Reviews / Comptes rendus - Ed Gould, Logging: British Columbia's Logging History

Reviews / Comptes rendus

Ed Gould, Logging: British Columbia's Logging History

Robert D. Turner
British Columbia Provincial Museum

1 Logging: British Columbia's Logging History is a generally entertaining but flawed collection of historical photographs, yarns and facts presented in an attractive, well-printed, large format volume. Since it focuses on British Columbia's most important industry and significant related aspects of technological and social change it is of interest as a potential source of museum work.

2 However, this book is not really a history as the title suggests. Rather it is a popular, somewhat romantic, pictorial scrapbook which lacks the structure, thoroughness, depth of research and insight necessary to be a truly valuable source for reference purposes. Many sections are shallow in their perspective and leave out much important material. There are also some factual errors in the captions and text, particularly where machinery is concerned. There are no maps and little information on the forests themselves or on the differences between logging practices.

3 The text paints a broad, romantic picture of logging and loggers one that is sometimes justified, although not always representative. Brief chapters are devoted to early logging (beginning with Captain Cook cutting timber for his ships), camp life, railroad and truck logging, yarding machinery, log barging, abuse of the forests, the development of the major forest companies, the British Columbia Forest Service, logger sports and unionization of the labour force. In addition a glossary of logging terms and slang, a brief bibliography and an index are included. To his credit the author recognized the contribution to the industry of men like Archie McKone, a pioneer truck logger and inventor. Histories often pay attention to corporate leaders and it is good to see the work of others being recognized.

4 Many old photographs add interest to the book and are perhaps its most valuable asset. Much can be gleaned from a careful study of the illustrations, although the captions often add little substance to one's understanding of the photos and the pictures are not always well placed in relation to the text.

5 In short, this is a popularly oriented book that contains some valuable material but it is too superficial to be truly a reliable source of reference on logging in British Columbia.

Robert D. Turner
Assistant Curator
Modern History Division
British Columbia Provincial Museum