Author Archives: lbujold

Discover the Library’s IdeaMILL !

After years of anticipation, the makerspace of the Winnipeg Public Library, named the IdeaMILL, is now finally open!  The ideaMILL makerspace, located on the 3rd floor of the Millennium Library, offers community access to new and emerging technologies in a collaborative space.

Makerspaces in libraries allow members of the library’s community to gain access to tools, software and mentorship that can help take creative ideas and turn them into real products or prototypes.

You may not know how to use some of the tools and equipment available, but there are plenty of books that will help you familiarize yourself with them and get you started on your own maker projects.

Cover image for The big book of makerspace projects : inspiring makers to experiment, create, and learn   Cover image for 63 ready-to-use maker projects

Makerspace projects books

These titles are all about inspiring readers to experiment with a wide variety of projects and are ideal for anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with the concept of the makerspace and its possibilities.

Cover image for Getting started with 3D printing : a hands-on guide to the hardware, software, and services behind the new manufacturing revolution   Cover image for Make: 3D printing projects

3-Dimensional Printing

A popular feature of the IdeaMILL is the ability to crate objects – from the most basic memento to complex models – using 3-D printing technology.  These books will introduce the technology and steps required to make your own objects, and offer 3-d printing projects for both beginners and experts, with step-by-step instructions.

Cover image for Digital photography : an introduction    Image result for The green screen makerspace project book todd

Digital Photography  and Video Recording

Using a digital camera and the green screen available in the space, customers can create their own photography or movie projects, complete with sophisticated effects.  These guides will offer project ideas with detailed instructions.

 

Cover image for Makerspace sound and music projects for all ages  Cover image for The singer-songwriter's guide to recording in the home studio

Sound Recording

The IdeaMILL is equipped with two bookable sound recording booths, allowing anyone to record and edit their own songs using high-quality equipment.  The library has books to teach you how to effectively use sound recording and learn the steps of the recording and editing process.

Cover image for Knitting with beads made easy : simple techniques, handy shortcuts, and 60 fabulous projects  Cover image for Home robotics : maker-inspired projects for building your own robots

Crafting

For those who need a space reserved for working on their crafting projects, a crafting area with sewing machines, button makers and more are available in the IdeaMILL.  If you need ideas for a knitting project, we have a large selection of books on all types of crafts from knitting, sewing and even robot-making.

Come and check it out, the ideaMILL is open to customers of all ages, and is accessible during Millennium Library’s standard opening hours.

Louis-Philippe

 

What to Watch on Kanopy?

The Winnipeg Public Library recently started offering access to a new streaming service for films and documentaries, so I decided to check out this new resource.  In addition to documentaries, Kanopy offers a wide selection of international as well as Hollywood movies.

Here are some of my favourite titles so far:

The King’s Choice is a Norwegian film based on the incredible-but-true events surrounding the period of April 9-11, 1940.  When Nazi forces invaded Norway, King Haakon VII was faced with an ultimatum: accede to the demand to surrender his country without resistance, or support the continued resistance of his government and escape the country into exile.  For two days, the king and his family were pursued by the invading German army through the Norwegian countryside. They shared the fear and uncertainty of their countrymen as their towns and cities experienced a new kind of war and then four years of occupation.

In Manchester By The Sea a depressed man, Lee Chandler, must face his painful past when he reluctantly returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his brother.  Upon arrival, he finds that he has been made sole guardian to his teenage nephew. This is a realistic look at the personal cost of guilt with very flawed characters who are struggling with addictions and crushing grief, and yet they must find a way to carry on with the daily tasks and responsibilities of life.

   

In Brooklyn, a young Irish woman immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950’s in the hopes of finding new opportunities. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. When family circumstances back home require her to return unexpectedly, she is faced with deciding between two countries – her home and family in the old world and the life she built with the man she loves waiting for her in the new.  Besides the great acting by Saoirse Ronan, the period reconstitution is also excellent, and the story reflects the journey that so many have done and continue to do so today.

     
Le Samourai is a mix of “1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture.”  Alain Delon (one of France’s top actors of all time) plays a contract killer with samurai instincts in 1960’s Paris.  If you have watched and loved The Professional or Ghost Dog, you can now see the movie that undoubtedly inspired both.  John Costello is a contract killer that works according to his own personal code, surviving against both law enforcement and the criminal world by being a loner.  What happens when you are forced to let someone into your life – will it save or destroy you?

I had heard of the Italian movie classic The Bicycle Thieves many times before, but thanks to Kanopy, this was my chance to finally see it.  In postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation and escape from poverty for his desperate family.  Putting posters on walls may be a modest job, so when the bicycle which is needed for his work is stolen, he sets off to track down the thief with his son in tow.  An increasingly desperate quest to save their future.

Another classic from the silent cinema era is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,  now available fully restored and with the original orchestral score.  The film takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground while slaving away maintaining nightmarish machinery, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor.  Will the love of two people from those separate worlds be enough to bridge the divide?  This was the first time that a humanoid robot was featured on film, and it’s visuals would inspire science-fiction work up to this day.
What about you, what would you recommend?
Louis-Philippe

1968: Remembering a Year that Shook the World

Cover image for 1968

We have reached the 50th anniversary of one of the most tumultuous years of the 20th century, with many events happening across the globe that helped shape the world we live in. 1968 has often been characterised as a year of painful transition, revolt and chaos, with post-World War II youth of the West finding their voice and demanding change from what they saw as a corrupt and unjust establishment amidst a background of war and revolts brewing all over the globe. Winnipeg Public Library has plenty of material for those interested in learning about or remembering the important events that marked the year.

Cover image for Trudeaumania : the rise to power of Pierre Elliot Trudeau

In Canada, 1968 saw the implementation of Medicare laws, and the growing protests in Quebec in favour of independence from the rest of the country, which would culminate in the FLQ Crisis two years later. This was also the year Pierre Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, and his personal appeal to wide swaths of Canadian society (notably the younger generation) would coin the term “Trudeaumania.” Robert Wright’s recent book Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau chronicles the phenomenon while also trying to correct some of the myths and over-simplifications surrounding the election that started his 15 years as Prime Minister of Canada. Like John F. Kennedy in the States, Trudeau’s appeal was a mix of personal charisma and strength of conviction (skillfully wielded through his televised appearances), but even then, the author notes, he only won the Liberal party leadership by a slim majority and the Liberals won the election with 45.5 percent of the popular vote against relatively weak opponents (Conservative Robert Stanfield and Tommy Douglas of the NDP). Wright credits Trudeau’s lasting appeal on his pragmatic policies that he implemented to fight for a Canada that was unified (in direct opposition to Rene Levesque’s sovereignist movement), modern and multicultural.

Image result for vietnam war ken burns Cover image for The odyssey of Echo Company : the 1968 Tet Offensive and the epic battle to survive the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War reached its peak in 1968 and its effects were felt globally, with movements both for and against the involvement of the U.S. military spreading all over the world.  (Canada became a safe haven for thousands of Americans seeking to avoid the draft, while at the same time hundreds of Canadians volunteered in the U.S. army to fight in Vietnam.) The recently released documentary The Vietnam War (both the DVD series and companion book) produced by the always-excellent Ken Burns is one of the best retrospectives of this grim conflict. Both the book and the 10-part DVD series are filled with testimonials from survivors from all sides who took part in the conflict, on the battlefield or on the homefront, and they offer not only their memories but also reflections on how the conflict has changed them fifty years later. It is highly recommended for those interested in a fresh, introspective look into this not-so distant part of history.

The odyssey of Echo Company : the 1968 Tet Offensive and the epic battle to survive the Vietnam War by journalist and author Doug Stanton is the account of a platoon from the American 101st Airborne Division fighting for survival during this campaign. Through the author’s narrative, you follow Stan Parker from his humble childhood as a son of an itinerant ironworker to his experiences in Vietnam and his return home. Stanton captures the loyalty and camaraderie of infantrymen as well as the very dark and desperate fighting that occurred, and the psychological wounds that men like Parker had to quietly bear in the years that followed.
Cover image for The plot to kill King : the truth behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  Cover image for "R.F.K. must die!" : chasing the mystery of the Robert Kennedy assassination
In addition to the war overseas, American society was being fractured along multiple lines as it had not been since the Civil War a century ago. Racial violence erupted in multiple cities, along with large-scale street protests. 1968 was also a year marred with the assassinations of two great figures of American politics. Martin Luther King, minister and activist in the Civil Rights movement against the racial oppression of African-Americans was shot in Memphis on April 4th. King’s death led to burning and rioting in 30 US cities prompting the mobilization of National Guard units to restore civilian control and order. The result was thousands of arrests and at least 39 dead and large-scale destruction throughout the Unites States. On June 5th, barely two months later, Robert Kennedy, younger brother of the slain president, was murdered during a campaign rally in Los Angeles, ending the hopes of millions who saw in him an heir to his brother’s political legacy and re-shaping the American election.
Cover image for Playing with fire : the 1968 election and the transformation of American politics
The death of RFK was just one part of the story of one of the most tumultuous elections in U.S. history, one that echoes to our present political climate and its excesses. Writer and TV host Lawrence O’Donnell has recently published Playing with fire : the 1968 election and the transformation of American politics, a detailed history of this pivotal electoral campaign that saw several strong contenders from both party fight not only to unite their own fractured parties, but also a fractured nation rocked with riots and protests. The book tells how Richard Nixon managed to win despite his  opponent’s initial lead through skillful use of the media (aided by Roger Ailes, future CEO of Fox News), promising to bring peace in Vietnam “with honor”, and the splintering of the old Democratic party during its national convention. Though the author does not hide his partisan bias, this is still a well-researched history told in an easy to read style.
Cover image for Apollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon

In a more hopeful conclusion after a year marred by much violence and rancor, the end of 1968 also saw the first manned spacecraft, Apollo 8, to travel and orbit around the moon, paving the way for Neil Armstrong’s voyage a year later.

Jeffrey Kluger’s Apollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon takes us from Mission Control to the astronauts’ homes, and the race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey that made the dream of setting foot on the moon seem within reach practically overnight.
Much more was happening in the world that year: the Communist world was convulsing under the Prague Spring uprising and the Cultural Revolution in China was at its height.  Planet of the Apes and 2001: Space Odyssey were released in movie theaters.
What will you remember 1968 for?
Louis-Philippe

Ukrainians in Canada

Ukrainian Canadian Pioneer Experience Display

On now until February 15 Journey to Canada: Ukrainian Immigration Experiences 1891-1900 is a large panel exhibit at the Millennium Library (fourth floor) featuring the early period of Ukrainians on the Canadian prairies.

The exhibit chronicles experiences arriving in a new land, setting up temporary settlements and then constructing homes, churches, and communities. This first wave of Ukrainian immigration is retold through photographs, documents and early narratives.

Local History Room Display Ukraine

Be sure to pick up a copy of our Ukrainian Canadians search guide to help find more information about this topic and browse through the many items in our Local History Room and the rest of our collection.

The display is sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council and was created by the Kule Centre for Ukrainian Folklore at the University of Alberta.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Dauphin Manitoba

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Dauphin, Manitoba.
Source: The Rob McInnes Postcard Collection , Winnipeg Public Library’s PastForward: Winnipeg’s Digital Public History            

 

We look forward to having people drop by!

Monique

 

What’s New in the Local History Room?

The Holiday season is upon us and among the new titles that have arrived in the Local History Room collection, we have a very special treat for history fans.

Cover image for Manitoba at Christmas : holiday memories in the keystone province

is an anthology of stories from by and all about how Christmas was celebrated by Manitobans from the earliest Christmas recorded in the days of exploration before the establishment of the Red River colony to the 21st century.  From simple rituals, like a toast while sharing memories of absent families in pioneer times, the observance of Christmas evolved and grew more elaborate as the years passed and different cultures added their own traditions: church services, family reunions, ever-growing street parades and decorated storefronts.  The sights, sounds and smells of Manitoba at Christmas left happy memories which one can re-visit in the pages of this book: visiting Toyland at the Eaton’s store, sharing letters and stories with family in rural Manitoba on Christmas morning, or preparing a concert at a school to be attended by Fraserwood’s entire community.  In darker times, it was a time to hold on to hope: Margaret Owen, one of the featured authors, talks about how during the Christmas of 1941, her family waited to hear news about her father, a POW for several years after being captured during the defence of Hong Kong.  In addition to fun anecdotes, personal stories, great historical photographs and illustrations, the book also contains holiday recipes, for example a vinarterta, a traditional Icelandic layered Christmas cake .
Golden Boys
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the NHL, Ty Dilello’s Golden boys : the Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time, offers us a look at fifty players that have shaped the history of hockey in Manitoba. Featuring detailed biographies that were extensively researched, interviews both past and present, rare photographs and never-been-told-before stories, this is a must for both fans of local sports or those interested in Manitoba’s history in general.  While some of the names included are obvious choices: greats like Jonathan Toews, Andy Bathgate, Ron Hextall and Bobby Clarke, this is also valuable if you are curious about less-well known players like Bones Raleigh (his poetry was reviewed in the New York Times) or Dan Bain (he played and won some of the earliest Stanley Cups in the 19th century), or Terry Sawchuk (best goaler and crowned #1 player overall by Dilello).
agassiz cover

Were you aware that not too long ago, existed a lake so large it could easily have swallowed our present Great Lakes?  Lake Agassiz was an enormous glacial lake that covered a large chunk of the North American landscape between 14,000 and 8,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age.  This is the story that Bill Redekop wanted to explore when he started writing Lake Agassiz: the Rise and Demise of the World’s Greatest Lake.  Born of the melting ice that had covered North America for millennia, Lake Agassiz was a force of nature for 6,000 years. Its story is one of superlatives: inconceivable tsunamis that bored through solid rock; tributary torrents that gouged huge valleys, and colossal outpourings that created a mini-ice age in Europe.  The book is extensively researched and shows readers the “footprint” that Lake Agassiz left all over the prairie provinces (as well as some American states): from remnants of beaches nowhere near bodies of water, to valleys that were formed by retreating glaciers and left as remnants Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipegosis as we know them today.

Cover image for Out of old Manitoba kitchens
Out of Old Manitoba kitchens by Christine Hanlon is the story of the people and the food they prepared by melding recipes, photographs and narratives of its earliest cooks, including the Indigenous people, Selkirk Settlers and first homesteaders. From wild rice to perogies, smoked goldeye to tourtière, one can find a blend of pioneer cuisine dating back to the fur trade and beyond. See how wave after wave of immigration brought with them their own recipes.  This book is a great read for those who enjoy history, good food, and memories of food prepared on the campfire, the hearth and the cast iron stove, from the trails of the buffalo hunt to the outdoor kitchens of the early settlers.
Cover image for The North End revisited
Finally, John Paskievich’s excellent photography book has just been re-published with an extra 80 photographs chronicling the history and transformation of his native neighbourhood from the 1970’s up to the present.  The North End Revisited also contains interviews with the author exploring different aspects of his work  in chronicling the stories of ordinary Winnipeggers from a very special community.
In the fun read  Snacks: A Canadian Food Historylocal historian Janis Thiessen profiles several iconic Canadian snack food companies, including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and chocolatier Ganong.  These companies have developed in distinctive ways, reflecting the unique stories of their founders and their intense connection to specific places.  These stories of salty or sweet confections also reveal a history that is at odds with popular notions of ‘junk food.’  Through over 60 interviews and archival research, Thiessen uncovers the roots of our deep loyalties to different snack foods, what it means to be an independent snack food producer, and the often-quirky ways snacks have been created and marketed, like the “Kids Bids” local TV program where children bid for prizes using empty Old Dutch chips bags.
-Louis-Philippe

What’s New in the Local History Room?

This fall, the Winnipeg Public Library is proud to be a partnering with The World Remembers organization by hosting an electronic display of names in the Local History Room. This is part of a nation-wide act of remembrance and commemoration of the men and women who died a century ago during the First World War.

The World Remembers is a non-profit company based in Toronto whose sole purpose is to build and facilitate The World Remembers project.

The ongoing project began in 2014 by displaying, for one minute starting on October 15th and ending on November 11th, the names of everyone killed in the conflict in 1914, and repeating the process the following years.  The World Remembers organization displays the names of those soldiers who died in World War 1 so that people not only remember these fallen soldiers but honor these shared histories.   The monitor screen set up in the Local History Room shows a continuous loop of the names of soldiers killed in war in 1917. This display will end on November 11th and will display more than 661,800 names of soldiers who lost their lives from UK, Canada, France, Germany, the US, Turkey, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, China and the former British Indian Army.  This display will also be running simultaneously at other organizations (libraries, schools, and universities).

Here are the locations of the schools, cities, libraries, museums and other groups that are presenting The World Remembers names display.

If you are interested in finding a specific individual whose name will be displayed, you can search the TWR database here and find out at the exact day and time it will come up.

There is also a book display set up near The World Remembers display for those interested in learning more about the First World War.  Come and have a look.

-Louis-Philippe

The Business of War: The Canadian Home Front in the First World War

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The Winnipeg Public Library is hosting a new traveling exhibit created by the Canadian Centre for the Great War open to the general public at the Millennium Library.  The exhibit “The Business of War: Canadian Businesses and the First World War” is located on the 4th floor and is about Canada’s wartime mobilization on the home front. Its panels explore how Canadian businesses large and small aided the war effort by supplying goods and helping to lift people’s spirits and raise money in order to keep support our troops and the overall Allied cause.  While warfare throughout the ages always required soldiers fighting on battlefields, the First World War also came to require of Canadians an unprecedented mobilization of all their resources and that is where the term “home front” was coined.  Library materials related to the exhibit are displayed as well so you can further your knowledge about this topic.

Image result for The Great War and Canadian Society: An Oral History  Cover image for Hometown horizons : local responses to Canada's Great War

One of the library’s older (published in 1978) but valuable title that is filled with personal accounts of this time period is The Great War and Canadian Society: An Oral History.  The book was written when Canadians who had lived through that time were still able to provide a living link to our history and the testimonies included come from people from all walks of life, ages, and locations.  I definitely recommend it for those interested in reading about men and women’s experiences in wartime Canada.
In Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War, historian Robert Rutherdale has chosen three Canadian towns (Lethbridge, Alberta, Guelph, Ontario, and Trois-Rivières, Quebec) in order to explore the local social history of the war, and how it affected these communities in different ways.  The demonizing of potential “enemy aliens” and other subversive forces is explored in Lethbridge as one internment camp was built there, as well as local citizens’ reactions to its presence.  The Conscription Crisis where efforts of Canadians to avoid being drafted resulted in aggressive raids to collect draft dodgers is explored in Guelph.  The rift that developed between returning veterans’ experiences on the front versus the second-hand and heavily censored portrayal made available on the home front is also explored, as well as the break with the past the war had on many aspects of life, notably on the role of women in the work force.
Cover image for Fight or pay : soldiers' families in the Great War
Desmond Morton’s book Fight or pay : soldiers’ families in the Great War is about those who were left to carry on when sons and husbands were sent overseas to fight and how the government’s early efforts to create a safety net were spurred by war’s traumatic impact on the home front. It’s often overlooked that the conflict ended up costing lives at home as well as the front as numerous families lost their main provider and had to rely on charity (such as the Patriotic Fund) and limited military pensions from Ottawa at a time where attitudes toward such support was quite negative.  It also heralded a new reality where both the state and private philanthropists were managing family decisions that had never been their business before.   This book will be of interest to those wanting to increase their understanding of the issues that faced the families and the fighting men in 1914-1918.

Cover image for Firing lines : three Canadian women write the First World War

Firing lines : three Canadian women write the First World War by Debbie Marshall is the story of three Canadian journalists who were present in both France and England during the pivotal events of the conflict and reported their personal observations in letters, articles and books.  Mary MacLeod Moore, a writer for Saturday Night magazine , covered the war’s impact on women, from the munitions factories to the kitchens of London’s tenements. Beatrice Nasmyth, a writer for the Vancouver Province, managed the successful wartime political campaign of Canadian Roberta MacAdams and attended the Versailles Peace Conference as Premier Arthur Sifton’s press secretary. Elizabeth Montizambert was in France during the war and witnessed the suffering of its people first-hand. She was often near the fighting, serving as a canteen worker and writing about her experiences for the Montreal Gazette.

Cover image for No free man : Canada, the Great War, and the enemy alien experience
About 8,000 Canadian civilians were imprisoned during the First World War because of their ethnic ties to Germany, Austria-Hungary, and other enemy nations. Although not as well-known as the later internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, these incarcerations played a crucial role in shaping debates about Canadian citizenship, diversity, and loyalty and this is what No free man : Canada, the Great War, and the enemy alien experience by Bohdan Kordan aims to demonstrate.  Re-settled in a network of government-run camps throughout Canada, they were forcibly mobilized in the war effort, most often in agriculture or lumber industries.  This is a valuable book about the dark side of our country’s war effort that remains as pertinent to our present world as then.
Come and check it out.
Louis-Philippe

1917: Remembering the Events that shaped Our Century

The year 1917 was filled with events that both shook and defined the world. Though our library has many books about years “that changed everything”, one can argue this year was one that can legitimately be called one of the most seminal for the world we currently live in. Many of these events have been or are going to be officially remembered through ceremonies and events, but if you are interested in learning more, the library has material that can help you explore their history.

Vimy: The Battle and the Legend by Tim Cook

We have just celebrated the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, on April 9th. This tactical victory did not in itself change the course of the war but it started to change how Canadians saw themselves in relation to Great Britain and the rest of the world. This victory was notable because of its meticulous planning and execution. It was achieved by Canadians from all over the country who were fighting together as the Canadian Corps for the first time and succeeded where other attempts had failed. This feat of arms came at a high cost (over 10,000 casualties) but helped cement the reputation of the Canadian Corps as an elite formation distinct from the British army – a fact that would be reflected in Canada signing the Versailles Treaty separately from Great Britain in 1919. Whether this constituted the “birth of a nation” can be debated, but it was certainly a step away from being a colony toward full-fledged nationhood.

 

This wasn’t the only event that was important in Canadian history that year. 1917 was a federal election year, and the first where Canadian women were able to vote. The stakes of these wartime elections were high. The conscription crisis to replenish the manpower of the Canadian Expeditionary Force drove a wedge between the mainly French-Canadians opponents who resisted volunteering for a war that they did not see as theirs to fight and the supporters of Britain and her allies. Tensions between the two factions rose to such a level that violent riots erupted in the city of Quebec on Easter, leaving 4 dead and 150 wounded, and created a chasm between Quebecers and the rest of the country that would be felt for generations.

 

The Curse of the Narrows by Laura MacDonald

The first World War’s effects were felt by entire societies in direct and indirect ways. In countries like Canada, which was far from the front, it left scars in every community, but none more than in Halifax. The port city was already a central hub for men and supplies being sent overseas when tragedy struck on December 6, 1917.  Two ships filled with explosive material collided, resulting in a blaze that spread out of control. This resulted in the largest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded, devastating the city and killing or wounding 11,000 inhabitants. In addition to the immediate death toll, a colossal rescue effort by both Canadians and Americans was necessary to tend those left wounded and homeless in the middle of a blizzard.

 

March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution by Will Englund

On the world stage, 1917 saw the fall of the Romanov dynasty, that had ruled Russia for centuries, by the Russian Revolution, which would see the rise of the first communist regime in history. This revolution (traditionally marked on October 25th) saw Russia withdraw from the war and radically shifted the balance in Germany’s favor.  As the German Empire successfully dealt with its enemy in the east, it unwittingly gained another when the United States of America declared war on April 6th. The country had remained neutral until unrestricted submarine warfare and an intercepted telegram revealed a German plan to goad Mexico to invade them with promises of winning back part of its former empire. Though a relative late-comer on the Allied side, the U.S. influx of men and supplies was decisive in the war ending in their favour. Both events were the first steps that would see the rise of the two superpowers that would dominate international politics of the 20th century.

 

The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer
A less well-known but equally far-reaching event, a letter issued by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour on November 2, 1917, led to the creation of Israel and conflicts that persist today. The widely-published letter was addressed to a Zionist organization and was interpreted as promising the creation of a Jewish homeland in the territory known as Palestine, occupied by the Ottoman Empire. However, this was in apparent contradiction with promises made to Arab leaders who were also revolting against the Ottomans for their independence. What became known as the Balfour Declaration left plenty of ambiguity about where and how this Jewish homeland would be established, with British diplomats initially hoping that a peaceful compromise could be made with all parties. This proved unworkable in the decades following the war, with terrible consequences for the Middle-East.

 

Finally, this year will also mark two important but overlooked landmarks: 100th anniversary of the Canadian income tax (imposed as a “temporary” war measure) as well as the founding of the National Hockey League (November 26th).

~ Louis-Philippe

What’s New In the Local History Room?

We have a few new reasons for you to come and visit the Local History Room.  A new display about the history of the railway system and how it shaped Manitoba is ready to explore, with artifacts and information generously loaned to us by the Manitoba Railway Museum  –  come and check it out! It’s also time to have a look at what’s new in the room’s collection, as it keeps growing with new additions.

Retired Winnipeg lawyer Norm Larsen is back with a new legal read: Notable People from Manitoba’s Legal History, in which he describes 32 “notables” connected to Manitoba and its legal system in quotations and anecdotes. The notables include Nellie McClung, Hugh John Macdonald son of the first PM and briefly Premier of Manitoba, Sam Freedman, Thomas Douglas (Lord Selkirk) who suffered “death by litigation”, Chief Peguis and Sister Geraldine MacNamara “the activist nun with a law degree”.  This is an easy and informative read.

 

Firmin Wyndels : the Belgian builder by James B. Wyndels tells of the man who came from Europe at the head of Wyndels Construction Company in 1909 as part of the growing Belgian community in the St. Boniface area and built colleges, churches and homes in Manitoba, some that still stand today, including the Fort Garry Church and the Sacred Heart College in Swan Lake.

 

For 15 years, Karen Toole wrote a spiritual advice column on the Faith Page of the Winnipeg Free Press, dealing with the role of religion and faith in everyday issues and how it could help guide us in our real-life struggles and overcome human suffering in all its forms. Reflections : a selection of columns written for the Faith Page of the Winnipeg Free Press 1994-2001 was compiled in response to many of her readers’ requests to offer a selection of her writings in a more permanent form. I noted a quotation from one of her column from 1998 that best sums up her humanistic view: “Religious coercion can kill faith.”

 

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 Hot Line : how the legendary trio of Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson transformed hockey and led the Winnipeg Jets to greatness chronicles how Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson came together to form a dynamic line that saw the Winnipeg Jets win two World Hockey Association championships (which rivaled the NHL until 1979). On January 5, 1978 they helped beat the Soviet Red Army Squad in front of a packed Winnipeg Arena crowd, the first time a North American club team ever managed to achieve this. Their chemistry on the ice and impact on the game is explored as well as the resulting influx of new European players into the NHL in the years following.

 

Cover image for Stay, breathe with me : the gift of compassionate medicine

Stay, breathe with me : the gift of compassionate medicine shares Helen Allison’s insights into the need to stop seeing patients simply as diseases needing cures and technologies but as living beings with symptoms and suffering that need to be addressed as a whole, with nonjudgmental medicine delivered with compassion. Several intimate stories tell of her experiences with her own patients in palliative care and the lessons she learned from them as they struggled with various, often fatal, ailments and how everyone, physicians or relatives, can contribute to improve their quality of life.

Finally, a title not in the Local History Room collection yet but which I would like to recommend for local fiction and horror fans is The Shadow Over Portage and Main: Weird Fictions, an anthology of short stories from authors who were influenced by their stay in Winnipeg. Whether it’s the extremes in our weather, our reputation for crime and murder, or our unique mix of cultures and ethnicities, authors like David Annandale, Eric Bradshaw and Keith Cadieux among others have written tales about the dark and gothic side of the city. My personal favourite is the story of a woman who discovers a book about superstition that has troubling effects on people who come in contact with it. Most of the stories are meant to inspire unease and fear, some of them have ghosts (predictably) and other supernatural threats, some don’t even mention Winnipeg but we are meant to recognize its “vibes”, which leads to the conclusion that our city can be quite a dark place!

Drop by and have a look in person, or feel free to explore the Local History and Genealogy Subject Guide for more of our recommended online resources to explore Manitoba’s past.

Louis-Philippe

What’s new in Alternate History Fiction?

It has been a while since I blogged about alternate history novels and there have been quite a few great new additions to the library’s collection, challenging the reader to imagine our world if it taken divergent paths in its history.

 

Cover image for JudenstaatIn Judenstaatauthor Simone Zelitch imagines the consequences for the Jewish people and the rest of the world if a Jewish state had been created in central Europe, in the region of Saxony, instead of in Palestine in 1948. The story begins forty years later with a historian preparing a documentary celebrating the anniversary of Judenstaat given new evidence about the death of one if its founding fathers. Her investigation brings to light uncomfortable truths about the nation’s past. The change in the timeline brings a different Cold War, with Judenstaat building its own version of the Berlin Wall (to keep out potential “fascists”), and tackles national myths and their place in countries’ identities.

 

Cover image for Hystopia : a novel

Hystopia gives us a totally different 1960’s where John F. Kennedy not only survived multiple assassination attempts but is now in his third term as United States President. The Vietnam War is still ongoing but a new “Psych Corps” has been created by the government to take charge of traumatized veterans and clean their memories with drugs and therapy. One of these returned soldiers is an author trying to write the novel that will honour his brothers-in-arms (the story is told as a novel within the novel), even as some of the more psychologically-scarred ones are roaming the U.S. countryside and recreating the atrocities they lived through. This is a challenging read as it does not shy from scenes of strong violence, but it also tries the challenge of recreating the unease and paranoid feeling of being in the US in the troubled 1970’s.

 

bombs-awayThe ever-prolific Harry Turtledove is working on his newest trilogy – the Hot War trilogy. The first two volumes are already available: Bombs Away and Fallout. The first one is called Bombs Away. This is a tale told from multiple point of views (a characteristic of Turtledove’s storytelling) and tells of how the world became embroiled in nuclear warfare in 1951, after General Douglas MacArthur escalated the Korean War. In an age before missiles and jet bombers, the war between the Western and Eastern blocks slowly escalates and risks spinning out of anyone’s control to stop it before humanity faces extinction. Ordinary people from nations around the globe, both civilians and combatants, are shown trying to cope with unprecedented nuclear destruction in a chilling but all-too plausible scenario.

 

ink-and-boneThis next trilogy, The Great Library, written by Rachel Caine, includes elements of fantasy in addition to its alternate history setting.  In Ink and Bone we discover a world in the near-future where the great Library of Alexandria (the largest library in the ancient world, containing works by the greatest thinkers and writers of antiquity) was not destroyed. The Library has grown into the greatest depository of human knowledge in the world, becoming the all-powerful ruler of society through its control of access to knowledge.  Thanks to alchemy, the knowledge of its books can be transmitted to everyone instantaneously (like ebooks today), but private ownership of books is a capital offence, with a black market booming in illegal books. The main protagonist is from a family of book smugglers who joins the Library’s ranks as a spy but how will coming into contact with people worshipping knowledge over human life and their immense power change him?

 

Cover image for Clash of eaglesClash of Eagles, the first volume of the Esperian trilogy by Alan Smale, tells the story of a Roman general captured by Cahokians after his legion is massacred while attempting the conquest of North America. Having been spared and gradually accepted by them, he must decide if he still fits in the empire’s plans of expansion or join his adopted people whose culture he has grown to admire. It’s a story of a clash of two cultures who never met in our history but realistically imagines how such an event might have unfolded and transformed our world. This series is recommended for action/adventure fans as well as history buffs.

 

clockworkFinally, closer to home, Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction by Dominik Parisien is a collection of 15 stories about how steam technology might have reshaped the history of our country. You’ll read of mythical clockwork creatures that roam the landscapes of New France terrorizing the settlers in “Clochemard” and Mounties pursuing steam-powered buffalo-girl hybrids and solve a string of murders in “Buffalo Gals” (a Canadian superweapon that could change history). Many stories deal with real issues about our history like colonization, racism, and industrialisation’s impact on human society and the environment. It is quite a good read if you are in the mood for something local.

 

– Louis-Philippe