PASSAGES: A TREASURE TROVE OF NORTH AMERICAN EXPLORATION
Pierre Dufour and Michell Guitard
Volume 20 Number 6
The contents of this book are taken from original documents in the possession of the National Library of Canada, specifically in their Rare Book Collection. As Marianne Scott, the National Librarian, states in her preface, 1992 is the perfect year in which to share these treasures of the nation with the nation. It is the 500th anniversary of the official discovery of America, the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, the 200th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, and the 125th anniversary of Confederation!
The book is very well organized, beginning with an introduction and a chronological outline of the explorers included. It starts with Columbus and ends in the twentieth century with Amundsen. Each entry includes a reproduction of a page from an original source relating to the particular explorer. The illustrations included range from maps to drawings of wildlife and coasts to portraits of Native people. Each adventurer or explorer is then discussed, giving a brief account of his life and his importance in the chronology of North American exploration. While the written accounts are not extensive they do provide solid information.
In all there are fifty-eight entries in this book. The text is in French and English in parallel columns. Besides the foreword and introduction, there is also a list of sources consulted. This might be useful as a supplementary reference on exploration. One benefit is that it spans several centuries. It could be used at the secondary level.
Janice (Vaudry) Carey is a librarian at Bishop's College School in Lennoxville, Quebec.
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