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INDUSTRY IN THE WILDERNESS; THE PEOPLE, THE BUILDINGS, THE MACHINES: HERITAGE IN NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO

Frank Rasky.

Toronto, Dundurn Press, c1983.
128pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-919670-66-0.


Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Paul White.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September


Industry in the Wilderness by Frank Rasky is an account of the overcoming of natural elements in order to harvest the resource wealth of northwestern Ontario. It is part of the Dundurn Local History series.

It is an oral history of lumberjacks, gold seekers, bush pilots, and early hydro men. Herein lies the major problem with the book. Rasky attempts to cover four important aspects of northwestern Ontario in only 128 pages. This impossible task is even further complicated by the fact that more than half of the book is devoted to pictures and diagrams. Therefore, the text of the book is merely a skeletal outline of possible topics that he might have been able to investigate more fully had he narrowed the scope of the book to more manageable proportions.

This is not to suggest that the book does not possess some merit. The pictures and diagrams dominate the book to such an extent that one could ignore the text and still find a wealth of information about the topic. The diagrams of a paper mill, a gold mine, and a hydro-electric power plant could be a valuable teaching aid to students interested in those areas. The pictures are exceptionally good.

The major flaw of the book is the text. Although the stories Rasky retells are often interesting, the coverage of topics is sketchy and often relies on the stories of only one or perhaps two people. There are no footnotes or formal bibliography.


Paul White, Rexdale, ON.
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