Literary Nonfiction. #1 on the BC Bestseller List. "Gifts for bookworms" pick (Best of 2014), Vancouver Sun. BC Books for Everybody selection. Includes essays from Tom Carter, Aaron Chapman, Jesse Donaldson, James Johnston, Lani Russwurm, Eve Lazarus, Diane Purvey, Catherine Rose, Rosanne Sia, Jason Vanderhill, Stevie Wilson, Will Woods, Terry Watada, and John Belshaw. Most civic histories celebrate progress, industry, order, and vision. This isn't one of those. VANCOUVER CONFIDENTIAL is a collaboration of artists and writers who plumb the shadows of civic memory looking for the stories that don't fit into mainstream narratives. We honour the chorus line behind the star performer, the mug in the mug shot, the victim in the murder, the teens in the gang, and the 'slum' in the path of the bulldozer. By focusing on the stories of the common people rather than community leaders and headliners, VANCOUVER CONFIDENTIAL shines a light on the lives of Vancouverites that have for so long been ignored. This new collection takes a fresh look at the raw urban culture of a port city in the mid-twentieth century. These were years when Hastings and Main was still a dynamic commercial hub, when streetcars thrummed through the city streets, and when 'theatre' meant vaudeville and burlesque. Street gambling and illegal booze cans peppered the map, brothels and bootleggers served loggers and shore workers, and politicians were almost always larger than life. This collection of essays and art illuminates aspects of a city that was too busy getting into trouble to worry about whether it was 'world class.'
"… [a] fascinating anthology of original historical essays by 15 researchers in various fields. The real value of the collection, though, is in how it reveals far less well-known aspects of an introverted city's almost absurdly colourful past, when there were demimonde characters with names such as Tom the Greek, Shorty Miller, and Newsy Bernard."—The Georgia Straight
"…terribly engaging and covers a great deal…The book covers the years of Vancouver up to the middle part of the century. The team assembled are some of the best and brightest historians on Vancouver."—commentary.ca
"… this collection offers multiple new and valuable views on Vancouver."—BC Studies
John Douglas Belshaw is a writer, consultant, online university professor, and an award winning historian. He is the author and co-author of several books and articles, including VANCOUVER NOIR: 1930-1960 and Becoming British Columbia: A Population History.
Author City: VANCOUVER, BC CAN