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n.p., Canadian Bush Pilot Project, n.d. 191pp, paper, $17-95, ISBN 0.919091.434. Distributed by Reidmore Books, Box 11748, Edmonton, Alta.,T5J3K8.CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Robin Lewis

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

This book is based on tape-recorded anecdotes that deal almost exclusively with the Northwest from 1918 to 1939. The text is easy to read, and the numerous small, attractive photographs show us many of the pilots and planes described.

Although some background is given, it is not as thorough as Alice Gibson Sutherland's history of McKee Trophy winners. There is none of the smooth flow of a Nevil Shute yarn. The one-, two-, or ten-page accounts lack the continuity of Francis Chichester's tale of his Pacific flights. There is none of the intensity and beauty of St. Exupéry's writing.

The large amount of verbatim reporting in the book is responsible for both its demerits and its value. Canadian bush pilots were seldom novelists or poets. They were workers who flew small planes under unknown and harsh conditions. In their youth, they helped open up the north by daily transporting prospectors, policemen, fur trappers, foresters and freight. They are now an aging group whose stories merit this personal, if rough, documentation.

The introduction describes their common characteristics: "They loved the wind and the rain and the storms and the camaraderie. They needed the adventure and accepted the risks. And above all else they damn well loved to fly."

Robin Lewis, Riverdale H.S., Pierrefonds, Que.
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