Rapid Reviews: Two Non-Fiction Titles (April 2016)

The coming of spring brings with it many new book releases and the ‘read’ stack here at the Miramichi Reader is getting high. So I have resorted to writing some ‘rapid reviews’ of books that I have read and that do not require a lengthy article to summarize them. This works particularly well for non-fiction titles and I have two that I would like to incorporate below:

Talented Miramichiers in the Gilded Age by Thomas W. Creaghan

miramichiers_coverSubtitled “Irish Miramichiers who Made a Difference at Home, New York, Leadville and Bathurst” this 368 page book makes for fascinating reading as it relates the story of Sam Adam’s arrival as an Irish immigrant in Douglastown, New Brunswick in 1835. What makes it so fascinating is not just a description of the state of affairs of the Miramichi region in the 19th century, but how successful the family of Samuel and Mary Ann Adams became. They were successful not only in New Brunswick, but also in New York City as employees and later, as owners of a huge dry goods department store. This was the age of the rise of the Sixth Avenue department stores: Macy’s, Claflin’s, etc. From there, investment in a productive silver mine in Leadville Colorado, mills in Bathurst and Quebec, politics (U.S. and Canadian) and so on. Yet, they never forgot their Miramichi roots, coming back when they could to enjoy family and fishing and hunting on the river. Mr. Creaghan (who is a distant relative of the Adams) has done a massive amount of research, both here in Canada, in the U.S. and abroad, as he attempts to find out more about Samuel Adams before he left Ireland to come to Canada. It is all described and catalogued in the Bibliography and end notes. A great book for the New Brunswick historian, and the section on the what big business life was like in New York City in the late 1800s and early 1900s makes for especially intriguing and enlightening reading. Published by Friesen Press, 2015

My Life With Trees by Gary L. Saunders

treesTrees are underrated, even taken for granted, especially if you live in a heavily forested area like Atlantic Canada. Gary L. Saunders, a retired forester and professor, sets out change our perception of trees, one species at a time in this 2015 offering from Gaspereau Press. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular tree indigenous to Atlantic Canada starting with conifers, then moving on to the broadleafs. The chapter starts with a brief introduction: latin name, form, silvics, lifespan and identifying traits. Then the author relates some relevant history of each species, as well as his own personal encounters with that type of tree throughout his life. It makes for surprisingly good reading and it made me want to take more notice of the trees I encounter every day. All that is really missing from this book are drawings of trees, leaves, cones etc. that would have been helpful in field identification. Then again, this book is not really a field guide, but more of a companion guide. A good title to have handy at the camp, along with your bird and plant identification books.

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