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Grand Manan: A Large History of a Small Island

ISBN: 9780773533417 | 0773533419
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: McGill Queens Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 12/1/2016

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The island of Grand Manan is both part of North America and apart from it. Situated at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, at the border between Canada and the United States, the Grand Manan Archipelago has - from the American War of Independence to NAFTA to ongoing discussions of a new Atlantic Regionalism - often been at the centre of Canadian-American land disputes. In a narrative that recalls Thoreau, Marc Shell starts from the cultural and natural history of the spectacularly beautiful island. Like a classical geographer, he explores how geology and biology blend with aesthetics and politics. Grand Manan has the highest tides in the world and majestic basalt cliffs. Its unique ecology has attracted visitors from John Audubon and the painters of the Hudson River Group to the scientific directors of the Smithsonian Museum. Shell demonstrates how, in this setting, the hospitable islanders, with the unique linguistic dialects of their five villages, have developed a vigilantly independent and self-sufficient political culture that is at once democratic in the Canadian tradition and republican in the American. In what can be read as both an interdisciplinary history and an encyclopedic travel guide, Shell paints the story of Grand Manan - its cultural history, geology, political past, changing economy, the immigration and emigration of its population - on the broad canvas it deserves.

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