Non-fiction

Category: Non-fiction

I was introduced to Jackspeak when I began my 26-year naval career in HMCS CHIPPAWA on July 1st, 1980. I quickly learned my training base was called a stone frigate, floors were decks, the ceiling was a deckhead, walls were bulkheads, and the upper ridge of my boot sole was called catwalks.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. As a historian, it seemed like a natural extension of the work I had already completed, and the next step towards advancing my career. But, after finishing my dissertation, my enthusiasm for writing a book on the topic I had just spent the previous four years researching and writing about had faded. I no longer wanted to write about how black bears in Ontario were hunted, or how the regulatory process that governed these activities had changed over the years.

Many Canadians are increasingly nervous about venturing south of the border these days. Some on principle, others fearing that US border thugs may ask if they have ever smoked pot. Besides, Canada has such a vast array of amazing and unusual world-famous attractions, why would we? We have famous train excursions, as well as some of the most recognized fossil sites and Indigenous heritage features. UNESCO has designated an increasing number of heritage sites and biosphere reserves across the country.

Since the Boer War, cyclists had been used on the battlefield as light cavalry responsible for reconnaissance, scouting, screening, and communications. The thinking was that the “act of dismounting deprived a cavalry unit of the services of the men detailed to care for the horses. As one man could only manage four horses or so, the transition from saddle to boot cost a cavalry unit some 25 percent of its rifle strength.

The Irish immigrants who made homes for themselves in mid Canada during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are the subject of my latest book. They achieved extraordinary success. Feats of physical endurance were commonplace. Their pioneering achievements were phenomenal, but, because so much attention has been given in recent times to the suffering the Irish experienced during the Great Irish Famine of 1847, their story has not been told properly.

 

September 4, 2018―Dundurn Press is thrilled that four outstanding Dundurn titles have been nominated for the Heritage Toronto Award for Historical Writing. Don Mills by Scott Kennedy, The Great Gould by Peter Goddard, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern by David McPherson, and The Toronto Book of the Dead by Adam Bunch all made the list and are in great company with the other nominated titles.

 

As a youngster I was thrilled by the adventures of Jim Hawkins in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, but never gave too much attention to the real nature and history of pirates, even as I went on with my education and eventually became a museum director. The sea, however, has always been a fascination for me, and I answered that interest by being commissioned in the Naval Reserve and doing a fair amount of sailing as a crew member on “tall ships” on the Great Lakes, the Caribbean, and even across the Pacific to Hawaii.

I was invited to attend the British Home Child Reunion on July 22, 2018, in Kitchener, Ontario to launch my new book, Marjorie Her War Years: A British Home Child in Canada. The event was organized by Lori Oschefski of the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association. It was held at the Waterloo Region Museum.

 

Reunion: the act or process of being brought together again as a unified whole.

 

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