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Bowen, Lynne.

Lantzville (B.C.). Oolichan Books, 1987. 408pp. cloth. $29.95, ISBN 0-88982-065-I. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Lois Hird

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Author Lynne Bowen has written a revealing and entertaining account of coal mining on Vancouver Island during the last half of the nineteenth century. The reader learns of the hardships of men who came from Great Britain, the Continent and Asia looking for work in a mine and hoping some day to own a mine. Few ever accomplished that feat, but one who did--Robert Dunsmuir—is part of the story. The family's influence on the mining industry continued as a son, James, followed in his father's footsteps.

From the description of everyday life, the miners' lives weren't easy ones. Attempts to form unions were met head on by management. There were strikes and strike breakers together with requested reductions in pay and accidents and deaths. Several pages are devoted to the fire that started from Igniting coal dust and killed 148 men in 1887.

This book of personalities and life in an important regional industry is worth reading. Accompanying the immense amount of detail is a variety of historic black-and-white photographs. Full-page maps also help show the development of the Industry. There's a glossary of coal mining and an extensive bibliography for the eager researcher.

Lois Hird, Calgary. Alta.
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