Canadian historian James Murton does a credible job in presenting an accurate and vivid account of what was involved in the efforts of BC governments to get people to resettle in the early years of the twentieth century. It is Murton's belief that these schemes, under the aegis of the Land Settlement Board, were not mere brainchilds of successive Liberal administrations to deal with a population surplus. Inherent in their plans was the idea that if groups, like returning soldiers, were given suitable land on reasonable terms, whole new rural communities could be developed to fuel a stagnant provincial economy. Great visions often come with equally ambitious plans, and projects like the Merville settlement in the Comox Valley. the Sumas Drainage enterprise and the South Okanagan Irrigation project became the cornerstones on which the Oliver government decided to restart the future of thousands of eager British Columbians. For over two decades, many a family and single men tried their luck at living the dream of land ownership only to realize that many of the promises of success were hollow. This book is full of heart-breaking and courageous stories of people betrayed by unfounded government promises and natural circumstances like forest fires and drought. Murton spends a fair bit of time analyzing the liberal mindset of the day that believed that government should play an initial role in helping people become rugged, self-supporting individuals. Once started, they should be left to fend for themselves because it is that free-enterprising spirit that makes communities strong. There are lots of examples of how government used propaganda to attract interested parties to such ventures, only to pull the rug out from under them when they couldn't repay their mortgages later. I like this book for what it has to say about the daily moil and toil inside these pioneer settlements. The reader gets to appreciate the hardships facing many men who had to leave their families to take jobs far away in order to keep the farm. Very few, if any, of the properties in question ever paid for themselves, and most have since been sold to outside interests or reverted to the Crown. The chapters dealing with the building of the Vedder Canal and the draining of Sumas Lake should make for some interesting reading for those of us who grew up or lived nearby the area. This is a historical study that underlines what can go wrong when governments rush into something without properly developing an overall strategy for seeing it through to completion.