Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin


250 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-018-X
DDC 331.88'122334'092






Reviewed by Peter Henderson

Peter Henderson teaches history at Douglas College in New Westminster,
British Columbia.


This book, unfortunately, is not the biography that it purports to be.
It deals in detail with labor problems in the Cumberland mines on
Vancouver Island in the early years of this century.

There is certainly much evidence to suggest that the death of one of
the union ringleaders, “Ginger” Goodwin, an alleged draft evader,
was engineered by the business establishment. However, very little is
known about Goodwin himself, as the author admits. “Ginger Goodwin was
a union organizer—his union papers went up in smoke years ago. He was
a political candidate—no party documents were available for public
use. He was an immigrant—no indexed immigration papers could pinpoint
his arrival in Canada. He was an employee—no company records survived.
He was a draft evader—no military records were on file.”

The result is a frustrating book because the author continually needs
to speculate about her subject, with lengthy excursions into
descriptions of events and circumstances surrounding the labor
disturbances of the time, but with necessarily vague suggestions as to
the extent to which Goodwin may or may not have been directly involved
in them.

This book would be of interest only to a real aficionado of the social
history of British Columbia.


Mayse, Susan., “Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 22, 2024,