CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Pierre Berton
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1992. 87pp, paper, $5.99
ISBN 0-7710-1437-6. (Adven­tures in Canadian History). (Canada Moves West), CIP

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14

Reviewed by Donna J. Adrian.

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

In the second in his series "Canada Moves West," Berton introduces the heroes of the railway, the men who surveyed the land seeking the route for the Canadian Pacific Railway. While most of the book covers the search for the passes in the mountains of British Columbia, there is information on surveying in the Canadian Shield and on the prairies.

The stories of the lives of surveyors as they explored 73,600 km of Canadian wilderness, their loneliness and their hardships, read as an adventure novel.

The book focuses on Walter Moberly and his rivalry with Marcus Smith as they explored and marked the mountain passes through which the trains could go. The "Battle of the Routes" forced the government of Alexander Mackenzie to make the final decision - that of Kicking Horse Pass, Fraser River to Burrard Inlet.

A fascinating look at the building of the railway that leaves the reader feeling as lost and alone as the surveyors themselves felt.

Readable, illustrated, well indexed, but the unnecessary use of Imperial measure is irritating.

Of value to Canadian history courses.

Donna J. Adrian is Library Coordinator, Laurenval School Board, in Rosemere, Quebec.
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