Outlier: Life, Law, and Politics in the West
Benchmark Press / 7 February 2017

Outlier: Life, Law and Politics in the West by Garrett Wilson Published by Benchmark Press Review by Keith Foster $24.95 ISBN 978-1-927352-28-1 In his hard-hitting autobiography, Outlier: Life, Law and Politics in the West, retired lawyer and author Garrett Wilson doesn’t pull any punches. He tells it as he sees it, exposing scandalous government corruption at both provincial and federal levels. His chapter on Hazen Argue and his wife Jean, for instance, exposes outrageous abuses in the Canadian Senate. The Outlier title may be somewhat misleading as it implies Wilson is on the outside looking in while momentous decisions are being made. But Wilson is not merely an eyewitness to history; he‘s at its very nerve centre and plays a role in making that history. When the Ku Klux Klan tries to intimidate Wilson’s father in the 1920s by burning a cross just outside their village, Wilson may sense he’s in for a rough life. He develops a severe kidney infection and his older brother Kevin is killed in World War II. While studying law at the University of Saskatchewan, Wilson becomes editor of The Sheaf, the student newspaper, winning three trophies, including one for best editorials. He begins to…

In the Temple of the Rain God
University of Regina Press / 20 April 2016

In the Temple of the Rain God: The Life and Times of ‘Irish’ Charlie Wilson by Garrett Wilson Published by Canadian Plains Research Center Review by Keith Foster $29.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-288-5 Reading In the Temple of the Rain God: The Life and Times of “Irish” Charlie Wilson is like getting two stories in one, or more precisely, a story within a story. The subject of this biography is one that author Garrett Wilson is intimately familiar with –his father. A family history, this book is also a history of Saskatchewan’s first 50 years as seen through the eyes of one man. In weaving a narrative of his father, Garrett quotes heavily from a combination of diary entries, correspondence, and tape-recorded reminiscences that his sister had the foresight to record. As a result, Charlie is able to tell his own story in his own words. Born in Ireland, Charlie immigrated in 1905, the year Saskatchewan became a province, and settled, appropriately, in Limerick, SK. He wore many hats in his lifetime – homesteader, businessman, politician, and debt adjuster. Charlie hobnobbed with prominent politicians of the new province. A genial host, he had all but one of Saskatchewan’s early premiers stay overnight…

Frontier Farewell, Second Edition
University of Regina Press / 2 February 2016

Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West by Garrett Wilson Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $34.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-361-5 You can gauge the importance of a book when it is released as a new edition. There’s a reason some books go into a second printing – the demand for more copies is just too great. Back by popular demand, a second edition of Garrett Wilson’s Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West, with a new foreword by Candace Savage, has been released. As the subtitle suggests, Frontier Farewell focuses on the 1870s. In a single generation, the face of the West was transformed forever. Rupert’s Land was transferred from the Hudson’s Bay Company to the new Dominion of Canada, leading to the First Riel Rebellion at Fort Garry, treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants in the West, surveys along the International Boundary, the formation of the North-West Mounted Police, and side effects from the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Wilson covers it all. Frontier Farewell is rife with political intrigue. American activists in Minnesota and Dakota Territory coveted the vast territory to their north and wanted to add…

Frontier Farwell

Frontier Farewell. The 1870s and the End of the Old West by Garrett Wilson Published by University of Regina Reviewed by Tim Tokaryk $19.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-193-2 The hoof prints have long since gone. The imprinted sand and clays quickly re-shaped by time, returned to a landscape dominated by natural grasses and sagebrush. But in cluttered archives and journal scrawlings their imprint remains. The impressions, ideas, hopes, and simple need for survival of the people of Canada’s West are newly amalgamated in Garrett Wilson’s Frontier Farewell, The 1870s and the End of the Old West. In this heavily researched volume, Wilson suggests that this period was pivotal to the shaping of the prairies and Canada as a nation. The Dominion of Canada, fearful of annexation by U.S. expansionismwas incensed in the marking of its territory, particularly along the seemingly arbitrary line of the 49th parallel: a line that didn’t follow any topographical relief or structure, a line determined in a country across an ocean. Despite what was decided in the mother land thousands of kilometers away or in the nation’s eastern capital, which seemed like another world in and of itself, the reality of determining the right course of action had…

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