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Riding to the Rescue: The Transformation of the RCMP in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1914-1939 [Paperback]

Steve Hewitt

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Book Description

Nov. 18 2006 Canadian Social History

The Mountie may be one of Canada's best-known national symbols, yet much of the post-nineteenth century history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police remains unexamined, particularly the period between 1914 and 1939, when the RCMP underwent enormous transformation. The nature of this transformation as it took place in Alberta and Saskatchewan - where the Mounties have traditionally dominated policing - is the focus of Steve Hewitt's Riding to the Rescue.

During the 1914-to-1939 period, the nineteenth-century model of the RCMP was evolving into a twentieth-century version, and the institution that emerged responded to a nation that was being transformed as well. Forces such as industrialization, mass immigration, urbanization, and political radicalism compelled the Mounties to look away from the frontier and toward a new era.

Incorporating previously classified material, which explores the RCMP both in the context of its ordinary policing role and in its work as Canada's domestic spy agency, Hewitt demonstrates how much of the impetus behind the RCMP's transformation was ensuring its own survival and continued relevance. Riding to the Rescue is a provocative and incisive look behind one of Canada's most enduring icons at the cusp of the modern era.


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Review

"'In Riding to the Rescue, Steve Hewitt provides a novel western-Canadian context in answering the two main questions of his study: how did the RCMP survive beyond its wild-west infancy, and why did it transform itself? He argues not only that the RCMP refashioned itself as a domestic security intelligence service and an adaptable quasi-militarized police force, but also that these changes sowed the seeds for its later troubles. Indeed, what secured the future for the RCMP in the 1920s ultimately led to the demise of its Security Service half a century later.' - Mark Kristmanson, author of Plateaus of Freedom: Nationality, Culture and State Security in Canada, 1940-1960."

About the Author

Steve Hewitt is a lecturer in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham.


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