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Lower, J. Arthur.

Toronto, Douglas & McIntyre, c1983. 346pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88894-346-6. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by George Hoffman

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

Western Canada: An Outline History is a survey of Canada's four western provinces from about 1700 to the present. The book provides the reader with a general introduction to the major events of western Canada's history.

Although a book of this type could be of considerable value and interest to both students and the general reader, this account falls short for several reasons. First of all, it contains many factual errors. Walter Weir was not a Liberal premier of Manitoba; J.T.M. Anderson was not a Liberal premier of Saskatchewan; Charles Stewart was not UFA premier of Alberta, as the table on page 321 shows. Even a casual observer of Saskatchewan politics would know that Allan Blakeney was not elected premier of Saskatchewan in 1971 on the promise to nationalize half the potash industry or that the Conservatives did not win any seats in the 1971 Saskatchewan election. Such errors are inexcusable in a book that purports to be a survey history.

Lower's book contains little evidence that the author is familiar with the scholarly research on western Canada that has been conducted in the last ten years. The bibliography contains no reference to Arthur Ray's work on the fur trade, to John Richards' and Larry Pratt's Prairie Capitalism (McClelland, 1979), to David Breen's The Canadian Prairie West and the Ranching Frontier (University of Toronto Press, 1982), to the writing of urban historian Alan Artibise, to David Bercuson's writing on western labour history, to John Thompson's The Harvests of War (McClelland, 1978), or to Howard Palmer's articles and books on western Canadian ethnicity. Any history of the west that ignores the revisionist interpretations that these books contain can no longer be considered adequate.

George Hoffman, Weyburn C.S., Weyburn, Sask.
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