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Broadfoot, Barry.

Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, c1986. 255pp, cloth, $22.95, ISBN 0-88894-519-1, CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Iyvan Michalchyshyn

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

Barry Broadfoot, using his now familiar approach, has written yet another tome about a particular Canadian time period. He has chosen a very interesting subject in the post-war migrations to Canada. This subject has received very little attention from scholars and popular writers in this country. In preparing this, his latest effort, Broadfoot has interviewed British and European immigrants across Canada in order to discover their thoughts on a range of topics, including discrimination, exploitation, language, and job difficulties, as well as their reactions to the Canadian people and geography.

As a popular Canadian chronicler, Broadfoot has perhaps allowed the technique to tire. Each chapter has a brief, but interesting introduction, and as a reviewer, I found these more absorbing than the interviews, which at times are poorly selected and placed. It is the task of the oral historian to expose the common people's story. The exposure in this book, though, is narrow and superficial, because of Broadfoot's, faulty selection and placement of the testimonies. When Ten Lost Years (Doubleday, 1975) and Six War Years (Doubleday, 1974) appeared, they had a crispness and definition that are lacking in this book.

Aside from these criticisms, this book is easily read and would be of some interest to a general readership. Teachers might find portions useful as a good introduction to modern migrations and related issues, but they will have to supplement, as this is only a general treatment. Those interviewed have given Broadfoot many experiences of which Canadians today are ignorant. If we are to really understand this country, we ought also to know about the daily lives of the many people who endured, rather than instigated, the events of which we so often read in books. Broadfoot has with this book at least given some indication of the complexity of the task.

Iyvan Michalchyshyn, Gordon Bell H.S., Winnipeg, Man.
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