CM Archive
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Francess G. Halpenny (General Editor)

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1987. 960pp, cloth, $65.00, ISBN 0-8020-3436-5. CIP.

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by P.J. Hammel

Volume 15 Number 6
1987 November

The press release announcing the publication of Volume VI quotes Michael Bliss writing in Report on Business: "The most important books published in Canada since 1966 have been. . .volumes of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography”. Most Canadians would probably agree that the ten volumes published so far are indeed important first, as a significant scholarly endeavour and, second, as an indication of a mature nation with a history and heritage worthy of study.

As the official national biography, this work has and will continue to record the biographies of individuals who make significant contribution to Canada-in all areas of its development. To date, volumes published include: I,1000-1700; II, 1701-1740; III, 1741-1770; IV, 1771-1800; V, 1801-1820; VI, 1821-1835; VIII, 1851-1860: IX, 1861-1870; X, 1871-1880; XI, 1881-1890. Volumes now in preparation include: VII, 1836-1850; XII, 1891-1900. An index to volumes I to IV has been published; an index to volumes I to XII is in preparation.

An indication that the work is improving as it develops can be seen by a review of the contents of Volume VI. An alphabetical listing of all of the individuals treated, plus dates, precedes the actual biographies. As usual, the biographies are presented in alphabetical order, each biography with its own bibliography. The indexes are particularly noteworthy: the "Index of Identifications" indexes individuals by occupational groups (e.g. architects, agriculture, etc.) but also on the basis of other aspects (e.g. women, blocks, etc.); the "Geographical Index" provides for identification of individuals by province or region of their activities and/or their country of origin; the "Nominal Index," as usual, lists all of the individuals mentioned in this volume, including those who have biographies in other volumes. These diverse indexes make it possible for the reader to pursue interests on several levels; this aspect would make possible more interesting approaches to research for high school students. The jacket blurb says that these volumes may be "read for pleasure or profit" or, to put it another way, for interest and information. Although the reading level will make it difficult for younger students to use these volumes easily, they are absolutely essential for high school students who are studying or are simply interested in the history and development of their country.

P.J. Hammel, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask.
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