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True Newfoundlanders

Iram Khan

true Newfoundlanders, is the second book in the projected series of four books on homes and families of Atlantic Canada. This volume attempts to document the rich social history of Newfoundland and Labrador through the houses, churches, and lighthouses that have marked and continue to shape the landscape.

true newfoundlanders From the time John Cabot arrived at Bonavista to the beginnings of the 20th century, McBurney and Byers introduce readers to Newfoundland and Labrador's colourful merchants, sealers, fishermen, soldiers, lighthouse keepers, doctors, lawyers, and politicians through the buildings that were at the centre of these people's lives.

Newfoundland and Labrador's social history covers over five centuries, which unfortunately makes it difficult for one to squeeze into two hundred pages. Reading this book is like being caught in a whirlwind; readers get very short glimpses into characters and buildings, and if they are not paying very close attention, it's easy to get lost.

The writing, too, is strained from this bulk of history the authors are trying to present. Although one expects crisp, factual writing in a historical text, the writing here is missing out on the emotions that many social history texts take advantage of. These are real people with real struggles and dreams, and they are not given the respectful coverage that they demand.

True Newfoundlanders does, though, give you a little taste that forces you into wanting more. It is too bad that the whole series that this book belongs to will not cover Newfoundland and Labrador again, instead moving on to the rest of Atlantic Canada.

published by boston mill press
ISBN 1-55046-199-0

Iram Khan is a frequent correspondent on educational issues

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