In the early 1900s, British Columbia embarked on a brief but intenseeffort to manufacture a modern countryside. The government wished toreward veterans of the Great War with new lives: soliders and othersettlers would benefit from living in a rural community, considered amore healthy and moral alternative to urban life. But the fundamentalreason for the land resettlement project was the rise of progressive or"new liberal" thinking, as reformers advocated an expandedrole for the state in guaranteeing the prosperity and economic securityof its citizens.
This ideological shift pushed the government to intervene directlyin the management of not only society but also the natural environment.As most arable, accessible land in British Columbia was already beingfarmed by 1919, the state had to undertake environmental engineeringprojects on a scale not yet attempted in the province. Creating aModern Countryside examines how this process unfolded, identifiesits successes and failures, and demonstrates how the human-environmentrelationship of the early twentieth century shaped the province asit is today.
James Murton is an associate professor of history atNipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.
List of Illustrations Foreword: Soldiers' Fields / Graeme Wynn Acknowledgments A Note on Terminology and Units of Measure Introduction Part 1: A Modern Countryside 1 Liberalism and the Land 2 Soldiers, Science, and an Alternative Modernity Part 2: Where Apples Grow Best 3 Stump Farms: Soldier Settlement at Merville 4 Creating Order at Sumas 5 Achieving the Modern Countryside Part 3: Back to Work 6 Pattullo's New Deal Conclusion Appendix Notes Bibliography Index