Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Two New Books

Sep 16, 2013

Last week the post brought two new "political" books from the Vancouver publisher, New Star Books.

One is a revised edition of Mark Leier's "life and times" of the fascinating labour activist and spy, Robert Gosden. First published in 1999, this new edition of Rebel Life contains additional information about Gosden, an enigmatic figure in the history of the labour movement. Mark teaches history at Simon Fraser U and his chapter "On the Trail of a Labour Spy" offers a wonderful nuts and bolts account of how history is researched and written.

The second new book is Mac-Pap: Memoir of a Canadian in the Spanish Civil War, Ronald Liversedge's account of his experiences fighting in Spain 1937-39. Liversedge, who lived for many years in Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, completed the manuscript in 1966 -- he died in 1974 -- but despite his efforts no one was interested in publishing it until now. Edited with an introduction and extensive notes by David Yorke.