what i'm reading: pierre berton

I was about to start Pierre Berton's The Last Spike, the second of two books he wrote about the building of the trans-Canadian railroad. Then, wandering into the library - the central Mississauga library is directly across from the Y where I'm swimming! - I spied a hard-cover copy of the first railroad book on sale for $2.00, and in excellent condition. Serendipity. So I've just begun The National Dream.

The full titles are The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 and The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885. The second half of the 19th Century is one of my favourites, and perhaps the historical period I know the most about. My good background in what was going on in Britain and the US at the same time will help - but Canadian history is 100% new to me.

Good historians pull together all the many threads that contribute to their story, and the story of the railroad seems to take in all of Canada. So far it's very good reading.


Dalee Lama said...

I'm a Canadian, and I still find Canadian history boring. You're already a better Canadian than I.

laura k said...

Well, I love history. There's very little history I would find boring. Many history writers are boring, but that's a different problem. :)

Scott M. said...

If you can ever get your hands upon the hour-long radio series "Journey to the 21st Century", voiced by Doug Lennox (a SoundSource Radio produciton), it is most assuredly the most entertaining (thrilling at times!) and elightening view of modern Canadian history ever presented outside of print. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of those amazing hour-long episodes (which, in one episode, could made your spine tingle, eyes tear up, hair stand on end and cause you to laugh uncontrollably). He does, however, do 2 minute epsiodes to this day... check out: http://www.douglennox.com/radio2.htm

As well, if you're looking for "Accessible History", look no further than the Rick Green (yes, Bill from Red Green) show called "History Bites" (http://www.historybites.com). By far the most entertaining look at ancient history I've ever run across. The basic premise is this: what would happen if the 200 channel universe existed during that time?

Both absolutely amazing, and entertaining, looks at history. Must hear/watch.

laura k said...

Hi Scott M! I finally saw a bit of History Bites yesterday (while folding laundry - a good time to watch TV), after many mentions from the wmtc crowd. I really enjoyed it. I'd love to see more, if I could figure out when the hell it's on. I guess I'll check the CBC site for listings.

The "Journey" radio series sounds amazing. I'm a better reader than I am listener, but that sounds really remarkable.

Thank you!

shane said...

I must say your blog, is a very entertaining read. In regards to Pierre Berton, have you seen the video of him showing Canadians how to roll a good joint? It is a very funny video, and just goes to show what a great guy he was, he had a wonderful sense of humour.


laura k said...

Thank you Shane! I have seen that video, courtesy of other wmtc-ers. It is priceless. And for me it was very unexpected!

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words about this blog. A long time ago, we used to see a band called The Shane Gang. Your name brings back memories.