The Mountie from Dime Novel to Disney

Description

215 pages
Contains Photos, Index
$24.95
ISBN 1-896357-16-4
DDC 659.2'93632'0971

Publisher

Year

1998

Contributor

Reviewed by Steven R. Hewitt

Steven R. Hewitt is an assistant professor of history at the University
of Saskatchewan.

Review

The appearance of this book is timely given the recent celebration of
the 125th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Building on
his own M.A. thesis and previous fine work by historian Keith Walden,
Dawson explores cultural portrayals of Mounties and Mounted Police from
early days to the modern era when, much to the chagrin of many
Canadians, the marketing rights for the RCMP were sold to the Walt
Disney Corporation.

Dawson demonstrates that the images associated with the Mounted Police
have changed over time and that the Force itself has meant different
things to vastly different groups of people. The transformation of the
Mountie into a national symbol was, Dawson argues, fueled by fictional
accounts rife with the symbolism of the chaste white male Mountie
battling nefarious foes (often drawn from unpopular ethnic groups or
those with unpopular political beliefs) and protecting women in
distress.

By 1973 (the Force’s centenary), the traditional Mountie image was no
longer appropriate. The Force reinvented itself by downplaying its
19th-century work (much of which involved taking control of Canada’s
western territory at the expense of its original inhabitants) and
presenting itself instead as an organization in tune with such changes
as bilingualism and the addition of women to its ranks.

The Mountie from Dime Novel to Disney provides a valuable critical
perspective on one of Canada’s most powerful but least thoroughly
examined institutions.

Citation

Dawson, Michael., “The Mountie from Dime Novel to Disney,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3183.