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J.B. McLachlan: A Biography
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J.B. McLachlan: A Biography

The Story of a Legendary Labour Leader and the Cape Breton Coal Miners

By David Frank

$39.95 Hardback
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This authoritative biography tells the story of legendary labour leader James Bryson McLachlan, champion of the Cape Breton Coal Miners in the early decades of the twentieth century. Charged with sedition in 1923, McLachlan's case was one of the most notorious political trials ever held in Nova Scotia. By the 1920s and 1930s, McLachlan was known across the country as a spokesman for the radical left in Canada. He helped change the balance of power in industrial society and advanced the struggle for social and economic justice. This book won the Kenny Prize for Labour History, the Dafoe Book Prize and was short listed for the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize.

Contents:
Introduction
Book I: To Redeem the World, 1869-1916
Book II: The Economic Gospel, 1916-22
Book III: Crime and Punishment, 1923-25
Book IV: Education for Action, 1925-36
Epilogue

Awards

Winner - John W. Dafoe Book Prize - 1999

...a wonderfully complete narrative that resounds with the noises of the meeting halls and mine shafts and courtrooms and royal commission hearings in which McLachlan left an indelible impression. This biography of a working-class leader is unequaled in Canadian labour history. Its greatest strength is that it consistently provides enough detail to satisfy one's need for context and yet not so much that one loses sight of McLachlan himself. And what a character he is.

- Gerald Friesen Acadiensis Reader

J.B. McLachlan is a bold and impressive attempt to weave these two stories-- the personal and the political--
together.
This is most definitely not just a book about Cape Breton coal miners.
More than twenty years in the making, J.B. McLachlan is a model of meticulous research and careful synthesis of evidence. Through a careful and thorough search of archival material, published sources, and oral testimony, Frank has produced not just a fine biography of an important labour leader but one of the most comprehensive biographies of any Canadian to appear in recent years.
Frank's biography is an eloquent testimony to the man's dedication and commitment to building a better world, and a valuable reminder that Canada's history flows in many directions.

- David Bright, U. of Calgary Canadian Historical Review

A lively and necessary slice of Canadian history

- H.J. Kirchhoff Globe and Mail

"J. B. McLachlan is a towering figure in early Canadian labour history, and in Cape Breton he is revered not only as a labour leader but as a social visionary and a great moral exemplar. His story, now made accessible is a fine new biography by David Frank, is not merely a fascinating glimpse at the past: it is also an inspiration for the struggles of the future."

- Silver Donald Cameron

...a wonderfully complete narrative that resounds with the noises of the meeting halls and mine shafts and courtrooms and royal commission hearings in which McLachlan left an indelible impression. This biography of a working-class leader is unequaled in Canadian labour history. Its greatest strength is that it consistently provides enough detail to satisfy one's need for context and yet not so much that one loses sight of McLachlan himself. And what a character he is.

- Craig Heron

J.B. McLachlan is a bold and impressive attempt to weave these two stories-- the personal and the political--
together.
This is most definitely not just a book about Cape Breton coal miners.
More than twenty years in the making, J.B. McLachlan is a model of meticulous research and careful synthesis of evidence. Through a careful and thorough search of archival material, published sources, and oral testimony, Frank has produced not just a fine biography of an important labour leader but one of the most comprehensive biographies of any Canadian to appear in recent years.
Frank's biography is an eloquent testimony to the man's dedication and commitment to building a better world, and a valuable reminder that Canada's history flows in many directions.

- Alistair MacLeod

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 592 pages
Publication Date: 1st January 1999
ISBN: 9781550286779
Format: 9in x 6in

BISAC Code:  POL005000
Imprint: Lorimer


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