Pierre Berton “Absolutely first-rate.”—The New Yorker
This thrilling story is at once first-rate history and first-rate entertainment. Incredible events occurred in North America after a decrepit steamboat docked at Seattle in 1897 containing two tons of pure gold. So frenzied was the clash for gold and so scant was information about conditions in the Klondike that the rush for riches became a kind of fabulous madness. The entire tale—of which Pierre Berton’s account is the definitive telling—has an epic ring (legends were lived and fortunes were won) as much because of its splendid folly as because of its color and motion.
“The definitive account of an affair as wildly improbable as any in North American history.”—Saturday Review
“A lively saga of the great gold rush. It is the most complete and most authentic on the subject in English.”—The New York Times Book Review
Pierre Berton One chill Easter dawn in 1917, a blizzard blowing in their faces, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in France went over the top of a muddy scarp knows as Vimy Ridge. Within hours, they held in their grasp what had eluded both British and French armies in over two years of fighting: they had seized the best-defended German bastion on the Western Front.
How could an army of civilians from a nation with no military tradition secure the first enduring victory in thirty-two months of warfare with only 10,000 casualties, when the French had lost 150,000 men in their unsuccessful attempt? Pierre Berton's haunting and lucid narrative shows how, unfettered by military rules, civilians used daring and common sense to overcome obstacles that had eluded the professionals.
Drawing on unpublished personal accounts and interviews, Berton brings home what it was like for the young men, some no more than sixteen years old, who clawed their way up the sodden, shell-torn slopes in a struggle they innocently believed would make war obsolete. He tells of the soldiers who endured horrific conditions to secure this great victory, painting a vivid picture of trench warfare. In his account of this great battle, Pierre Berton brilliantly illuminated the moment of tragedy and greatness that marked Canada's emergence as a nation.
Pierre Berton In the four years between 1881 and 1885, Canada was forged into one nation by the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Last Spike reconstructs the incredible story of how some 2,000 miles of steel crossed the continent in just five years — exactly half the time stipulated in the contract. Pierre Berton recreates the adventures that were part of this vast undertaking: the railway on the brink of bankruptcy, with one hour between it and ruin; the extraordinary land boom of Winnipeg in 1881–1882; and the epic tale of how William Van Horne rushed 3,000 soldiers over a half-finished railway to quell the Riel Rebellion.
Dominating the whole saga are the men who made it all possible — a host of astonishing characters: Van Horne, the powerhouse behind the vision of a transcontinental railroad; Rogers, the eccentric surveyor; Onderdonk, the cool New Yorker; Stephen, the most emotional of businessmen; Father Lacombe, the black-robed voyageur; Sam Steele, of the North West Mounted Police; Gabriel Dumont, the Prince of the Prairies; more than 7,000 Chinese workers, toiling and dying in the canyons of the Fraser Valley; and many more — land sharks, construction geniuses, politicians, and entrepreneurs — all of whom played a role in the founding of the new Canada west of Ontario.
Pierre Berton “If history could be taught in the schools the way Berton writes about it, there wouldn’t be a more popular subject on the curriculum.” —The Globe and Mail
Of all the wars fought by the English-speaking peoples, this was one of the strangest—a war entered into blindly and fought (also blindly) by men out of touch not only with reality but also with their own forces.
To America’s leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be “a mere matter of marching,” as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of eight million fail to subdue a struggling colony of three hundred thousand? Yet, when the campaign ended, the only Americans left on Canadian soil were prisoners of war. Three American armies had been forced to surrender, and the British were in control of all of Michigan Territory and much of Indiana and Ohio.
In this remarkable account of the War of 1812’s first year and the events that led up to it, Pierre Berton transforms history into an engrossing narrative that reads like a fast-paced novel. Drawing on personal memoirs and diaries as well as official dispatches, the author gets inside the characters of the men who fought the war—the common soldiers as well as the generals, the bureaucrats and the profiteers, the traitors and the loyalists.
“A popular history as it should be written.” —The New York Times
“A catalogue of ironies and follies—dramatized through dispatches from each of the warring camps—which leaves hardly a legend intact.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A wonderful historical work . . . a book of love, ambition, guile, heroism, tragedy and cowardice.” —The Detroit News
Pierre Berton is the internationally renowned bestselling author of fifty books and recipient of over thirty literary awards including the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-Fiction, which he won three times. He was raised in the Yukon, served almost four years in the army, and was an editor at the Toronto Star as well as a writer and host of a series of CBC programs. A member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame, Berton passed away in 2004.
Pierre Berton Over 1.5 million Canadians were on relief, one in five was a public dependant, and 70,000 young men travelled like hoboes. Ordinary citizens were rioting in the streets, but their demonstrations met with indifference, and dissidents were jailed. Canada emerged from the Great Depression a different nation.
The most searing decade in Canada's history began with the stock market crash of 1929 and ended with the Second World War. With formidable story-telling powers, Berton reconstructs its engrossing events vividly: the Regina Riot, the Great Birth Control Trial, the black blizzards of the dust bowl and the rise of Social Credit. The extraordinary cast of characters includes Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who praised Hitler and Mussolini but thought Winston Churchill "one of the most dangerous men I have ever known"; Maurice Duplessis, who padlocked the homes of private citizens for their political opinions; and Tim Buck, the Communist leader who narrowly escaped murder in Kingston Penitentiary.
In this #1 best-selling book, Berton proves that Canada's political leaders failed to take the bold steps necessary to deal with the mass unemployment, drought and despair. A child of the era, he writes passionately of people starving in the midst of plenty.
Pierre Berton The Canada–U.S. border was in flames as the War of 1812 continued. York's parliament buildings were on fire, Niagara-on-the-Lake burned to the ground and Buffalo lay in ashes. Even the American capital of Washington, far to the south, was put to the torch. The War of 1812 had become one of the nineteenth century's bloodiest struggles.
Flames Across the Borderis a compelling evocation of war at its most primeval level — the muddy fields, the frozen forests and the ominous waters where men fought and died. Pierre Berton skilfully captures the courage, determination and terror of the universal soldier, giving new dimension and fresh perspective to this early conflict between the two emerging nations of North America.
Pierre Berton Canada’s wild frontier — a land unsettled and unknown, a land of appalling obstacles and haunting beauty — comes to life through seven remarkable individuals, including John Jewitt, the young British seaman who became a slave to the Nootka Indians; Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, the eccentric missionary; Sam Steele, the most famous of all Mounted Policemen; and Isaac Jorges, the 17th-century priest who courted martyrdom. Many of the stories of these figures read like the wildest of fiction: Cariboo Cameron, who, after striking it rich in B.C., pickled his wife’s body in alcohol and gave her three funerals; Mina Hubbard, the young widow who trekked across the unexplored heart of Labrador as an act of revenge; and Almighty Voice, the renegade Cree, who was the key figure in the last battle between white men and Aboriginals in North America.
Spanning more than two centuries and four thousand miles, this book demonstrates how our frontier resembles no other and how for better and for worse it has shaped our distinctive sense of Canada.
Pierre Berton In 1871, a tiny nation, just four years old — it's population well below the 4 million mark — determined that it would build the world's longest railroad across empty country, much of it unexplored. This decision — bold to the point of recklessness — was to change the lives of every man, woman and child in Canada and alter the shape of the nation.
Using primary sources — diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts, public documents and newspapers — Pierre Berton has reconstructed the incredible decade of the 1870s, when Canadians of every stripe — contractors, politicians, financiers, surveyors, workingmen, journalists and entrepreneurs — fought for the railway, or against it.
The National Dream is above all else the story of people. It is the story of George McMullen, the brash young promoter who tried to blackmail the Prime Minister; of Marcus Smith, the crusty surveyor, so suspicious of authority he thought the Governor General was speculating in railway lands; of Sanford Fleming, the great engineer who invented Standard Time but who couldn't make up his mind about the best route for the railway. All these figures, and dozens more, including the political leaders of the era, come to life with all their human ambitions and failings.
Pierre Berton Berton brings the past alive with true stories of mystery and romance, tragedy and heroism, from the piracy of Bill Johnston, scourge of the St. Lawrence, to the weird saga of Brother XII and his mystic cult on Vancouver Island.