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Hearts of Oak – A Gaelic Legacy
A story about the arrival of two families, the MacDonalds and the Mackenzies, on Boularderie Island, Cape Breton. Written in English.
The result of two decades of research, travel, and interviews, Hearts of Oak illuminates the life and times of Gaelic Presbyterians from Scotland’s North-West Ross. Part memoir, part documentary, part social history, Hearts of Oak follows their arrival on the shores of Boularderie in 1837 to their gradual migration into urban areas. Through saved letters and diaries, the narrative is told through the eyes of a particular individual in each chapter. As their lives unfolded in the new world, remarkable stories emerged: the importance and spread of schools and academies, the scourge of tuberculosis and other epidemics that roared through colliery towns, the search for a better life which often meant migrating to the United States, not to mention global economic depressions that had dire impacts on the fragile economies of colliery towns. Gail MacDonald Crawford, a native Nova Scotian, has lived and worked in Ontario since 1959. Following her early education in Nova Scotia, she obtained an M.A. in history from the University of Toronto. She worked initially for CBC Radio in Halifax, then overseas with the BBC’s North American Services and in Toronto as a producer for CBC Radio, specializing in documentaries. More recently, she has been a magazine editor, freelance writer and editor and author of three books of non-fiction.