The stories told in this collection, though tragic for many, illustrate the steadfast determination and courage of people in the face of misfortune and extreme distress. From the lesser-known weed outbreaks and tornadoes to the world-wide influenza outbreak in 1918 that devastated many Calgary families, these stories focus on the human side of these disasters. It may be a heroic individual or the collective response of a community, but what is truly remarkable in these stories is the human response to the world being turned upside down by famine and disease, by flood, fire, or rock slide, by wind and cold, by dynamite or gas explosions, or even by the seemingly mundane threat of weeds upon crops. It is the resolution to continue to fight and the persistence of the human spirit and its adaptability to challenges that is the true story of a century of development in western Canada.
Anthony Rasporich is former dean of Social Sciences and professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.
Max Foran has been working the field of western Canadian history for over thirty years and has published on various urban, rural, and cultural topics. He is currently a professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.
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