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Bothwell, Robert.

Edmonton. Hurtig, c1986. 222pp. paper. ISBN 0-88830-287-8 (cloth) $24.95, 0-88830-288-6 (paper) $13.95. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Louise Dick

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Lack of a single volume on "the common experience of the province." in spite of an abundance of local and regional histories, has led to this latest history by historian and University of Toronto professor. Robert Bothwell. A history of Ontario from the primaeval era to June 1986 in fewer than two hundred pages is necessarily highly selective. Bothwell traces primarily the "political experience" of the province, "the thread that links the various periods ..." He places social and economic issues (religion, education, social welfare, industry, energy) in political content. Some effort is made to place Ontario's development in a national context.

The informal narrative, interpretative as well as factual, is divided into eight chapters. There is an index, an appendix listing lieutenant-governors and premiers, an annotated description of "further reading," and three outline maps, (Thunder Bay is shown only ai, Port Anhur and Fort William). Two eight-page sections of black-and-white illustrations, primarily from provincial and national archives, are of interest, but regrettably mediocre in reproduction.

A Short History is ''intended for people with little or no background in the common history of Ontario." It offers a useful, undemanding introduction to the topic for readers in any part of Canada. Use by students for reference would be more difficult. Chapters without sub-headings and an index with inadequate cross references ("Great Depression." but not "Depression," "schools." but not "education") would discourage the average student. The history is best read as a continuous narrative; as such it offers a reasoned explanation of the origins of present-day Ontario.

Louise Dick, Branksome Hall School, Toronto, Ont.
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