Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Podcast: Discussing the Book "A Distinct Alien Race"

I was interviewed by Sandra Goodwin for her popular Maple Stars & Stripes podcast about my book A Distinct Alien Race.

We discussed how the New England Franco-American story reflects on perennial themes of U.S. history including industrialization; emigration across land borders; the nature of U.S. citizenship; and the fear of the Other. Sandy asked me about my motivations for writing the book, about the history of the Canadien move into New England, and the background in Québec and in Canada.

Listen to the podcast above or view the page for this episode on the Maple Stars & Stripes site.

I was on an earlier episode of this show called the Geographic Evolution of a Franco-American Family. Sandra Goodwin has done a number of interviews that represent a growing body of knowledge about Canadien, Acadian and Franco-American history.

Buy A Distinct Alien Race here:

Publisher's website

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The book “A Distinct Alien Race” Now Available for Pre-order

My book A Distinct Alien Race is available for pre-order here through the publisher Baraka Books of Montréal. Pre-ordered books will be shipped in August, and the book will be published officially in September 2018.

 A Distinct Alien Race tells the story of the Franco-Americans who labored in the New England textile industry between about 1865 and 1930. Boston merchants, flush with profits from the West Indies and China trades, created this new industry in New England at the dawn of the 19th century. After the Civil War, these corporations imported a large labor force from Québec and the former Acadia which grew to number one-seventh of the population of New England by the 1920s. The book's title comes from an 1889 Boston newspaper that described the workers from the North using this phrase.

The book presents a fresh approach to the question of why the rural poor of Québec emigrated in such numbers and who the emigrants were in Québec before they came to the USA. It explores the conditions in which Franco-Americans lived based on contemporary reports and primary sources. It then discusses the reception of Franco-Americans in the USA including a bizarre conspiracy theory about them floated in the press in the last two decades of the 19th century.

A Distinct Alien Race describes the strenuous efforts of Protestant clergy to convert the Franco-American newcomers, so tightly were Americanism and Protestantism identified in the period in question. The book also exposes the anti-Franco-American agitation of the 1920s KKK and the eugenics movement. Finally, it discusses the situation of Franco-Americans today, now that the mills have fallen silent.

I sold my book from this blog. The blog was always intended as research & development for a book rather than as an end in itself. Reading it over, I can now look back and see how I have developed particular pieces of research. Although I stand behind what I have written here, there are bits I might word differently today.

This blog will stand for the moment, but I intend to phase it out in favor of a new one dedicated to the book. I thank all of my readers, subscribers and commentators for their interest in my blog French North America. The work continues in the book A Distinct Alien Race, and in my upcoming, new blog.

  • Download the table of contents (pdf) for A Distinct Alien Race
  • Order the book here