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Francis, Daniel and Sonia Riddoch.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1985. 432pp, paperbound boards, $24.95, ISBN 0-7710-3174-2. CIP

Grade 11
Reviewed by Gerri Young

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

An interesting, entertaining, well-written history book, Our Canada is thematic rather than chronological, and deals with six major themes: the settlement of the country by different groups; the evolution of colonial societies; the development of government in Canada; industrialization; the history of western Canada to the present; and Canada's relations with other countries up to 1985. A time line and cross-references facilitate relating the different subjects. The authors admit that the pictures are not decorative but are meant to be studied for their importance. This is a book about "How do we know what we know about the past" and about how historians detect bias, weigh evidence, and question their sources, with special sections called "Historians Debate" to introduce the controversies, with both sides of all questions presented.

Because Our Canada is written for use in secondary schools, I took it to our high school history teacher. He said the book was too hard for most of the students that he taught, that it had too much print on a page, narrow margins, too few pictures, not coloured, and difficult involved questions. He recommended the book be used with motivated grade elevens, or as a teacher's supplementary material. The boxed-off sections of information and biographical data, while very interesting, interrupt the flow of text. Glossary, index, and picture credits are included.

Gerri Young, Fort Nelson, B.C.
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