About Canada offers a kaleidoscopic overview of Canada and its history, including quotations, a compendium of facts and figures, Canadian achievements and inventions, an historical chronology cast as history headlines, and narratives of arresting episodes.
The lead narrative explodes the legend that the 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham cast the destiny of North America and cost France its New World colony that spanned the continent from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. It was, instead, a pair of naval battles on the far side of the Atlantic that briefly entrenched the British throughout North America, opened the way for the revolution that gave birth to the United States, the evolution of Canada as self-governing British colonies, and finally, Confederation.
Other episodes include the first European settlement in North America, 500 years before the arrival of Columbus… The tragic deaths of 30,000 destitute Irish in two tides of immigration, bringing the first cholera to North America, followed by 100,000 refugees from the Great Irish potato famine... Canada’s pioneer booze epidemic, when children drank whisky for breakfast… The first Canada Day, when a father of Confederation was burned in effigy with a live rat… Canada’s evolution from the rule of aristocracy to arguably the world’s most successful democracy… How Canadian diversity became the multicultural model for a troubled world… How Canada established the International Criminal Court in the face of opposition from the United States… And half a dozen more fascinating stories.
“Amazing stuff about Canada,” writes popular historian Christopher Moore.