The York Factory Express: Fort Vancouver to Hudson Bay, 1826-1849 by Nancy Marguerite Anderson Vancouver: Ronsdale Books, 2021 $24.95 /  9781553805786 Reviewed by Walter Volovsek * The York Factory Express was an enterprise for transporting Hudson’s Bay Company records, correspondence, and external mail along a water-based route that spanned the continent. This aquatic highway linked…
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1275 The making of an art collector

One Man in His Time… A Memoir by Michael Audain Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2021 $36.95 / 9781771623001 Reviewed by Maria Tippett * No conventional memoir, One Man in his time. . .  allows Michael Audain to roll out his life story in a randomly selected collection of “tales” and “anecdotes” that resemble fireside…
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1273 Ancient craft, long history

Mining Country: A History of Canada’s Mines and Miners by John Sandlos and Arn Keeling Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, 2021 $29.95 / 9781459413535 Reviewed by Robert G. McCandless * The introduction to this attractive book says Canada’s mining history is “curiously neglected,” then steps into that gap to present two hundred years of history….
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1267 Footman at Government House

ESSAY: An “Odd-Man” at Government House, Victoria by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor * For most people, reading another person’s diary is a furtive and shameful act. For historians, however, studying the private journal of a long-dead person can be a valuable and exciting, if occasionally puzzling, endeavour. In 1870, Robert Colston was both the official government…
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1255 Victoria’s religion of the heart

Queen Victoria: This Thorny Crown by Michael Ledger-Lomas Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. (Spiritual Lives Series). $40.00 (U.S.) / 9780198753551 Reviewed by Simon Devereaux * This compact, densely written volume fills a surprisingly large gap in the vast biographical literature on Queen Victoria. The Victorian age is well-known for its public religiosity. It was manifest…
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