MORE BOOKS

Canada's History - - BOOKS - Re­viewed by the di­rec­tor of pro­grams for Canada’s His­tory So­ci­ety.

Su­sanna Moodie: Rough­ing It in the Bush by Pa­trick Crowe and Carol Shields, Il­lus­trated by Se­lena Gould­ing Sec­ond Story Press, 152 pages, $22.95

The graphic novel Su­sanna Moodie: Rough­ing it in the Bush of­fers a vivid view of a re­mark­able wo­man and of the lives of early nine­teenth-cen­tury pioneers. The project be­gan as a screen­play and in­volved a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween coau­thors Pa­trick Crowe and Carol Shields. The lat­ter had a life­long in­ter­est in Moodie, who had been the sub­ject of her mas­ter’s the­sis. After Shields’ death in 2003, Crowe wasn’t mo­ti­vated to con­tinue the project — but he even­tu­ally found new in­spi­ra­tion in the area of in­ter­ac­tive graphic nov­els. Wil­low Daw­son adapted the screen­play, and Se­lena Gould­ing spent eigh­teen months work­ing on the il­lus­tra­tions.

The book’s glossy pages are rich in colour, and the art­work is quite ex­pres­sive. Gould­ing in­tu­itively cap­tures Moodie’s evo­lu­tion from an at­trac­tive, rel­a­tively shel­tered wife through the events that chal­lenged her phys­i­cally and men­tally. The lines in her face grow with each test of char­ac­ter.

Crowe tells read­ers that Shields in­tended to de­liver a dra­matic arc to Moodie’s story, and psy­cho­log­i­cal truths there­fore tri­umph over his­tor­i­cal truths. For those who are ex­cited by il­lus­trated his­to­ries, Su­sanna Moodie will not dis­ap­point. — Tanja Hüt­ter

No­body Here Will Harm You: Mass Med­i­cal Evac­u­a­tion from the Eastern Arc­tic, 1950–1965 by Shawn Sel­way

Wol­sak & Wynn, 280 pages, $25

No­body Here Will Harm You in­ves­ti­gates the mass med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion of thou­sands of peo­ple from Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in the Arc­tic to south­ern hos­pi­tals and sana­to­ri­ums in cities such as Hamil­ton in the mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tury.

In the book, mill­wright and his­tor­i­cal ma­chin­ery con­sul­tant Shawn Sel­way ex­am­ines the views and ac­tions of doc­tors, nurses, politi­cians, and mem­bers of Inuit com­mu­ni­ties in re­sponse to the spread of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis. No­tably, he con­sid­ers their de­ci­sions and per­spec­tives within broader so­cio-po­lit­i­cal frame­works and within the con­text of the Cana­dian colo­nial project, a long-stand­ing, coun­try-wide un­der­tak­ing marked by govern­ment in­ter­ven­tions that in­cluded the es­tab­lish­ment of res­i­den­tial schools.

While ex­am­in­ing this dark chap­ter of his­tory, Sel­way grap­ples with how to ad­dress the on­go­ing legacy of these evac­u­a­tions. He notes in his in­tro­duc­tion that “the anx­i­ety and lone­li­ness oc­ca­sioned by sud­den and pro­longed sep­a­ra­tion re­ver­ber­ated for decades,” prompt­ing read­ers to con­sider the im­pact the past con­tin­ues to have on the Cana­dian health care sys­tem and on Canada’s re­la­tion­ship with north­ern Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

His thought­ful yet ac­ces­si­ble study, pep­pered with vis­ual and tex­tual ref­er­ences to archival re­search and records, will cap­ture the at­ten­tion of read­ers who are in­ter­ested by this lesser-known but sig­nif­i­cant episode in Cana­dian his­tory. — Joanne DeCosse

Time Travel: Tourism and the Rise of the Liv­ing His­tory Mu­seum in Mid-Twen­ti­eth-Cen­tury Canada by Alan Gor­don

UBC Press, 372 pages, $34.95 Fam­ily Ties: Liv­ing His­tory in Cana­dian House Mu­se­ums by An­drea Terry McGill-Queen’s Univer­sity Press, 264 pages, $44.95

Mu­se­ums are in a state of con­stant change. They have moved from the Vic­to­rian cab­i­nets of cu­riosi­ties to more so­phis­ti­cated sites that of­fer sto­ry­lines, re­con­struc­tions,

and films. In re­cent years, Cana­di­ans have been able to ac­cess vir­tual mu­se­ums and mu­se­ums of ideas — those with few ar­ti­facts and based around or­ga­ni­za­tional con­cepts. Nonethe­less, there is a de­sire in al­most all his­tory mu­se­ums to re­tain a sense of au­then­tic­ity. This is not Dis­ney­land. The truth mat­ters in mu­se­ums. And yet the truth, of course, is al­ways con­tested.

Alan Gor­don’s fine book Time Travel ex­plores the rise of liv­ing his­tory mu­se­ums in Canada from the mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tury. Through an­i­ma­tors and re­con­structed his­tor­i­cal sites, these new mu­se­ums hoped to bring life to dead his­tory.

Gor­don’s deeply re­searched book will be­come a clas­sic in the field of cul­tural pol­icy and mu­seum stud­ies. His ex­plo­ration of Louisbourg, Up­per Canada Vil­lage, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, and many other liv­ing his­tory sites tells us much about how Cana­di­ans de­sired to recre­ate the past in a chang­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing world. Gor­don also un­packs the in­ter­sec­tion of tourism, re­gional devel­op­ment, and the chal­lenges of his­tor­i­cal re­con­struc­tion (such as pick­ing a time pe­riod in which to place his­tor­i­cal an­i­ma­tors for sites that span decades or cen­turies).

An­drea Terry’s Fam­ily Ties is a more lim­ited book. She ex­am­ines three his­toric houses that are now mu­seum sites: Dun­durn Cas­tle in Hamil­ton, Wil­liam Lyon Macken­zie House in Toronto, and Sir Ge­orge- Éti­enne Cartier Na­tional His­toric Site in Mon­treal. Terry skil­fully analy­ses how ar­ti­facts, pro­gram­ming, and an­i­ma­tors in­fuse the sto­ries told in these spa­ces, as well as how the past is ac­tively re­shaped in the present.

While Gor­don’s Time Travel is an easy read un­der­pinned by re­search into sev­eral ar­chives, Terry’s work is steeped in the­o­ret­i­cal dis­cus­sions where the reader is sub­jected to page after page of quotes from other schol­ars. Some of these dis­cus­sions bur­den the story, and the re­viewer wished for a broader study that in­cluded well-known and con­tested his­tory sites like Riel House in Win­nipeg, Belle­vue House in Kingston, On­tario (where Sir John A. Mac­don­ald lived), or Lau­rier House in Ot­tawa.

These liv­ing his­tory sites and his­tor­i­cal houses are places where the past is per­formed. Yet with tourism dol­lars driv­ing many of these mu­se­ums — hence Gor­don’s clever ti­tle — the his­tory is of­ten san­i­tized, even sanc­ti­fied. Vis­i­tors do not en­counter eigh­teenth- or nine­teen­th­cen­tury liv­ing his­tory ac­tors dy­ing from a run­away in­fec­tion that can­not be treated in an age be­fore an­tibi­otics.

In this new cen­tury of so­cial me­di­adriven news and events, where ev­ery­one is con­nected and at the same time dis­con­nected, these sites, houses, and mu­se­ums al­low us to re­turn to a qui­eter time, to marvel at how the past was (or how we think it was), and to visit, if tem­po­rar­ily, a dif­fer­ent way of life — some of which is fa­mil­iar, while other parts are for­eign. — Tim Cook

Gold Rush Queen: The Ex­tra­or­di­nary Life of Nel­lie Cash­man by Thora Kerr Illing TouchWood Edi­tions, 223 pages, $18.95

To say that Nel­lie Cash­man led an ex­tra­or­di­nary life is putting it mildly. Work­ing in a time and in oc­cu­pa­tions dom­i­nated by men, Nel­lie was a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman and prospec­tor. From Canada’s Far North to the south­ern United States, she had an eye for op­por­tu­nity and fol­lowed where it led her.

Gold Rush Queen: The Ex­tra­or­di­nary Life of Nel­lie Cash­man is an en­ter­tain­ing and in­for­ma­tive read. Em­i­grat­ing from Ire­land to es­cape the famine, Cash­man and her mother and sis­ter ini­tially set­tled in Bos­ton. They even­tu­ally headed west to San Fran­cisco, where Nel­lie was first bit­ten by the prospect­ing bug. From there, she was al­ways mov­ing on to where she thought the next boom would hap­pen; she bought and sold busi­nesses rang­ing from restau­rants, to board­ing houses, to min­ing ven­tures.

One win­ter in the Arc­tic, Cash­man led a team of men on a dan­ger­ous jour­ney to bring sup­plies to min­ers trapped by the weather and suf­fer­ing from scurvy. The team ar­rived in time to save many of the men, and she be­came known as the “An­gel of the Cas­siar.” In her later trav­els, she be­came friends with some well-known per­son­al­i­ties, in­clud­ing the Earp brothers and “Doc” Hol­l­i­day.

Gold Rush Queen au­thor Thora Kerr Illing is a former jour­nal­ist and li­brar­ian who her­self em­i­grated to Canada from the United King­dom The book of­fers a well-re­searched glimpse into the life of a re­mark­able wo­man who wasn’t afraid of tak­ing chances. — Danielle Chartier

Abe­naki Dar­ing: The Life and Writ­ings of Noel An­nance, 1792–1869 by Jean Bar­man McGill-Queen’s Univer­sity Press, 400 pages, $39.95

Jean Bar­man’s book Abe­naki Dar­ing: The Life and Writ­ings of Noel An­nance, 1792–1869 pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse into the ex­pe­ri­ences of a man whose ca­reer and whose life as an Indige­nous per­son and as a pro­claimed “gen­tle­man” dared to chal­lenge the ex­clu­sion he faced within the con­text of the de­vel­op­ing Do­min­ion. As An­nance re­flected to­wards the end of his life, all of his ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing could never make up for what he called “the crime of be­ing an ‘In­dian.’”

Abe­naki Dar­ing chal­lenges those who would see the his­tory of Indige­nous ex­clu­sion as be­gin­ning with leg­is­la­tion passed after Con­fed­er­a­tion. It places An­nance’s life within the con­text of so­ci­ety’s re­jec­tion of Indige­nous peo­ple, as well as within his own per­sonal re­flec­tions.

Care­fully re­searched and fea­tur­ing many of An­nance’s orig­i­nal writ­ings, Abe­naki Dar­ing is an im­por­tant and timely study about be­ing Indige­nous and about iden­tity and colo­nial­ism. — Karine Duhamel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.