“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham
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Canada's History Reading Den

Book cover of I Can Only PaintArt of commemoration

The October-November issue of Canada’s History magazine includes an excerpt from I Can Only Paint: The Story of Battlefield Artist Mary Riter Hamilton, by Irene Gammel. Beginning in 1919, Hamilton travelled to devastated towns and battlefields in France and Belgium where Canadian soldiers had been active during the First World War.

At the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and the Ypres Salient, Hamilton endured difficult conditions that included rough shelter, inadequate food, poor weather, and surroundings littered with unexploded shells. Working sometimes with canvas and at others with available materials such as paper, plywood, and cardboard, she nonetheless produced more than three hundred paintings between 1919 and 1922.

Gammel’s book places this period of Hamilton’s work in the context of the artist’s life and in relation to other art and war art. It includes dozens of full-colour reproductions of her paintings as well as maps, photographs, and illustrations. You can also read the excerpt online.

Book cover of Dusty Dreams & Troubles WatersDaring at sea

Recipients of the Reading Den are automatically entered to win one of three copies of Dusty Dreams & Troubled Waters: A Story of HMCS Sackville and the Battle of the Atlantic, a graphic novel for middle-grades readers. Written by Brian Bowman and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki with Susan Tooke, the book follows a young prairie boy as he leaves behind the family farm to pursue a career in the navy.

Book cover of Chiru SakuraExamining Canadian history

You can read the latest book reviews from Canada’s History magazine on our website — and, when you make purchases after linking to Chapters-Indigo from our website or from the Reading Den, Canada’s History Society receives a commission that supports our publishing and educational programs.

Top 10 Bestsellers
  1. The Diary of Dukesang Wong: A Voice from Gold Mountain
  2. A Love Letter to Africville
  3. Fight On!: Cape Breton Coal Miners
  4. First Canadian Army: Victory in Europe 1944–45
  5. The Audacity of His Enterprise: Louis Riel and the Métis Nation
  6. The Company: The Rise and Fall of the Hudson’s Bay Empire
  7. Heard Amid the Guns: True Stories from the Western Front
  8. Uplift: Banff School of Fine Arts
  9. Enemy Alien: Life Behind Barbed Wire
  10. Invisible Generations: Living between Indigenous and White
Cover of the October-November 2021 issue of Canada's History featuring prisoners of war.
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Book cover of The Invisibles

Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to:
  • Ross S., Mineville, N.S.
  • Amy Bowring, Whitby, Ont.
  • Michèle K., Ayr, Ont.

Canada’s History Archive featuring The Beaver

Please note: Some items featured in our newsletters and social media will include links to the Canada’s History Archive. The Beaver magazine was founded, and for decades was published, during eras shaped by colonialism. Concepts such as racial, cultural, or gender equality were rarely, if ever, considered by the magazine or its contributors. In earlier issues, readers will find comments and terms now considered derogatory. Canada’s History Society cautions readers to explore the archive using historical thinking concepts — not only analyzing the content but asking questions of who shaped the content and why.

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