Edmonton, AB – The University of Alberta Press congratulates PearlAnn Reichwein for being awarded the Clio Prize (Prairies) from the Canadian Historical Association (CHA). The award recognizes her insightful book, Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906–1974, as an exceptional contribution to regional history.
The citation reads:
PearlAnn Reichwein’s Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906–1974 is a fantastic blend of leisure, environmental, and cultural history. Focusing on the Alpine Club of Canada, Professor Reichwein explores the ways the history of the club parallels and affected the development of the Rocky Mountain parks over the twentieth century. Covering topics ranging from the marketing of climbing equipment to organising opposition to hydro development in the park, she has written a book of broad appeal to twentieth century historians. In her conclusion she makes very powerful arguments about environmental history, climate change, and our relationship to nature and the mountains. The book is an exciting read and beautifully produced, integrating many images and side bars on a variety of topics, making it appealing to a broader audience than the academic market.
Reichwein says, “I am honoured to win this significant award. Being able to accept it in Ottawa, among my CHA colleagues and friends, was particularly moving as well as a reminder of the importance of heritage and cultural institutions. Writing this book relied on collections and specialists at Library Archives Canada and regional archives as well as national parks. I am also thankful to generous funders and University of Alberta Press.”
In Climber’s Paradise, Reichwein looks at the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) as a viewfinder on Canada’s changing outlook on recreation, land use and conservation, particularly in iconic western mountain parks and farther north. Canadian mountaineers stand out as intergenerational advocates of conservation and public space with deep roots amid changing times. Her extensive scholarship contributes to U of A’s Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative.
Reichwein also brings her own voice to Canadian mountaineering literature, combining creative non-fiction with lyrical nature writing. The book shares her personal stories of mountaineering, with an idyllic ascent up the Kiwa Glacier and Mount Wilfrid Laurier. She presents a compelling case for understanding wild places and human history as parts of a whole. Years of archival research enhanced by rare images make Climber’s Paradise a book of invaluable scholarship as well as a great read.
Other recognition for the book includes the international Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival competition Finalist, Mountain and Wilderness Literature Non Fiction, and INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist, Ecology & Environment, along with an international award for the design of the book.
About the University of Alberta Press
The University of Alberta Press publishes in the areas of biography, history, language, literature, natural history, regional interest, travel narratives and reference books. With hundreds of scholarly and trade books, UAP contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of Alberta and Canada. www.uap.ualberta.ca
About the Canadian Historical Society
Founded in 1922, the Canadian Historical Association / La Société historique du Canada is a bilingual not-for-profit and charitable association devoted to fostering the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. It is the largest of its kind in the country. www.cha-shc.ca
PearlAnn Reichwein, Associate Professor, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780-492-0579
Cathie Crooks, Sales/Marketing Manager, University of Alberta Press
Michel Duquet, Executive Director, Canadian Historical Association
“‘The social and cultural history of mountaineering can go far beyond the simple understanding of history as a fixed chronology of great ascents in a progressive evolution of ‘important events,’ writes Reichwein in her preface. The history of leisure and sport, she argues, can be brought together with environmental history and conservation philosophy. In this book, illustrated with rarely seen historical images, she explores how Alpine Club of Canada members helped shape the policies and sensibilities of western Canada’s mountain parks, as the Club imagined and advocated on behalf of those parks to create a climber’s paradise in the Rockies and neighbouring ranges.” Lynn Martel, Alpine Club of Canada Gazette (Vol 23. No 3), November 1, 2014
“There has been a definite need for a finely crafted book on the relationship between the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and Canada’s Mountain Parks. Climber’s Paradise tells the tale in an exquisite manner and, in doing so, reveals much about the complex paradise of Canada’s mountaineering history and ethos…. Reichwein has certainly emerged…as one of the primary keepers of the distinctive Canadian mountaineering tradition, and Climber’s Paradise confirms yet again why this is the indubitable case.” [Full review at bit.ly/1nYxnCK] Ron Dart, Highline Magazine, October 1, 2014
“At a time when civil society and environmental organizations are being vilified in the media as ‘special interest groups,’ it is important to understand the crucial roles played by the Alpine Club of Canada not only in the creation of our magnificent mountain parks but in shaping the Canadian identity.” John Bennett, Executive Director, Sierra Club Canada
“Wilderness. Symbol of nationhood. Playground. Sanctuary. Revenue source. Over the last century Canada’s mountain parks have been imagined and reimagined through a spectrum of meanings and contending desires. PearlAnn Reichwein’s history of the Alpine Club of Canada explores these incarnations and tells the fascinating stories of the people who cared fiercely for the mountains and struggled over their use and value. Just as importantly, Reichwein traces out the less visible tracks of class, race, and gender that weave through the grand narratives of adventure and conquest. This is vital reading for anyone who cares about our vanishing wild heritage.” Thomas Wharton, award-winning author of Icefields
“This is a remarkable story. It’s about how a small group of urban, middle-class, Anglo Canadians, working through the Alpine Club of Canada, sought to assert their narratives of alpinism, the environment, nation, and interpersonal relations on Canada’s western Canadian mountain parks, and the conditions they faced, the institutions they created, the political victories they achieved, and the struggles and setbacks they encountered.
Professor Reichwein tells it brilliantly, bringing both a climbers’ love of the mountains and a social historian’s critical distance and research to her subject. Her analysis is illuminated with mini-biographies of the key players, grounded in their speeches and personal correspondence resourcefully dug out of archival collections, and an extensive collection of photographs.
It’s an important contribution to the history of Canadian sport and recreation and a telling case study of volunteering, but anyone who has ever holidayed or even contemplated a hike in a mountain national park would enjoy and benefit from this book.” Bruce Kidd, University of Toronto historian and Olympian