The Promised Land: Settling the West 1896-1914

The Promised Land: Settling the West 1896-1914
Pierre Berton
Anchor Canada (2011)
Rating: ★★★★★
Tags: History, Canada, General
Historyttt Canadattt Generalttt

After the pioneers described in
The National Dream
,
The Last Spike
and
Klondike
came the settlers — a million people who filled a thousand miles of prairie in a single generation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Review

“There’s a vitality and life in Berton’s writing that is particularly striking after re-reading other accounts of the development of the Canadian West.” --
The Toronto Star

From the Inside Flap

After the pioneers described in
The National Dream
,
The Last Spike
and
Klondike
came the settlers ? a million people who filled a thousand miles of prairie in a single generation.

Copyright © 1984 by Pierre Berton Enterprises Ltd.
Anchor Canada edition 2002

All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication, reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system without the prior written consent of the publisher — or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a license from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency — is an infringement of the copyright law.

Anchor Canada and colophon are trademarks.

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

Berton, Pierre, 1920–
   The promised land : settling the West, 1896–1914 / Pierre Berton. — Anchor Canada ed.

eISBN: 978-0-385-67366-2

1. Prairie Provinces—Emigration and immigration—History. 2. Minorities—Prairie Provinces—History. 3. Prairie Provinces—Social conditions. 4. Prairie Provinces—History. I. Title.

FC3209.I4B47 2002    971.2′O2    C2002-902700-4
F1060.9.B48 2002

Maps by Geoffrey Matthews

Published in Canada by
Anchor Canada, a division of
Random House of Canada Limited

Visit Random House of Canada Limited’s website:
www.randomhouse.ca

v3.1

Books by Pierre Berton

The Royal Family
The Mysterious North
Klondike
Just Add Water and Stir
Adventures of a Columnist
Fast Fast Fast Relief
The Big Sell
The Comfortable Pew
The Cool, Crazy, Committed World of the Sixties
The Smug Minority
The National Dream
The Last Spike
Drifting Home
Hollywood’s Canada
My Country
The Dionne Years
The Wild Frontier
The Invasion of Canada
Flames Across the Border
Why We Act Like Canadians
The Promised Land
Vimy
Starting Out
The Arctic Grail
The Great Depression
Niagara: A History of the Falls
My Times: Living with History
I967, The Last Good Year
Marching as to War

Picture Books

The New City (with Henri Rossier)
Remember Yesterday
The Great Railway
The Klondike Quest
Pierre Berton’s Picture Book of Niagara Falls
Winter
The Great Lakes
Seacoasts
Pierre Berton’s Canada

Anthologies

Great Canadians
Pierre and Janet Berton’s Canadian Food Guide
Historic Headlines
Farewell to the Twentieth Century
Worth Repeating
Welcome to the Twenty-first Century

Fiction

Masquerade (pseudonym Lisa Kroniuk)

Books for Young Readers

The Golden Trail
The Secret World of Og
Adventures in Canadian History (22 volumes)

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Other Books by This Author

Map

Prologue: Professor Oleskow’s Vision

CHAPTER ONE:
THE YOUNG NAPOLEON OF THE WEST

1. The new broom

2. The hard sell

3. A political animal

4. The spoils system

5. The
Free Press
changes hands

6. Master and servant

CHAPTER TWO:
THE SHEEPSKIN PEOPLE

1. The long voyage

2. “Dirty, ignorant Slavs”

3. The Galician vote

4. The melting-pot syndrome

CHAPTER THREE:
THE SPIRIT WRESTLERS

1. The Universal Brotherhood

2. “Greetings, Doukhobors!”

3. The “peculiar people”

4. The Sons of God

5. Peter the Lordly

CHAPTER FOUR:
ISAAC BARR’S LAMBS

1. Barr’s dream

2. Quite a hustler

3. Stormy passage

4. Indignation meetings

5. Trekking to Britannia

CHAPTER FIVE:
THE PROBLEM OF THE ENGLISH

1. No Englishmen need apply

2. Remittance men

3. Lloydminster

4. The Odyssey of Ella Sykes

5. Don’t come back, Dad

CHAPTER SIX:
THE AMERICAN INVASION

1. Will White thinks big

2. Catching the fever

3. Keeping out the Blacks

4. Loosening Imperial ties

CHAPTER SEVEN:
THE PASSING OF THE OLD ORDER

1. Sifton’s mysterious departure

2. The new era

3. The Indian dilemma

4. The Imperial Force

CHAPTER EIGHT:
THE SIFTON SCANDALS

1. The Minister’s reputation

2. The mysterious company

3. A favoured relative

4. Big Jim’s political clout

5. Cheating the Indians

6. Everybody’s doing it

CHAPTER NINE:
THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST

1. West versus East

2. The common experience

3. The Western ethic

4. Bob Edwards and the
Eye Opener

5. Radicalism and populism

6. The un-Western Westerner

CHAPTER TEN:
THE DARK SIDE OF BOOSTERISM

1. The image makers

2. Slums and brothels

3. The Social Gospel

4. Our Nellie

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
BOOM AND BUST

1. Railway madness

2. The land frenzy

3. Get your feet wet

4. The lottery

5. Shattered dreams

Epilogue: On the Winnipeg Platform

Author’s Note

Select Bibliography

Notes

The West before 1905

Prologue: Professor Oleskow’s Vision

This is a book about dreams and illusions, escape and survival, triumph and despair. It is also a book about foolish optimism, political cunning, naïveté, greed, scandal, and opportunism. It is a book about the search for Utopia, the promise of a Promised Land, and so it treats of hope, fulfilment, and liberation as well as drudgery, loneliness, and disenchantment. What we are dealing with here is a phenomenon rare, if not unique, in history: the filling up of an empty realm, a thousand miles broad, with more than one million people in less than one generation.

This, then, is the story of the creation of a state within a state and the resultant transformation of a nation. There are grafters in this tale and hard-nosed politicians and civic boosters with dollar signs in their eyes; but there are also idealists, dreamers, and visionaries. And since these last are in the minority it is best to start with the first of them, a Slavic professor of agriculture named Josef Oleskow, who saw in the untrammelled Canadian West a haven for the downtrodden of Eastern Europe.

Let us join Dr. Oleskow in the hot summer of 1895 as he makes his way by train on a journey of discovery to the Canadian prairies. He is immediately identifiable as a stranger. His hair, dark and luxuriant, is unparted, combed straight back in the European fashion. His moustache does not droop over his lips in the North American style but turns sharply upward in two fierce points, like that of the German Kaiser. He is dressed formally and fastidiously – neat dark suit, high starched collar, heavy foulard. He is a handsome man of thirty-five with dark, intelligent eyes and regular features, and he is enchanted by the New World: the people are so clean and, equally important, so independent. There are no lords, no peasants; here, everyone is a master! Officials are not officious; they are workers just like everybody else, without special privileges. Their offices operate just like stores. You can walk in without bowing, and the man behind the desk – even a Cabinet minister – will probably keep his hat on
.

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