Canadian Studies: History

Véhicule Press presents 10 titles on Canadian and Quebec history--ranging from the French Canadian guides on the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Montreal Jazz scene; from the Titanic disaster to the Jewish war orphans of WWII, these are the stories
that have affected Canada and the world.

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America: The Lewis & Clark Expedition and the Dawn of a New Power
Ed. Denis Vaugeois - Trans. Jane Brierley

Did you know Lewis & Clark's interpreters and guides were Canadian?

Denis Vaugeois writes not only of the principal actors in this continent-wide drama, but of the humble or obscure people, and the Native Americans without whom the expedition wouldn't have succeeded.

As in a documentary, Vaugeois also gives readers background to the exploration, including of the role of the French-Canadian explorers, guides and interpreters, with their long experience of the wilderness and Native American tribes. Informative, engaging, and eminently readable, this book recreates the world of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It is amply illustrated with reproductions of carefully researched prints, drawings of people and places, maps, photographs, portraits, coins, and medallions.

Swinging in Paradise: The Story of Jazz in Montreal
by John Gilmore
For other jazz titles, visit our jazz site

For almost half a century, more jazz was made in Montreal than anywhere else in Canada. Here are the lives, the music, and the concerns of the musicians who made the city swing--among them Myron Sutton, Willy Girard, Johnny Holmes, Oscar Peterson, Louis Metcalf, Steep Wade, Maury Kaye, and René Thomas.

Here too is the story of Montreal after dark, from the silent movies, vaudeville theatres and dance pavillions to the nightclubs with names like the Montmartre, the Chez Paree, the St. Michel, and Paradise.

"The book enthralled me from start to finish. An impressive piece of social history." - Jazz Journal (UK)

The Passionate Debate: The Social and Politcal Ideas of Quebec Nationalism 1920-1945
by Michael Oliver

"An in-depth study of Quebec nationalism. It offers an insight to the thinking of an open-minded, left-wing, English-Canadian activist as he tried to come to terms with Quebec nationalist thinking."

- Canadian Journal of Political Science

Titanic: The Canadian Story
by Alan Hustak

This is the untold saga of the 130 passengers aboard the ill-fated luxury liner who were bound for Canada.

Author Alan Hustak's chronicles are more poignant than fiction, such as the tale of Quigg Baxter, the young Montreal hockey player who risked all to smuggle his Belgian fiancée aboard, the Fortune family from Winnipeg which failed to heed a clairvoyant's warning; and Harry Markland Molson, the richest Canadian aboard who was persuaded by Toronto millionaire Arthur Peuchen to extend his stay in England and sail home with him on the Titanic. Hustak discloses the scandalous behaviour of second class passenger Joseph Fynney and tells of the young honeymooners Bert and Vera Dick of Calgary who started an enduring legend about the disaster. Some books insist the Titanic's last victim, found in a lifeboat a month after the disaster, was from New Jersey; others say he was from Chicago. In fact he was Thomson Beattie of Winnipeg.

These stories and others have been overlooked or ignored by American and British historians and enthusiasts who have written about the Titanic.

They Were So Young: Montrealers Remember World War II
Ed. Patricia Burns - Foreword by Desmond Morton

These stories of young men and women who served in the army, navy and air force illustrate the raw courage, youthful bravado, and sacrifice needed to defeat a powerful enemy. Some served on the home front; others, who returned from the theatre of war, were never the same again. Moving accounts from family members of veterans' sons, daughters, wives and siblings —reveal the price they also paid in this most horrible war.

We meet a young bride who spent her first three wedding anniversaries alone while her husband languished in the POW camp, Stalag Luft III, and took part in the doomed escape which was made into the movie, The Great Escape; a ship's stoker who feared not being able to escape a torpedo attack which would mean either instant death or a horrible death by scalding; the daring pilot who became a priest after the war; a young woman who joined the air force and realized that its motto, "We Serve That Men May Fly" really meant "We Serve That Men May Die"; a nurse who unknowingly skied in a minefield in Italy, and a soldier's account of the Dieppe raid of August 19, 1942--the costliest day in Canada's military history

The Strangest Dream: Canadian Communists, the Spy Trials, and the Cold War
by Merrily Weisbord

The Strangest dream, one of the most eloquent books written about Canadian communists is available to readers once again. A new preface and additional material written for this edition includes impassioned responses to the first edition and describes current events which are eerily reminiscent of the red-baiting of an earlier time.

"A generation of radicals comes to life in their own words."
- Rick Salutin

Open Your Hearts: The Story of the Jewish War Orphans in Canada
by Fradie Martz
For more Jewish interest titles, visit our Jewish studies site

Open Your Hearts tells the story of the 1,123 Jewish war orphans which the Canadian government reluctantly allowed into Canada from 1947 to 1949.

In the cavernous reception area of Pier 21 in Halifax on a gray September day in 1947, a group of men and women waited for the first twenty Jewish orphans who had survived the Holocaust in hiding or in concentration and labour camps. They were allowed into Canada under the terms of a unique federal order-in-council. This was not only the beginning point of their new lives, but also the culmination of years of work by Canadians across the country. No one knew, given the terrible traumas these young people had endured, what to expect; no one knew the extent of the kindness and generosity which awaited them in Canada.

Despite the Odds: Essays on Canadian Women and Science
Edited by Marianne G. Ainley

Despite the Odds is the first book to address the status of Canadian women in the sciences from a historical and contemporary perspective. Essays on women in medicine, sociology, pharmacy and the natural sciences provide insights about our pioneer women scientists. Contemporary concerns are examined such as the career goals of female science students, gender separatism, and feminist research into genetic hazards in the workplace.

"An informative and thought-provoking introduction to the situation in Canada, past and present."
- American Review of Canadian Studies

Lasting Impressions: A Short History of English Publishing in Quebec
by Bruce Whiteman

With illustrations and text, spanning 230 years, Lasting Impressions chronicles the history of English-language publishing in Quebec.
It wasn't until after the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which brought the Seven Years War between France and England to an end, that a printer came to Quebec. William Brown and his partner Thomas Gilmore arrived in Quebec City from Philadelphia in 1764. And so began a long tradition of publishing in Quebec.

Poet and scholar, Bruce Whiteman is Head of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Libraries.

The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal
by Dorothy Williams

Blacks have always been a part of the Québec experience-from the original European explorations to enslavement, from Confederation to the present day. Dorothy Williams returns to the roots of black history by chronicling slavery in Montreal, which lasted officially in New France for seventy-one years. The author describes the impact of the railways on Montreal's black community and charts the evolution of the black community's institutions.

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