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THE PEOPLES OF CANADA: A PRE-CONFEDERATION HISTORY

Bumsted, J.M.
Don Mills (Ont.), Oxford University Press, 1992. 442pp, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-19-540690-7. CIP


THE PEOPLES OF CANADA: A POST-CONFEDERATION HISTORY

Bumsted, J.M.
Don Mills (Ont.), Oxford University Press, 1993. 581pp, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-19-540914-0. CIP


Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by David Chadwick

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March


John Bumsted has written a two-volume general history of Canada that will receive wide use in post-secondary institutions in this country and abroad. At over 1,000 pages (for both volumes combined), the books are fairly comprehensive and have an impressive number of photos, illustrations and maps. The book ends with the results of the constitutional referendum last fall.

Bumsted has fashioned the books as a history of the peoples of this country rather than the traditional story of political elites and military actions. Previously neglected people such as women, aboriginals, the poor, and ethnic communities are given far more coverage than in conventional works.

Given the scope of the work, there is no attempt to pretend that this is the final word on any issue, group or event. The book by its very nature is a general guide to our collective history.

After each chapter there are extensive lists of books for further reading to guide those wanting more detailed or extensive interpretations of periods or events. Overall, this set fills a gap within current historical work.

The major drawback will simply be the price of the paperback set, which will deter some potential purchasers. That said, this set will be very useful for institutions looking for concise, general readable histories.


David Chadwick is a former high school librarian in Norway House, Manitoba, and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba
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