Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Boundless Optimism: Richard McBride's British Columbia

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Boundless Optimism: Richard McBride's British Columbia

Article excerpt

Patricia E. Roy, Boundless Optimism: Richard McBride's British Columbia (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2012), 428 pp. Cased. $95. ISBN 978-0-7748-2388-3. Paper. $32.95. ISBN 978-0-7748-2389-0.

This book is a biography of British Columbia's most famous premier and probably one of Canada's most prominent historically: Sir Richard McBride. No one is more qualified in my opinion to undertake this task than Patricia E. Roy, who is one of British Columbia's leading historians and has had a long and illustrious career, publishing extensively on the 'White Canada Policy' in particular. The book takes Mcbride's life from growing up in the newly created province of British Columbia in the late nineteenth century to his untimely death in London, United Kingdom, at the age of 46. Therefore, one of the strengths of focusing on McBride is that his life very much parallels the rise of British Columbia as Canada's third most populous province.

McBride, as Roy quite rightly points out, epitomised the complementary identities most English-speaking Canadians held at the beginning of the twentieth century, who identified strongly as a British people, but also had a passionate patriotism both for Canada and for their province. Roy draws attention to significant examples of where these multiple identities came to the fore in McBride's life. The first in his strong vocal support for an Imperial Navy: he was convinced that only if all parts of the British Empire contributed to their collective defence could the British World continue to thrive as it had done. This was of particular importance in the context of the rise of Germany. …

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