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The Backwoods of Canada [Mass Market Paperback]

Catharine Parr Traill , D.M.R. Bentley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1989 New Canadian library
The toils, troubles, and satisfactions of pioneer life are recorded with charm and vivacity in this portrayal of pioneer life by Catharine Parr Traill, who, like her sister Susanna Moodie, left the comforts of genteel English society for the rigours of a new, young land.

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'"The Backwoods of Canada" is one of the most frank and pragmatic pioneer accounts ever written and the first to examine women's experience and the domestic economy of the settler's life in any detail.' -- Camilla Gibb --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

CATHARINE PARR TRAILL was born in Surrey, England, on January 9, 1802. She was the fifth child of Thomas and Elizabeth Strickland. Her siblings were Eliza, Jane Margaret, Susanna (later Susanna Moodie), Samuel, and Agnes. In 1832 she married Lt. Thomas Traill. The couple emigrated to Upper Canada and settled near the Otonabee River close to Peterborough. Traill is the author of a number of books but is best-known for The Backwoods of Canada. She died in 1899 in Lakefield, Ontario.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An How to Do It Guide to Suriving in Rural Canada Oct. 20 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're interested in how people lived in rural Canada during the 1800s, this book will give a first hand account. The book is composed of the author's letters back home to England, and answering questions from friends back home. She gives detail encounters of the voyage to her new home, cultivating the land, the hardships they face with their land, diseases, and the climate, and who is best suited for this type of life. Catharine Parr Traill is a great storyteller who is engaging and very descriptive in her writings. This is a good book if you want to really see what life was like for the early pioneers in North America.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True stocy kinda interesting... if u like that sort April 21 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
about the eairly settlers of canada and how they managed the hardships and how people felt about development in the rural areas of canada
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An How to Do It Guide to Suriving in Rural Canada Oct. 20 2003
By Courtney Jonas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're interested in how people lived in rural Canada during the 1800s, this book will give a first hand account. The book is composed of the author's letters back home to England, and answering questions from friends back home. She gives detail encounters of the voyage to her new home, cultivating the land, the hardships they face with their land, diseases, and the climate, and who is best suited for this type of life. Catharine Parr Traill is a great storyteller who is engaging and very descriptive in her writings. This is a good book if you want to really see what life was like for the early pioneers in North America.
3.0 out of 5 stars Dredging through the Canadian Wilderness Dec 30 2012
By bertandernie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's not a bad book in any way. However before you decide to either pay good money or spend good time reading this book, you should be aware of a couple of things.

Catharine Parr Traill is a very good writer. Her compilation of letters is an excellent way of obtaining a first hand account of pioneer life and the struggles that she goes through without actually being a pioneer in the backwoods of Canada. She is incredibly descriptive, almost to the point of nausea, but on the plus side, if you ever wanted to know how an intelligent and witty pioneer woman found a way to make her new cabin "homey" or how she made candles, this is definitely the book for you.

She is incredibly intelligent and she is describing her new life from scratch to her family back home, so you can only imagine how many new and interesting things she has to tell her family. Most of her descriptions are of the plant life she's encountering or new animals so it's very telling to see how she handles herself in this new environment she finds herself in. In fact, she becomes rather scientific, examining and comparing her new findings with others she's aware of back home. It's an interesting process to witness and she takes great pride in her findings, if you couldn't tell by the enthusiasm she has while she describing them.

It's a very telling account of what pioneer life can be like, however Traill does put a nice shiny gloss over her first years of pioneer life. She basically creates a compilation of letters that is meant to boost the population of pioneers and to express all the greatness of pioneer life can hold (she says as much in the Forward at the beginning of the book). From her point of view the life of Canadian pioneer is difficult, but rewarding and can bring great wealth and prosperity to newcomers to the pioneer lifestyle. She wants you to join her on her own adventure and honestly after reading her account it's mighty tempting, that is if I had lived at a time when there were still places to pioneer.

Her new life in Canada creates a great deal of struggles, but Traill is persistent in her good attitude and often lessens the impact of a negative experience. The Canadian winters were harsh, and considering she was also new to the harsh weather she spends little time detailing the sickness and disease that at one point her whole family has contracted. In fact she spends about a paragraph or less describing the ordeal. Just for comparison if she sees a new flower or other type of plant she's never seen before, she spends a few pages describing it.

Nonetheless it's an interesting read, and for me it's always been more on a woman trying to find a new identity for herself in this new unknown world that she had found herself in. She's became a landowner and a pioneer, a self sufficient woman with everything to prove in a world where men were struggling to keep their new homes and lifestyles afloat. She is someone who came to this land that had been previously unknown to most Europeans and created a well established life for herself and encouraged that transformation in others as well.

She likens her new life to that of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and in so many ways she's right on the money.

Anyway. If you like history and first hand accounts of pioneer life this is probably a good one for you.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True stocy kinda interesting... if u like that sort April 21 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
about the eairly settlers of canada and how they managed the hardships and how people felt about development in the rural areas of canada
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