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The Oxford Companion to Canadian History [Hardcover]

Gerald Hallowell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 2 2004 0195415590 978-0195415599 1
This indispensable new guide to Canadian history is comprehensive, authoritative, and - above all - companionable. It the essential guide to the significant events, issues, institutions, people, and places that have shaped Canadian life from earliest times to the late twentieth century. In more than 1,600 entries, the country's leading historians describe and analyse events in political, military, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history, drawing on the latest scholarship. Topics such as gambling, potlatches, abortion, hockey, capital punishment, jackatars, and shipwrecks find a place alongside more traditional entries like prime ministers and suffragists, exploration and fur trade, railways and responsible government. Politicians, soldiers, scientists and industrialists, feminists, social activists and religious leaders, all make an appearance. Vikings and Basque whalers, Jesuits and filles du roi, the Huron Feast of the Dead, privateers, charivaris, the Acadian grand derangement, the Metis buffalo hunt, rebellions, the On-to-Ottawa trek, bunkhouse men and bush pilots, the battle at Vimy Ridge, gold rushes, Spanish influenza, Frontier College, corvettes, trade unions, midwives, Automatistes, the Mad Trapper, La Bolduc, free trade and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all contribute to the fascinating story which is Canada's history. Entries are arranged from A-Z and fully cross-referenced, with a complete index to guide readers to related topics. This new companion, from a publisher with an unrivalled reputation for authoritative reference works, provides learned, accessible, and up-to-date studies of the key subjects and personalities in Canadian history. Lively and informative, no Canadian should be without it.

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The Oxford Companion to Canadian History is the definitive reference to Canada's past. Editor Gerald Hallowell recruited over 500 of the most prominent Canadianists--geographers, literary scholars, and especially historians--to assemble a comprehensive and entertaining volume in the best tradition of Oxford reference works. The entries are arranged alphabetically and represent a fine blend of popular and academic topics. In addition to biographical profiles of well-known Canadians and the usual political, military, and diplomatic entries, Hallowell and his team have thoroughly beat the bushes for topics which show the uniqueness of the Canadian experience. Thus entries on Laurier, Vimy Ridge, and the Charter of Rights of Freedoms share space with Eaton's mail-order catalogues and David Lewis's "corporate welfare bums." The greatest strength of this reference, however, is the editorial willingness to include so many entries on unique Canadian thought. Entries on seminal Canadian ideas, like Northrop Frye's "garrison mentality," Innis and Creighton's laurentian thesis, and medicare, render these complex topics easily understandable. Carl Berger's entry on history and historians puts the rest of the volume into its proper academic context, but it would be a mistake to conclude that this is a dry academic tome. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History is like a PhD reading list in a single volume, but it is also approachable and--wonderful to relate--great fun to read. --William Newbigging

From Booklist

The purpose of this wide-ranging guide is to provide "the basic details of the main events, institutions, places and people in Canada's past." Editor Hallowell is a former senior editor of Canadian history at the University of Toronto Press.

The Companion's impressive 1,654 entries, the work of more than 500 mostly academic subject experts, are arranged alphabetically and range in length from a few sentences to two pages. Cross-referencing is indicated by asterisks within entries. In addition to the A-Z articles, the book contains a precise index; lists of monarchs, governors general, prime ministers, and provincial premiers; and the words of the national anthems. Text is complemented by ten basic maps, five depicting the historical settlement of Canada and five identifying geographic locations.

The entries cover several major subject areas, including politics and the constitution, industry and the economy, education and religion, law, medicine and science, transportation, and social and cultural history and effectively reflect the regional, linguistic, and cultural diversity of Canada. For example, there are several excellent articles devoted to Canada's aboriginal peoples. In addition, there are extensive articles related to the nation's "founding peoples," the French and British. Finally, there are entries discussing other key groups, including Jews and Chinese and African Canadians. Other entries cover common Canadian topics such as Anne of Green Gables, Fur trade, Hockey, and peacekeeping.

This is an excellent entry point into Canadian history, although it should be noted that treatment of topics is deliberately brief and, because of space constraints, there are no suggested readings or a bibliography of sources. The volume will be particularly useful as a quick reference for users who are already very familiar with Canadian history. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers may need to refer to The Canadian Encyclopedia (McClelland & Stewart, 2000) for further details. Nevertheless, the Companion is highly recommended for all Canadian libraries, as well as any U.S. library near the Canadian border or supporting Canadian history or Canadian studies programs. Michelle Hendley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OXFORD COMPANION TO CND HISTOR Dec 19 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent reference text written in dictionay-style. The topics are presented as straight information withut comment. Hence, it serves best those who already know what they are looking for and a jumping off point for further critical study. WRC Harvey, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy
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