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White, Howard and Jim Spilsbury.

Madeira Park (B.C.). Harbour Publishing. 1987. 272pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-920080-57-X. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Yoskyl Webb

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Born in 1905 to flamboyant educated parents, Spilsbury spent his early childhood on Savary Island on the inside passage. When he went to sea as a cadet at fourteen years of age, he became entranced with the ship's radio equipment. He settled on the inside passage, where he built and serviced radios in logging camps up and down the coast. In 1942 he bought an airplane to use in his radio service work, and he became involved in an airline called Queen Charlotte Airlines, which he eventually sold to Pacific Western.

Spilsbury's biography belongs to the era when talent quickly turned initiative to profit. His tale is anecdotal and humorous, rich in local colour and west-coast vocabulary, and he details a wealth of characters who still exist in spirit if not in person.

The informal style is somewhat loose and uncohesive. Despite this, it is important that the rich tapestry of life on the inside passage before and between the wars be recorded, and we must be thankful that Spilsbury has taken the time to reminisce.

To coastal historians, the work will be enjoyable and invaluable, and it is recommended for purchase by public libraries. It is not recommended as a local history resource for school libraries to back up the curriculum, but it might appeal to senior students for general reading.

Yoskyl Webb, Sutherland Secondary School, North Vancouver, B.C.
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