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Ryan, Judith Hoegg.

Markham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, c1984. 64pp, paper, $4.25, ISBN 0-88902- I8M. (Growth of a Nation) CIP

Grades 5 and up
Reviewed by Jane Robinson

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

A valuable reference for this work was another book, also written by researcher Judith Ryan, on the same topic. Here, she has adapted her research for a younger audience and, statistics aside, has successfully imparted some interesting facts in an equally interesting style.

The first five chapters dutifully relate encyclopedia-type data about mining and mining production in Canada, particularly coal mining, from its earliest beginnings to its decline centuries later. But the remainder of the book deals with the lives and work of coal miners in Nova Scotia, the birthplace of heavy industry in Canada. It is a well-written blend of personal and social history, using newspaper clippings, diary entries and quotations (from miners) to give life and realism to the narrative. Old photographs, clearly captioned and dated, add authenticity and interest.

Readers learn all about the miners' workplace and lifestyle and are challenged to learn more via study questions at the end of each chapter. The questions are not merely literal in nature, but lead readers to delve and even diversify into other areas. Organized with the classroom in mind, a table of contents permits easy access to the information in the book, as do the short chapters and subheadings. A glossary renders much of the industry jargon comprehensible, and a crossword puzzle at the end provides an informal review. A bibliography and an index would have been helpful, especially since the intended school audience will undoubtedly find the book a valuable resource for projects and information.

A worthwhile purchase, as part of the Growth of a Nation series, or on its own. The Mine is also available in French.

Jane Robinson, Winnipeg, Man.
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