Making History: The Story of Canada in the Twentieth Century – BAIN et al (CSS)

BAIN, Colin M.; DesRIVIERES, Dennis; FLAHERTY, Peter; GOODMAN, Donna M.; SCHEMENAUER, Elma; SCULLY, Angus L. Making History: The Story of Canada in the Twentieth Century. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2000. 440. Resenha de: SENGER, Elizabeth. Canadian Social Studies, v.37, n.2, 2003.

Colin Bain et al. have managed to produce a solid, basic overview of Canadian history in this volume. It is clearly a textbook destined for classrooms in the middle years. Skills development sections, chronological connections, items on changing technology and a focus on art make it a user friendly product; one well designed to guide student learning. Interesting activities are provided throughout the book, and particularly good evaluation techniques and case studies are also included. Making History is clearly designed to retain student interest – there are interesting and informative graphics, cartoons, excellent quality photographs and plenty of colour. Biographies of everyday people are also provided to make a real life connection for students. A detailed bibliography is provided to lend credibility, but also to direct the reader to further sources. A thorough glossary and index are also included. This bears mentioning because there seems to be a trend to delete these most useful tools from many current classroom works. Both the quality of production and inclusion of information from 1896 right up to 1999 are very good and the language and reading level are straightforward and conventional. Some of the cartoons, however, may require further explanation, both for students and instructors! Making History does a good job of providing a cross section of view points, both in encouraging students to evaluate issues from a variety of perspectives and with the inclusion of information about a number of groups which have been forgotten in other textbooks, namely women, immigrant minorities and First Nations peoples.

Another of its strengths seems to be the focus on skill development within the curriculum. At the end of Making History, for example, there is an excellent Historian’s Handbook which details how students can formulate research questions and carry out research using conventional and internet resources. It also gives very helpful guidelines for writing and for oral communication. This is such a valuable teaching tool that it would perhaps be more functional at the beginning of the book. It could certainly be used most effectively as an introduction to the whole practice of studying history.

Overall this is a good basic survey/outline history of Canada which should be a welcome addition to junior high schools throughout the country, and perhaps even on an international market. The greatest strength of Making History, however, does seem to be in teaching the process of studying history rather than in its content.

Elizabeth Senger – Henry Wise Wood High School. Calgary Alberta.

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