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LEAVING THE PAST BEHIND: Newfoundland History from 1934
Patrick O'Flaherty

LEAVING THE PAST BEHIND: Newfoundland History from 1934 Patrick O'Flaherty

308 pp./ paper
With notes, bibliography, and index
ISBN 978-0-9680998-4-1

Price: CDN$29.95

Book Description
This book is about the loss of a country from the map of the world.

Leaving the Past Behind completes Patrick O'Flaherty's three-volume history of Newfoundland. His first volume, Old Newfoundland, and his second, Lost Country, take that history through to the crisis of 1933 when the legislature voted itself out of existence and handed control of affairs to a British-appointed oligarchy, the Commission of Government. Here he follows the narrative through the remainder of the harsh 1930s, World War II, the succeeding debates and referenda on Newfoundland's constitutional future, and events beyond them. His main focus is upon the Newfoundland people, upon what they were thinking and feeling that led a majority of them to make their life-changing decision in 1948 to forsake their country and join Canada, a decision that implicated not only their generation but generations to come, stretching ahead for - who knows how long? It is a story featuring embittered argument, backroom conniving, political manipulation, and great sadness.

O'Flaherty writes with feeling about the fate of this small, quasi-nation on the fringe of North America. The book discusses British colonial policy, the wartime involvements of American and Canadian armed forces in the society, and the growth of a confederate movement that was supported by closeted bureaucrats and politicians in London and Ottawa and a clutch of intellectuals and eminences at home.

Patrick O'Flaherty is professor emeritus (English) at Memorial University in St. John's. His books, apart from his histories, include The Rock Observed: Studies in the Literature of Newfoundland (1979), a witty travel guide to the island of Newfoundland, Come Near at Your Peril (3 ed., 1998), and a futuristic novel, Benny's Island (1994).

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