In the Face of Disaster: True Stories of Canadian Heroes from the Archives of «Maclean's»


349 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-670-88883-4
DDC 971




Edited by Michael Benedict
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.


This is the latest volume in a series of books where significant events
in Canadian history are remembered in an anthology of reprinted
Maclean’s articles. The other books in the series are Canada at War
(1997), Canada on Ice (1998), and Canada in the Fifties (1999).

In the Face of Disaster chronicles disasters, both natural and
human-made, that have impacted Canadians both at home and abroad. The
content is divided by element: On Land, On Water, and In the Air. The
major sections are broken down into chapters that span a wide variety of
classification. Some of the better-known disasters mentioned in this
book are the 1903 Frank Rock Slide, the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, the
Red River Flood (1950 and 1997), the 1907 Quebec Bridge Disaster,
Dieppe, the 1992 Westray Mine Disaster, the Titanic, the 1917 Halifax
Explosion, the 1982 Ocean Ranger Disaster, the 1985 Air India Bomb
Disaster, and the 1998 Swissair Flight 111 crash. Other disasters have
faded from the public eye but are sure to fascinate anyone with an
interest in Canadian history. These chapters include “The 1945 Halifax
Riot of 1945,” “The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 810 in
1956,” and “The 1914 Newfoundland Sealhunt Disaster.”

Rather than straight “facts and figures” reporting, these articles
often put a human face on the tragedy. Eyewitness accounts are the
backbone of most stories. Some chapters are written by reporters who
visited the scene of the tragedy within weeks of its occurrence. Most,
however, were written as a memorial piece sometimes more than a century
after the fact. Dozens of black-and-white photographs and an
introduction by Peter C. Newman support the main text. The well-written
and well-researched prose maintains the Maclean’s standard of
journalistic excellence.


“In the Face of Disaster: True Stories of Canadian Heroes from the Archives of «Maclean's»,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,