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Edited by R.H. Macdonald. Saskatoon, Western Producer Prairie Books, c1985. 180pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88833-141-X. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by J.D. Ingram

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

William Bleasdell Cameron was born in Trenton, Ontario in 1862. He died in 1951. Through two different centuries he travelled, worked in a variety of occupations, and wrote prolifically. The editor, R.H. Macdonald, has selected a cross section of some of Cameron's best writing. In this book are articles that appeared in magazines such as The Beaver, The Canadian Magazine, and Western Field and Stream. In addition, there are excerpts from a book of Cameron's entitled Blood Red the Sun (Kenway, 1926). Most of these articles are Cameron's eyewitness accounts of people and events in the West, and five are fictional stories based on his experiences. All of them are brief, but well written and informative. In "The Romance of Pemmican," for example, Cameron writes that the buffalo meat was cut into wide thin sheets, dried,

then placed upon a hide threshing floor with the sides elevated on short pegs to form a sort of basin and beaten with flails or between stones until the meat was reduced almost to a powder. . . .The melted fat was next poured over the shredded meat in the threshing basin and the whole mixed to the consistency of paste. That was pemmican.

There is more admiration than antipathy in Cameron's description of Wandering Spirit in 1885:

Stripped to the skin, wearing breech-clout and moccasins only, Winchester in hand and bands of cartridges encircling his body, astride his tall grey mare, his eyes flashing and black hair tossing in the wind. . .(he) is the living breathing illustration of a vanished type-the Indian warrior on the warpath.

Cameron appeared to enjoy his life and experiences in the West, and expresses an admiration for many of the people he met there. There are ten pages of illustrations including Cameron and his family, as well as people and places that he writes about. An index is included. The text deserved better quality paper than the "scrap" variety used in this publication. Recommended.

J.D. Ingram, Gordon Bell H.S., Winnipeg, Man.
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