THE MEN IN SHEEPSKIN COATS
Volume 20 Number 6
Expanding his series on Canadian history for young people to the Canadian West, Pierre Berton has written a readable account of the settlement of the west from 1896 to 1914. Within a generation, more than one million people settled in western Canada, creating a country with distinct personality and culture.
Berton includes Josef Oleskow's dream of bringing thousands of Russian serfs from Ruthenia (Russia) to Canada, and the lack of political will that forced the dream to die. He discusses Clifford Sifton and his immigration policies, and the lies in the government propaganda pamphlets and in speeches by politicians concerning the weather in Canada.
The ordeals of the Galicians (Poles and Ukrainians), their living conditions, the corruption and bribery to get tickets for passage, the terrible ocean voyage, the dreadful conditions in Canada when they arrived, the prejudice, hardships and exploitation they faced, are clearly described. The final chapters deal with the arrival of the Doukhobors.
This book is well illustrated, with one map- There is a good index. It is annoying to have Imperial measure (with metric measure in parentheses) used.
Of value to Canadian history courses for its subject matter and readability.
Donna J. Adrian is Library Coordinator, Laurenval School Board, in Rosemere, Quebec.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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