The 1950s

Description

48 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
$24.95
ISBN 1-896990-60-6
DDC j971.063

Year

2000

Contributor

Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.

Review

In 1904, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier declared, “I think we can
claim that it is Canada that shall fill the twentieth century.” With
the 20th century having closed, this handsome 10–volume set now
examines that Canadian filling. Well, most of it. The series runs from
1900 to 1999 and some critics are bound to point out that this makes it
slightly out of step with the official 20th century, which actually ran
from 1901 to 2000. The set is aimed at average Canadians who prefer
their history in more-easy-to-grasp concepts like decades.

Each volume covers a 10-year span, starting with 1900 to 1910, and the
format is the same throughout the series. An introduction leads each
book, with a list of headlines gleaned from the subject decade. Next, a
timberline chart provides the reader with a quick overview of
significant events that made each particular decade memorable. The text
is served up in little quarter- and half-page chunks reminiscent of
newspaper articles. The content is arranged by subject in mini-chapters
that follow the same order in each volume, which makes for easy
comparison between volumes. The titles of the mini-chapters are:
“Disasters,” “Entertainment,” “Trends,” “World Events,”
“Political Issues,” “Literature,” “Science and Technology,”
“Sports,” “Economy,” “Fashion,” “Immigration,” “Music
and the Arts,” “Society,” and “Canada–U.S. Relations.”
Nearly every article is accompanied by period photographs,
illustrations, or a sidebar explaining another facet of the subject that
will likely interest the reader.

The overall effect is a highly engaging, informative perspective on the
20th century that will be pleasing to intermediate and advanced readers
alike. The overall quality of the text and illustrations is very good,
with only a few minor lapses. The article on “The Allies Stop
Hitler” in The 1940s, for example, shows American troops, not
Canadian, landing on a French beach on D-Day. In The 1900s, the text on
the 1905 Stanley Cup championship is somewhat confusing in that it seems
to say that the distance between Dawson City and Whitehorse is a mere 60
kilometres. But the oversights are few and far between, and Canada
Through the Decades is simply an excellent series. Highly recommended.

Citation

Hacker, Carlotta., “The 1950s,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 28, 2022, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21472.