Review: The Elusive Mr Pond, Barry Gough

Rating: 2 out of 5

Oh Peter, Oh Peter Pond, what a figure you are… Mr Gough’s work makes you sound like a misunderstood choir boy who never meant anyone any harm while the entire rest of the world was out to get you — while another book that covered some of your exploits noted you as the voyageur dangereux, whose companions and associates suffered accidents perhaps a bit too often.  Continue reading “Review: The Elusive Mr Pond, Barry Gough”

Review: A History of Canada in Ten Maps, Adam Shoalts

Rating: 4 out of 5

I enjoyed this throughout though it kind of also missed out on what it said it would be. The stories presented — about the explorers and voyageurs — were well worth the space on the paper, but throughout the entire book the maps were more of a secondary thought. This could have been ‘A History of Canada in Ten Episodes’ and the difference would have been immaterial.  Continue reading “Review: A History of Canada in Ten Maps, Adam Shoalts”

Review: Don’t Tell the Newfoundlanders, Greg Malone

Rating: 5 out of 5

Politics can be shocking, and especially so lately — no matter where one is around the world. A little more interesting, therefore, is that the same was the case in the past. Namely, in the middle of World War 2, the main participants of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States ostensibly decided the fate of the former Dominion of Newfoundland without giving a proper say to the people of the region.  Continue reading “Review: Don’t Tell the Newfoundlanders, Greg Malone”

Review: This Sceptred Isle: Empire, Vol. 2, Christopher Lee

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is a superb overview of the problems and successes of the British in about a hundred years after the beginning of the 19th century. India is covered in depth up to the point of Victoria being made Empress, and the story also presents one of the most factual investigations of the Indian Mutiny that’s still very comprehensible.

However, what I liked unutterably more than the question of what was covered was the tone with which it was done. The most memorable phrase mentioned in this volume — to me — was “The British sometimes enjoy being spiteful to their heroes.” This, coming after countless descriptions of men and women who performed their uttermost to help both people they belonged to as well as treat everyone equally and honestly, was a crushing but ultimately truthful statement.

Other stories covered herein, such as that of Mungo Park, illustrate the complacency and backwardness of these would-be imperialists. And, overall, a lot of the injustices done by the British in their various locations come through very well here as the author has also quoted plenty of modern historians from those places, offering insights other histories (especially concerning India) have not done as well.

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