In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

178 The Canadian Historical Review Quebec. For instance, he claims that the celebration surrounding the unveiling of a monument to Mgr Frans:ois de Laval, an event closely related to the tercentenary, was held in 1908 on the 'two hundred and fiftieth anniversary ofthe great bishop's death'; in fact, it was the bicentenary of Laval's death. Nelles also errs in claiming that the Champlain monument in Quebec City, the erection of which was also germane to the tercentenary, was constructed in 1897, and not 1898 as should be the case. In trying to set the political scene at the time ofthe tercentenary, he remarks that 'since 1900 Liberals controlled the provincial government,' when the correct date is 1897. On another level, I wondered why it was necessary to refer to nationalist 'extremism' in Quebec, when there are no references to imperialist 'extremism.' These glitches stand out, in part because they constitute the only real flaws in a book that is brilliantly written and exhaustively researched, and that provides a fascinating account of the multiple perspectives from which the most important commemorative event in Canada's history was understood by those who were touched by it. RONALD RUDIN Concordia University Families in Transition: Industry and Population in Nineteenth-Century Saint-Hyacinthe. PETER GOSSAGE. McGill-Queen's University Press 1999. Pp. 300, illus. $60.00 cloth When family history became a defined subfield ofthe 'new social history' that explored ordinary lives in the past, the surest way across the rather obstructed threshold ofprivate homes appeared to be quantitative. By the early 1960s, French historical demographers working out ofthe Institut national des etudes demographiques had refined a family reconstitution technique that gave historians an innovative framework for family history , further developed by Peter Laslett and the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.' Laslett's seminal work demonstrated that 'the great family of Western nostalgia' - the threegeneration household - represented only a tiny minority and that the nuclear family had actually preceded industrialization. In the wake of these findings, it soon appeared that there was nothing that could not be 1 The early 1970s marked the publication oftwo immensely influential works, Peter Laslett and R. Wall, eds., Household and Family in Past Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1972), and T.K. Rabb and R.I. Rotberg. eds., The Family in History: Interdisciplinary Essays (New York: Harper and Row 1973). The flagship Journal ofFamily History began publication in 1976. Book Reviews 179 counted and aggregated in the interests of knowing how real families once lived out their destinies. The data's own limitations, however, actually meant that space and time were fairly circumscribed, as were any generalizations that could be made about families from available samples. In Canada, Louise Dechene's Habitants et marchands de Montreal au XVIIe siecle demonstrated that New France families remained large owing to the availability ofland, but were nonetheless nuclear in structure . Dechene's masterful study was followed closely by historical demographies of communities in pre-Confederation Canada West, where, in both urban and rural settings, the relationship of work and family was already being tested by socioeconomic changes. Michael Katz's People of Hamilton, Canada West: Family and Class in a MidNineteenth -Century City, and David Gagan's Hopeful Travellers: Families, Land, and Social Change in Mid-Victorian Peel County, Canada West confirmed that such correlates as land ownership, family size, prospects ofinheritance, and economic status determined both the family's ability to sustain and reproduce itself, and also its contributions to developing communities. More recently, in his comprehensive Quelques arpents d'Amerique: Population, economie,famille au Saguenay, 1838-1971, Gerard Bouchard examined the rich data ofQuebec's parish registers, as well as census returns, to reconstitute virtually the entire population of the Saguenay region. The family reproduction processes witnessed in the Saguenay were not local variants defined by language, religion, and culture, Bouchard concluded, but intrinsic to a larger North American process oftransformation.2 As attested to by Bouchard's award-winning work, and now Peter Gossage's contribution, historical demography is still a significant force in family history circles, even ifit no longer predominates. In Families in Transition, Gossage employs the well...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 178-184
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.