W. Bruce McGillivray
Copyright © 1995 Provincial Museum of Alberta
Edited by Ken Tingley
364 pages - Over 166 B&W photos, foreword, preface, acknowledgements and individual article footnotes and bibliographies,
8 1/2'' x 11 1/2'', out of print, ISBN 1-895073-81-2.
We Albertans know so little of our history that it both delights and frustrates to have a piece of it revealed so richly as in this book. There is delight in the response of Albertans throughout the war to the needs of King and Country. The unparalleled mobilization of human and financial resources to meet the challenges of the war reinforces our pride in western resourcefulness and confirms even today our ability to overcome great obstacles. There is delight in the willingness of the authors to present a diversity of views on the impact of the Second World War on Alberta. Certainly, there is delight for the curatorial staff of the Provincial Museum of Alberta [now the Royal Alberta Museum], that this book will be available to students in our schools who will get a glimpse into the events that shaped the lives of their parents and grandparents.
The touch of frustration comes when I wonder why we waited 50 years to bring these stories and events to a popular audience. Before we can resolve the problems facing Albertan and Canadian society, we need to understand their origin. Many current issues such as the rights and responsibilities of Aboriginal Canadians, the relative precedence of treaties over federal law, the rights of women, the rights of ethnic minorities, and even gun control were raised as problems during the war. Perhaps if we were more aware of our own history, we would not be facing all of these issues today.
In Canada, it is easy to lose sight of our unique history when it is overwhelmed by the American and British stories revealed in film and on television. Even within Canada, western perspectives on national events are often lost. These essays commemorate the successes and failures of Albertans and their impact on the world as witnessed and judged by Albertans. Remarkably, they reveal 50-year old social, political, and cultural attitudes that are as current as today's newspaper.
The war was a highly emotional time for Albertans. Even in retrospect, emotions make it a complex and controversial subject to describe. It is important for readers to judge the actions and attitudes presented here not by modern standards but by those of the time.
The Provincial Museum of Alberta [now the Royal Alberta Museum] is pleased to be a partner in this publication and to offer a visual record of the war in Alberta through our travelling exhibit For King and Country. Both Maurice Doll, Curator of the exhibition, and Ken Tingley, editor of this book, deserve high praise for making the issues and people of the war years accessible to a new generation of Albertans.