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Righting Canada's Wrongs: Italian Canadian Internment in the Second World War
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Righting Canada's Wrongs: Italian Canadian Internment in the Second World War

By Pamela Hickman and Jean Smith Cavalluzzo

$34.95 Hardback
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Series: Righting Canada's Wrongs

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Italians came to Canada to seek a better life. From the 1870s to the 1920s they arrived in large numbers and found work mainly in mining, railway building, forestry, construction, and farming. As time passed, many used their skills to set up successful small businesses, often in Little Italy districts in cities like Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and Winnipeg. Many struggled with the language and culture in Canada, but their children became part of the Canadian mix.

When Canada declared war on Italy on June 10, 1940, the government used the War Measures Act to label all Italian citizens over the age of eighteen as enemy aliens. Those who had received Canadian citizenship after 1922 were also deemed enemy aliens. Immediately, the RCMP began making arrests. Men, young and old, and a few women were taken from their homes, offices, or social clubs without warning. In all, about 700 were imprisoned in internment camps, mainly in Ontario and New Brunswick.

The impact of this internment was felt immediately by families who lost husbands and fathers, but the effects would live on for decades. Eventually, pressure from the Italian Canadian community led Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to issue an apology for the internment and to admit that it was wrong.

Using historical photographs, paintings, documents, and first-person narratives, this book offers a full account of this little-known episode in Canadian history.

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Bound for Canada

Seeking a Better Life
The Immigrants
Why Choose Canada?
Canada in the Early Twentieth Century

Chapter 2: Italian Canadians 1900–1939

Men at Work
Women at Work
Achievers in the Italian-Canadian Community
Italian Neighbourhoods
Italian Culture
Targets of Racism

Chapter 3: The Rise of Racism

Links to the Home Country
Fascism in Italy and Canadian Connections
Fascism and its Opponents in Canada

Chapter 4: Canada at War

Canada at War
Italian Canadians Join the War Effort

Chapter 5: Enemy Aliens

Italian Canadians Become Enemy Aliens
Targeted for Internment
Life Becomes Harder

Chapter 5: Internment and Forced Labour

Camp Petawawa and KP4W
Camp Ripples

Chapter 6: Wartime Family Life for Italian Canadians

A Broken Community
Suddenly Poor

Chapter 7:Returning Home

Arbitrary Release
Life After Internment
Postwar Life for Italian Canadians

Chapter 8:Acknowledging the Past

Apologies
Permanent Acknowledgements

Timeline

Glossary

For Further Reading

Visual Credits

Index

Awards

Commended - Best Books for Kids & Teens *Starred Selection* (Canadian Children's Book Centre) - 2013

Long-listed - Information Book Award - 2013

Commended - One of the Year's Best for 2013 (Resource Links) - 2013

"Even if a community can "move on", a story like this should never be forgotten. Italian Canadian Internment during the Second World War does an excellent job of telling the story of an ethnic community subjected to grossly unfair treatment and systemic discrimination, both by fellow Canadians and, most regrettably, the Canadian government. The book features a wealth of well-captioned visual material: colour and black and white photos, facsimiles of personal and government documents, and most powerfully, first-person accounts from the many who suffered as a result of the War Measures Act." Highly Recommended.

- Joanne Peters CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Read an interview with the authors of Italian Canadian Internment.

"Hickman and Smith Cavalluzzo have written an informative and visually appealing book about the internment of Italian Canadians, incorporating personal photographs and testimonies, newspaper articles, historical photographs and many other primary sources." Full Review

- LibrisNotes

"This book is very well-done... The visuals are spectacular and will surely be a drawing card for students at the upper elementary and junior high levels" Rated E, excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

- Victoria Pennell Resource Links

PAMELA HICKMAN is the author of over thirty-five non-fiction books for children, including winners of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, the Best Book Award from the Society of School Librarians International, and the Canadian Authors Association Lilla Sterling Memorial Award. She co-authored the first book in this series, Righting Canada's Wrongs: Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War. She lives in Canning, Nova Scotia.
JEAN SMITH CAVALLUZZO is a Toronto writer interested in social justice issues. She has degrees in sociology and social work as well as a diploma in journalism. Her articles have appeared in Chatelaine, the Toronto Star, Eye-talian Magazine, and the Globe and Mail. She has also written for CBC radio. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 112 pages
Publication Date: 10th October 2012
ISBN: 9781459400955
Format: 11in x 9in

BISAC Code:  4.0.2.0.0.0.0, YAN025050, YAN025130, YAN051090, YAN051180
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 13 To 18

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A highly visual and engaging look at racism and discrimination in Canada's history

Series Website

Series features

  • Voices and stories of those who were affected
  • Geared to support history and civics curriculums
  • Full-colour images of period artifacts, maps, documents and historic photographs
  • Teachers Resource Guide prepared by the Critical Thinking Consortium
"As indicated by its name, this series is hopeful. It is not about opening old wounds; it's about remembering the past, understanding it and moving forward." Nikkei Voice

Righting Canada's Wrongs is a series devoted to the exploration of the Canadian government's actions that violated the rights of groups of Canadian citizens, the subsequent fight for acknowledgement and justice, and the eventual apologies and restitution by governments.