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Arc of the Medicine Line: Mapping the World's Longest Undefended Border Across the Western Plains [Paperback]

Anthony Rees

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Book Description

March 23 2009 1553654196 978-1553654193
The border between Canada and the United States was laid out in many stages over more than a century, but the biggest part of the job was the long, (mostly) straight line across the prairies. On September 18, 1872, a full five years after confederation, two large teams of army surveyors - one from each country - met at the Red River on the Manitoba-Minnesota border. They were there to fix, for the first time, the precise location of the 49th Parallel between the swampy shores of the Lake of the Woods and the summit of the continental divide in the Rockies.

Over the next two years, the members of the International Boundary Commission went about the business of surveying, mapping and placing markers across nearly 900 miles of unforgiving territory. Through the work of its brilliant naturalists, the Commission created the first accurate descriptions of what was still largely terra incognita. In drawing the Medicine Line across the High Plains, the Boundary Commission defined the final shape of a new nation and ended, once and for all, the old American dream of Manifest Destiny.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre (March 23 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553654196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553654193
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Comparing a Canadian-history writer with Pierre Berton is not something that should be done lightly; Berton's ability to make history accessible to the masses is legendary. However, with Arc of the Medicine Line, Tony Rees has proven himself worthy of such a comparison...Rees's lively writing style, as well as his inclusion of witty and prescient excerpts from both personal letters and official reports, make this an engaging read." (Quill & Quire 2007-12-14)

"Like the careful surveyors he is writing about, Rees moves the reader from point to point in meticulous fashion. The detail may be thick at times...but Rees offers a vivid picture of the conditions under which the surveyors operated." (Canadian Geographic 2008-04-04)

"A cast of colourful and significant historical players populate a fascinating narrative." (Edmonton Journal 2007-12-14)

About the Author

Tony Rees, former supervisor of the City of Toronto Archives, moved west to become Calgary’s first city archivist in 1981, then chief archivist of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum from 1985 to 1993. He is the author of Hope’s Last Home: Travels in Milk River Country and Polo: The Galloping Game. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 7 2014
By steve's - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A little dry but I earned beer money in college as a chainman.

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