Monday, January 19, 2009

Niagara, A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton

August 10, 2008
Canadian Challenge II
Back to History
Pierre Berton's epic about one of the great wonders of the world is superbly researched and wonderfully written. From the time of its discovery by white explorers (obviously, Native Americans would be the original discoverers) until the present, the falls have been the center of excitement, exploitation, modern innovation and high theatrics. The cast of characters is huge. Some were selfish and used the Falls for their own gain by taking advantage of tourists. Others ruined the natural beauty of the area in order to provide cheap power for the proliferation of factories in the name of progress. Then there were those who sought to preserve the falls and its environs. Berton also describes the exploits of thrill seekers and dare devils who went over the Falls in barrels or cross the river on tightwires. I found the opening section about how the Falls were formed thousands of years ago very interesting. The chapter about the Love Canal catastrophe was very eye-opening. I must have been in a fog when all that was taking place. I found Berton's treatment to be quite objective, only leaning toward the Canadian advantage slightly, which could be justified. This is a large book, 449 pages, which, while I enjoyed learning about the Falls, I won't be reading again.
Rating: 4.25
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Posted by Framed at 6:20 PM

Bobbi said...
Nice review! I've been to Niagra Falls only once, and I visited from the Canadian side - beautiful!
8/10/2008 8:10 PM
Nicola said...
I read this once a long time ago when it first came out. But now that I live here in The Falls, Canada, I've been wanting to re-read it. Great review!
8/11/2008 10:11 AM
Booklogged said...
I saw the falls from the Canadian side, too and it was spectacular. I think I'd enjoy reading this.
8/11/2008 9:28 PM
Trish said...
The falls are so beautiful (yes yes the Canadian side). We'll be in Ontario in a week so hopefully we'll be able to make a trip (about 2 hours) to see them again.
8/12/2008 6:32 PM
Bookfool said...
I've been to the falls twice, both from the Canadian side. It wasn't until we visited that I realized that Love Canal was in the area. Great review! 449 pages sounds like a bit much, but it still sounds like a terrific read.

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