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Crean, Susan.

Toronto, Stoddart, c1985, 350pp, paperbound boards, $24.95, ISBN 0-7737-0081-1. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Catherine Greede

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

In her opening acknowledgements, Susan Crean expresses the hope that her compilation of profiles of significant women in the history of Canadian journalism will match the "grit and passion" of the people whom she portrays. The book fails to live up to Crean's hope for an exciting, stimulating work, but it is an informative, occasionally fascinating overview of the many varied women whose collective efforts have led to the current success stories of such women as Barbara Frum and Adrienne Clarkson.

Crean, herself a journalist, has created, through a combination of historical account and personal interview, a book which is much needed to fill the gap of information regarding a century of women in journalism in Canada. While the book is loosely connected, and sometimes relies a little too heavily on lengthy quotes from those profiled, it is a very useful source-book. The most interesting segments are the longer profiles which analyze character more fully, like those of Jan Tennant and Barbara Frum in the chapter The Evening Stars." These portraits make clear the strength of personality needed to succeed in a world where women have always been present but little recognized.

Crean offers a valid interpretation of the great importance of the former female enclave, the "Women's Page," and reveals how the changing nature of women's issues has allowed women to become more powerful and to break out of the restrictions imposed upon them both by society and the media world itself. Crean refrains from extensive analysis or comment, but she makes clear that while every woman she profiles has been very different from the others, all women in journalism have been pioneers in one way or another. It is this understanding which makes clear her own justifiable excitement about her field. A good resource for senior level high school and post secondary students.

Catherine Greede, Windsor, Ont.
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