CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Hope Morritt
Kingston (Ont.), Quarry Press, 1993.195pp, paper, $19.95
ISBN 155082-088-5. Distributed by General Distribution Services. CIP

Subject Headings:
Petroleum industry and trade-Ontario-Oil Springs-History.
Petrolia (Ont.)-History.
Imperial Oil Limited-History.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Donna Doyle

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Did you know that the first oil discovery in North America occurred in Canada? Do the names Charles Nelson Tripp, James Miller Williams or Jake Englehart ring any bells? Probably not yet they were, respectively, the original oil man of Canada, the first to produce and refine crude oil in Canada, and one of the founders of the Imperial Oil Company.

In Rivers of Oil, Hope Morritt explores a part of Canadian history that will be new to most of us.

Hope Morritt has extensive writing experience including three novels, poetry and non-fiction. Her plays and stories have been broadcast on CBC Radio and her writing has appeared in many magazines and periodicals. Her previous work of history, Land of the Fireweed: A Young Woman's Story of the Alaska Highway Construction Days (Alaska Northwest Publishing Co., 1985) was received enthusiastically .

She writes well and her research shows. The book features over fifty rare archival photos which add to Morritt's descriptions of developers, oil sites, and the towns that grew up around them.

She describes the kind of men who would risk everything for the dream of making it big in oil, of those who succeeded and those who failed, and of the wives and families who put up with the demands of the industry. She tells of mechanical inventions and ever-increasing products developed from petroleum. She tells the story of the founding of Imperial Oil, in 1880, as a means of uniting Canadian oil men against the threat from Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, which controlled 90 per cent of refining operations in the United States.

I would recommend Rivers of Oil as a colourful history of Canada's unknown pioneers in the oil industry.

Donna Doyle is a freelance writer and Eastern Counties Regional Library Board Member in Rocky Bay, Nova Scotia

line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copyright information for reviewers

francaisDigital Collections / Collections Numérisees francais