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368 The Canadian Historical Review Rawlyk's cutting-edge scholarship and his considerable vibrancy and influence. DAVID B. MARSHALL University ofCalgary 'Toil and Peaceful Life': Doukhobor Village Settlement in Saskatchewan, 1899-1918. CARL r. TRACIE. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center 1996. Pp. 230, illus. $24.00 Many aspects of Doukhobor history have sparked scholarly interest: persecution in Russia, pacifism, the struggle to establish communal agriculture in western Canada, conflicts with the Canadian government for refusing to comply with homestead and citizenship regulations, and the notorious demonstrations of nudity, arson, and farm animal liberation by the Sons of Freedom sect. In 1968 Ivan Avakumovic and George Woodcock explored these themes in The Doukhobors, a highly praised book upheld by many as a model for the writing of ethnic history. In Toil and Peaceful Life, Carl Tracie does not ignore the dramatic themes of that seminal study, but his attention is focused elsewhere. He investigates the impact of the Doukhobors on the Saskatchewan landscape. His specific target is fifty-seven centralized farm villages transplanted from the old world. Tracie marks their locations (and relocations), monitors their population changes, and scrutinizes their layouts, architecture, and building materials. He also charts their progress in cultivating surrounding farmlands, and inventories their livestock, implements, and cottage industries. To do so, he employs a technique favoured by many historical geographers: providing snapshots or 'cross-sectional' views of the cultural landscape in particular years. Tracie selected three years particularly rich in sources that marked significant phases in the development of Doukhobor settlements : 1899, when immigrants first arrived and established themselves on the land; 1905, when communal life under the leadership of Peter Verigin reached its zenith; and 1913, when decline was clearly evident due to conflicts with the dominion government and the migration of many Doukhobors to British Columbia. For each year, the author looks closely at each of the major Doukhobor reserves in turn, and provides transitional chapters on the intervening periods. Tracie's methodology and organizational structure result in much unwelcome repetition, but there are compensating virtues. His fastidious attention to detail reveals tremendous diversity within Doukhobor society. He notes, for example, that some Doukhobors committed Book Reviews 369 themselves fully to communalism, while others practised it in varying degrees, and still others remained wholly individualistic. Even among communalists, some rejected the leadership and vision of Peter Verigin and organized independent communes. The relative proportions of these various forms of economic cooperation varied from reserve to reserve, from village to village, and even within villages. This diversity sprang, in part, from differences among groups ofDoukhobors that emigrated from various regions in Russia, and from the specific qualities of the lands on which they settled. But Doukhobor society also experienced repeated upheavals, and its diverse character changed over time. Tracie cannot be accused of overgeneralization; at times, his meticulous research leads him to note so many exceptions, insert so many qualifications, and draw such fine distinctions that his generalizations almost fade away entirely. Nonetheless, he is able to demonstrate how the cultural landscape reflected this diversity. Economically independent Doukhobors, for example, combined house and barn into single structures , while communal Doukhobors constructed large cooperative barns and built separate houses. Many admirable features of the book guide the reader through the complexity of description and analysis: clear prose, plenty of excellent maps and photographs, the relegation of many statistics to tables, and the placement of notes at the bottom of each page. The return ofthe notes to their proper place, for which the publisher deserves high praise, is especially valuable here because many of them are explanatory. For those interested in the religious-political history of the Doukhobors , the book refines, but does not supersede, the existing literature. Such readers may discover that they learn far more about Doukhobor settlement patterns than they ever wished to know. For those with a serious interest in cultural geography, however, the book makes a valuable and welcome appearance. PAUL VOISEY University ofAlberta Mennonites in Canada, 1939-1970: A People Traniformed. T.D. REGEHR. Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1996. Pp. xxxviii, 563, illus. $2 9·95 This is the third and, for the present, final volume of a history of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 368-369
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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