CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

James K. Smith.

Vancouver, Douglas & Mclntyre, c1983.
310pp, cloth, $29.95.
ISBN 0-88894-365-2.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by J. D. Ingram.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

Author James K. Smith, former Glaswegian, now resides in Edmonton. He previously has written books on David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, and the Mackenzie river.

Wilderness of Fortune attempts to portray the story of western Canada from pre-European discovery to the present day. Smith does a credible job relating this story in a precise and succinct manner. "Notes" acknowledging the longer quotes are provided for each chapter at the end of the book. The extent of the research and the use of quotes is not very wide-ranging. This is not a major criticism about a book that was not intended to be an academic treatise, yet it does annoy me that short quotes are not acknowledged.

The variety and the reproduction of more than 150 paintings and pictures are first-rate. Some are familiar, but others have been used less often.

Virtually all the major characters who played roles in the history of western Canada find a place in Smith's Wilderness. Although this is a compact history, it is better in substance on the period prior to World War II. The 1940s to the 1970s, for example, are covered in only twenty-three pages.

An index provides ready access to individuals, places, and events. Both price and format make this book useful as a readable, and attractive reference source for information and visual purposes.

J. D. Ingram, Gordon Bell U. S., Winnipeg, MB.
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

Young Canada Works