Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dale Wilson. More Tracks of the Black Bear (2013)

     Dale Wilson. More Tracks of the Black Bear (2013) Dale’s father was the engineer on site when the docks at Michipicoten Harbour were rebuilt, and became Chief Engineer. This connection may explain Wilson’s fascination with the Algoma Central and Hudson’s Bay Railway. But maybe not. The ACR has a lot of fans with no family connection. It’s a railway that survived against the odds, and still (as a part of CN) provides useful services.
     Fans will be pleased with this book, another collection of photographs, memoirs and miscellaneous documents. Wilson has arranged them in chronological order, with explanatory notes here and there. The result is a pleasant anecdotal history of the line. Readers interested in Algoma and Sault Ste Marie will also find this book a good read.
     I like these scrapbook-like histories. They contain a good deal of primary material, the kind that professional historians arrange into plausible narratives of cause, effect, and influence. The scrapbook leaves the task of interpretation to us, engaging us in the oddments of actual life. The photographs are well reproduced, but some documents have been damaged by time, so their reproduction is not as clear as we might wish. *** for the fan, **½ for the casual reader. Disclosure: Dale used one of my photos.

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