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Hugh Ross.
Winnipeg, MB: Watson & Dwyer, 1989.
247pp., paper, $14.95.
ISBN 0-92048-640-4. CIP.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Susan E. Fowler.

Volume 18 Number 4
1990 July

The Manager's Tale provides an interesting and informative look at the fur trade and its administration by the Hudson's Bay Company in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan during the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1941, Hugh Ross moved with his family to become manager of the Hudson's Bay Company store at Waterways, near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta. His employment with the company had begun with his arrival from Scotland in 1930 as an eighteen-year-old apprentice clerk. His first eleven years with the company are described in an earlier book, The Apprentice's Tale ¹.

Ross writes in great detail about events that occurred during his years as store manager and the other positions that followed. His warmth, sense of humour, and easy-to-read conversational style are appreciated.

In a short introduction to his book, Ross talks about the history of the Hudson's Bay Company, with an emphasis on its treatment of staff. Large staff turnover seemed to be a common problem throughout the company's history - the book has more references to store managers, clerks, pilots and administrators than the reader could ever remember. The use of black-and-white photographs of personnel and stores is helpful, however, as is the inclusion of several maps of the areas described in the book.

The Manager's Tale provides a highly readable history of trade and development in the northern prairies fifty years ago. Relations with Indian trappers, advances in northern aviation and other forms of transportation, and the day-to-day operations of the Hudson's Bay Company are just some of the topics explored in this interesting autobiography.

Susan E. Fowler, Centennial Secondary School, Belleville, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. XV/4 July 1987, p. 156.

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