Book cover image for: Harm’s Way: Disasters in Western Canada

Harm's Way: Disasters in Western Canada

Edited by Anthony Rasporich and Max Foran

$24.95 CAD / $28.95 USD (S)

298 pages, 48 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-091-8 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-360-5 (Institutional PDF)

May 2004

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About the Book

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.

With Contributions By: Anthony Rasporich, Hugh A. Dempsey, Janice Dickin, Lorry W. Felske, Joe Cherwinski, Patrick H. Brennan, David Breen, Max Foran, David C. Jones, and J.M. Bumsted. 

Praise for Harm’s Way

These well-written, thoroughly researched, and generously illustrated essays convincingly demonstrate that both nature and human agency can cause disasters but that resilient western Canadians often overcame situations that had put them in harm’s way.

– Patricia E. Roy, Great Plains Quarterly

Table of Contents


Anthony Rasporich

Smallpox: Scourge of the Plains
Hugh A. Dempsey

Pale Horse/Pale History?:Revisiting Calgary’s Experience of the Spanish Influenza, 1918–19
Janice Kickin

The Great Rock Slide at Frank

Lorry W. Felske

Horror Stories: The Tales of Frozen Prairie Settlers During the Brutal Winter of 1906–7
Joe Cherwinski

It’s an Ill Wind that Blow Nobody Good: Regina’s 1912 "Cyclone"
Patrick H. Brennan

Atlantic No. 3. Disaster: From Raging Inferno to Beacon of Promise
David Breen

It Could Have Been Much Worse: The 1942 Outbreak of Foot in Mouth Disease in Saskatchewan
Max Foran

Putting Down Roots: The Historical Origins of the ONgiong Weed Diaster on the Canadian Prairies
Clint Evans

The Toll of Two Images
David C. Jones

Flooding in the Red River Valley of the North
J.M. Bumsted