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274 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW the averageindividualto own,especially astheycannotbe usedwithouta reader;buttheirexistence means thattheKingdiaries, whichformerlycould beconsulted onlybyavisittoOttawa,arenownofartheroffthanthenextlarge library. Weshould allsalute thevarious people whomadethispossible. c.P.STACEY Massey College, University ofToronto TheMaking ofE.P.Thompson: Marxism, Humanism, andHistory. BRYAN D.PALMER. Toronto,New HogtownPress,1981.Pp.ii, 144.$4.95. Edward Thompson hasbecome something ofatouchstone forthenewersocial historianson thissideof the Atlantic, and an assessment of the man asathinker, scholar, andactivist isatimelyproject. In BryanD. Palmer's book-length essay Thompson hasbeen wellserved byadevoted disciple whohasbeenattempting tobringsome of theBritishhistorian's insights tohisownworkonCanadian working-class history. Anyone lacking thetimetorootoutandwadethrough Thompson's intellectual corpus willfindPalmer's Making alively summary and defence oftheman's writings, bothacademic andpolitical. The bookismuchmore,however, thanintellectual history; it is,morepointedly , a'political intervention: Bydemonstrating theclose andongoing connectionbetween Thompson's historical writingandhispolitical commitments fromhisearlydays intheBritish Communist party, through hiscurrent leadershipof thenucleardisarmamentmovement- Palmersetsouttoshowuswhat the writingof socialist-humanist historyis all about.He sees hisessay asa corrective, since Thompson's activism hasgenerally beenoverlooked by the manyNorthAmericanhistorians whohavedepoliticized hisacademic work. The bookisstronger onsummary thananalysis. The onlyreallycriticalnote istheauthor's rejection of Thompson's libertarianpolitical stylein favourof Leninistorganization - acurious departurefromanotherwise complete identification withThompson's views onpolitics andhistory. Onemighthavehoped for somerecognition ofThompson's notorious irascibility asa politicalanimal and,moreimportantly, some deeperprobing intotheambiguities andinconsistencies in hisincreasingly anti-theoretical posture.Countless historians and social scientists - including manyMarxists - nodoubtshare Thompson's (and Palmer's) rejectionof an arid, staticstructuraldeterminism; but manyare frustrated bytheelusiveness of someofThompson's analytical idiosyncracies and hispersistent unwillingness to consolidate hisconclusions and generalizations into anythingthatmightresemble 'theory'.Historians of twentiethcenturysociety , for example,mightlike someclearerindications of how to carry the Thompsonian 'culturalist'perspective from the ageof incipient capitalist industrialization intothemonopoly capitalist era. Tobefair,however, Palmer promises apolemical essay, notafullexegesis of Thompsonian Marxism. In thatefforthesucceeds admirably. He has,in fact, REVIEWS 275 donewhattoofewCanadianhistorians arepreparedtodo:hehasdeclaredhis allegiance forcefullyandeloquently. The practice of history, theory,andpoliticsin Canadawouldbenefitfrommoreof suchengaged intellectual work. CRAIt;•ERO• York University Journals of theColonial Legislatures of theColonies ofVancouver IslandandBritish Columbia, 1851-1871,Vols. I-V. Edited with an introduction by j•,s•Es e. •e•Da•CKSO•.Victoria,Provincial Archives of BritishColumbia,•98o. Pp.li, 43•,,478, 6•,, 44•, 668, illus.$•5o.oothe set. Thesefivevolumes contain therecord ofthedeliberations ofthelegislatures of colonialVancouver Islandand BritishColumbia.They includethe official proceedings of theCouncil, Executive Council, Legislative Council, andGeneralAssembly of thecolony ofVancouver IslandandtheExecutive Counciland theLegislative Council ofthecolony ofBritishColumbia. Withtheexception of thedebate onthesubject ofconfederation withCanadaheldin theLegislative Councilof BritishColumbiain March •87o, theserecordsdo not provide anything likeaverbatim account oftheproceedings. Theyarenot,astheeditor pointsout, a Hansard,whichwassomethingthat BritishColumbiawasto continue tobewithoutfor morethanonehundredyears afterConfederation. The documents publishedherearerather theminutesof meetings,andoften very sketchyonesat that. They are, nevertheless, the officialrecordof the uniqueconstitutional development of thetwocolonies andof theearlyformationof BritishColumbia's particularpolitical culture.Boththeeditor,James E. Hendrickson,and,at a timewhensupportfor suchmajoreditorialprojects is increasingly hardtofind, theProvincial Archives of BritishColumbiaaretobe congratulated on thepublication of thesevolumes. Whileportions of thisrecordhavebeenpublished before,theeditor's major contribution hasbeento providea complete anddefinitivetext.Partsof the Minutesof theCouncilandtheHouseofAssembly of Vancouver Islandwere published asProvincial Archives Memoirs in •918andtheJournals ofthe Legislative Council ofBritish Columbia were published at the time, aswasthe debateon Confederation includedhereasanappendixtoVolumev.Now,for thefirst time,theentirerecordhasbeenbroughttogether. The editorialobjective has beentoreproduce theoriginal document asclosely asispossible inprint.There aresome inevitable slips, including theunlikely event oftheLegislative Council of Vancouver Islandmeetingon 'Sunday, the astdayof September, a866' (VolumeI, 369).Purists amonghistorical editorsmay. objectto the factthat therehasbeensome silent correction ofobvious errorseventhoughithasbeen doneaccording to principles outlinedin the introduction.Marginalannotationsin theoriginalhavebeenomittedfromthisversion withoutexplanation. By and large,however,a comparison of thistextwith the originalwill reveal ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 274-275
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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