A Geography of Blood

A Geography of Blood

[unearthing Memory From A Prairie Landscape]

Book - 2012
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* Finalist, Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction

When Candace Savage and her partner buy a house in the romantic little town of Eastend, she has no idea what awaits her. At first she enjoys exploring the area around their new home, including the boyhood haunts of the celebrated American writer Wallace Stegner, the back roads of the Cypress Hills, the dinosaur skeletons at the T.Rex Discovery Centre, the fossils to be found in the dust-dry hills. She also revels in her encounters with the wild inhabitants of this mysterious land-three coyotes in a ditch at night, their eyes glinting in the dark; a deer at the window; a cougar pussy-footing it through a gully a few minutes' walk from town.

But as Savage explores further, she uncovers a darker reality-a story of cruelty and survival set in the still-recent past--and finds that she must reassess the story she grew up with as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of prairie homesteaders.

Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and imbued with Savage's passion for this place, A Geography of Blood offers both a shocking new version of plains history and an unforgettable portrait of the windswept, shining country of the Cypress Hills.
Publisher: Vancouver, B.C. : David Suzuki Foundation : Greystone Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9781553652342
Characteristics: 213 pages :,maps ;,22 cm.


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Jan 14, 2019

More interesting than I expected.

An unusual book, in some respects--as much as an informal history of one of Canada's well-known areas (The Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan) as it is a book of geography.

The author's done her research--formal and informal--which is great. But a word or two about the "history," especially the famed Cyrpess Hills massacre and, later, the arrival of Sitting Bull's Sioux--and what happened later to both Sitting Bull's people--and Canada's own prairie tribes.

This book is difficult to classify, but it might be termed a "Personal Meditation," and the facts here are delivered comes through the prism of early-21st century attitudes. I prefer my history "straight," but given the paucity of popular Canadian histories (certainly after Pierre Berton died), I'll take anything I can get. Just a word of warning: take the 19th century facts. Skip the contemporary sensitivities.

Understand that author CandAce Savage took the Hilary Weston Writer's Trust prize for this book. Congratulations. It's worth $60,000. Most Canadians earn that much as a salary within a few months. Suspect this book took over a year to write, edit and publish. And, for all but a few notable Canadian authors--fiction and non-fiction--the amount STILL represents a huge sum--the Canadian Writers' Union tells us it's more than four times the annual earnings the average writer earns in a year.
Tells you how much we value our written "Canadian culture."

Aug 02, 2015

Bravo to Candace Savage! She examines herself, her history, and this country’s past with unflinching honesty. Savage is able to capture and articulate the discomfort that has always floated at the edges of settler consciousness. Many passages will resonate deeply with settler descendants. If, like me, you are on a path to try and find a path toward healing Canada’s history so we can create an honourable present & future, this book offers guidance.

Feb 28, 2015

I really wanted to know the content but it was such a difficult read, maybe the writing style. I took this book out three different times before I managed to get through it.

Jul 20, 2013

Ottawa readers may wish to read about native people and a treaty that was imposed on them closer to home. Try "Four Voices The Great Manitoulin Island Treaty of 1862" by Shelley Pearen. "Four Voices" reveals the innermost thoughts of people who assembled 150 years ago to negotiate the future of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world.

Mar 03, 2013

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. If you're interested in Canadian history of any kind, look no further. Or, if you want to take a peek into aboriginal issues in Canada, this book provides a rich, sad, but beautifully written account. I couldn't recommend this book more highly.

LaughingOne Feb 23, 2013

Starting from the natural history of the prairies, Candace Savage studied the Cypress Hills area with her partner. When the hills and the prairie spoke to her, and when the animals that live there also drew her attention, she listened. And she decided to investigate and learn more. Savage's writing is personable and full of such descriptions that I too want to go to the Cypress Hills area of Saskatchewan. As she became aware of the lack of history of the people who first inhabited the area, she was determined to find them and their stories: Stories of being lied to by the Great White Mother (Queen of England and her representatives): stories of desperation and hunger. More of the true history of Canada and the settling of the West by the white immigrants is documented in this book. Well done, Candace Savage. I do hope you are sharing some of the prize money with the indigenous people you interviewed for your book.

Feb 23, 2013

A good book to read, if not somewhat uncomfortable as to its conclusions. Difficult to accept that so recently in our Western history that there was such a deliberate and callous effort by our federal government to systematically remove native Canadians from long occcupied lands to make way for western settlement. The extensive biblography that Savage annotates at the end of her book suggests that she may be a little more than correct about her conclusions. The bibliography warrants further reading.

Feb 17, 2013

Beautifully, and sometimes humorously, written, the author is above-all a humanist, recognizing the fallibility in all of us, with an eye for the small details that really give a sense of the scene. Highly recommended.

Dec 29, 2012

This is an essential read for any Canadian (or North American, for that matter). I had first learned about this subject matter in my first year of university, and after reading Savage's book the passion for this topic has once again been renewed within me. I especially appreciate her love of Canada and the prairies because so many people overlook where they live for places that seem 'greater'. Alberta is a great place and her vibrant imagery that describes it is refreshing and makes the reader want to venture out into the great wide landscape that surrounds us. Excellent Read. Very well written. I am very glad that I waited for this book.

debwalker Nov 17, 2012

Saskatchewan writer Candace Savage won the 2012 $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape.

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Dec 29, 2012

taylrmari thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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