Book Reviews

Book Review: Grand Pre


Mi’kmaq people inhabited Grand Pre, a region in today’s Nova Scotia, for thousands of years, before the French arrived and started building dikes (also spelled dykes) to drain the soil for farming.

Although settlers had no machinery or engineering know-how, they managed to build dikes that functioned perfectly; some of which function to this days flawlessly.

Grand Pre is hoe to the world’s highest tides, and some of North America’s most productive agricultural land.

The natural setting at Grand Pre is exceptional, and not just because of its picturesque scenery. It is also fascinating from both a natural and historical point of view.

Its strategic location attracted the attention of English explorers. The ruling government wanted to settle Grand Pre with Scots and English to gain control of the east coast of Canada.

In 1755 the English decided to “forcibly relocate” Acadians who had been there for several decades. Families were forcibly broken up. Some families were “shipped” to Louisiana, others to New England states. A tragedy befell Acadians; they continue to remember this in their songs and culture.

To this day there are still Acadians in Louisiana who speak a version of 18th century French mixed with English and American words.

The authors, a historian and an archivist and historian, explain in great detail the geologic formation of Grand Pre, the history of Miq’mak, Acadians, and English in the region.

This is a richly illustrated book with many highly interesting pictures and new information about the evolution of French and English political events including wars.

Anyone interested in Acadian, and/ or North American history in general will benefit from reading this highly informative book.

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