Category Archives: Book Review

Psycho Killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est?

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By Amy Bell On a hot night in June, 1966, 18-year-old Matthew Charles Lamb woke up from a beer-fueled evening nap at his uncle’s house in East Windsor, Ontario. Released from the Kingston Penitentiary only seventeen days earlier, Lamb was resentful about the conditions of his parole, and depressed about his future. He got up, grabbed his uncle’s gun and… Read more »

Yuval Harari: A commentary on the world’s bestselling historian

Alvin Finkel Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind is a publishing miracle. Published initially in Hebrew in 2011, it was translated into English in 2014 and has since been translated into about 50 other languages. By the end of 2018, it reportedly had sold over 11.5 million copies and today in Amazon Canada’s listing for all… Read more »

The Ninth Floor: Finding Black Power in Montreal

By Camille Robert Translated by Thomas Peace This review originally appeared in French on Artichaut magazine and HistoireEngagee.ca In many way, the image of Montreal in the 1960s is defined by the 1967 World’s Fair. Often celebrated as one of the key moments in the Quiet Revolution, official imagery of the city situated it as a centre-point in a modernized and… Read more »

Being Part of Something Larger: A Review of Imprinting Britain

As part of our partnership with the new early Canadian history blog Borealia, we’ll be posting highlights from that website here every Saturday in November. By Keith Grant Michael Eamon, Imprinting Britain: Newspapers, Sociability, and the Shaping of British North America (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015). “Were I to name the most striking peculiarity of our neighbours in the… Read more »

A Review of Dan Malleck’s When Good Drugs Go Bad: Opium, Medicine, and the Origins of Canada’s Drug Laws (UBC Press 2015)

by Joel D. Rudewicz Restrictions against the general public procuring powerful and often dangerous poisons, drugs, and remedies are a fairly recent development in history. A time once existed when children could smoke cigarettes, arsenic was supplied by your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist, and medication and healing were a mish-mash of druggists recommendations, physician’s advice, and longstanding home- cures. This system… Read more »

Devolutionary Empire: A Review of James Kennedy’s Liberal Nationalisms: Empire, State, and Civil Society in Scotland and Quebec

By Gordon E. Bannerman In the twenty-first century, the notion of colonial empires has a distinctly antiquarian feel. Yet the British Empire, one of the most successful, exists to this day albeit in a composite rump-like form. At its height, the global reach of the British Empire was equalled by the wide range of political culture within it, and this… Read more »

A Review of Daniel Macfarlane’s Negotiating a River: Canada, the U.S. and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway

By Natalie Zacharewski In his work Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Daniel Macfarlane recounts the policy, negotiations and later impacts of the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The comprehensive detail of his research and depth of analysis sheds important light on Canada and its technological advancements in the twentieth century…. Read more »

A Review of The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir

By Kevin Plummer “When I was at that school,” Joseph Auguste (Augie) Merasty writes of his years at St. Therese Residential School, “it seemed always to be winter time” (Merasty, 41). It’s little surprise, then, that certain anecdotes from that season stand out in the memoir he’s written with David Carpenter, The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir…. Read more »

Review of Bruno Ramirez’s Inside the Historical Film

By C.S. Ogden What stake does historical research have in fictionalized cinematic productions? Does film offer another medium to convey this research effectively to new audiences? What role can the academic historian take within such endeavours? In his latest book Inside the Historical Film, Bruno Ramirez, a history professor and screenwriter at Université de Montréal, considers these issues by investigating the… Read more »

Review of Testimonies and Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family 1844-1977, by Robert M. Mennel

By Christine Moreland “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”.  Can we then ever really understand who ‘they’ were and how they lived? In Testimonies and Secrets: the Story of a Nova Scotia Family 1844-1977, Robert M. Mennel invites the reader to explore the themes of family, work and community life in a very foreign place: Crousetown,… Read more »