Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $17.95

Paperback 392 pp.
112 b/w illustrations; 9 colour illustrations, 6" x 9"



Publication date:
November 2013

Imprint: OUP Canada

Share on Facebook

Add to Favourites Tell a Friend

An Illustrated History of Quebec

Tradition and Modernity

Peter Gossage and Jack Little

Series : Illustrated History of Canada

Some 7,500 years ago, the continental ice sheet retreated from the landscape we now know as Quebec. This cold, unique, and beautiful land has continued to shift with the movement of peoples and their often troubled interactions.

The retreating ice marks the beginning of this fascinating and richly illustrated history. Peter Gossage and Jack Little recount the history of Quebec from the earliest days to the present in concise and elegant prose. By around 1000 BCE the Iroquois of the St. Lawrence Valley were making pottery and cultivating crops, with evidence of trade as far as the Gulf of Mexico. Of course European contact changed this world forever, from the introduction of metal to the introduction of Christianity. Early settlements became a militarized colony; Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham; and control of the colony's commerce slipped into the hands of English-speaking merchants, setting the stage for political conflict in the early nineteenth century. At the same time, the Industrial Revolution brought increased tension between tradition and modernity-two forces that even today can be difficult to reconcile. Quebec, in its often uneasy union with the rest of Canada (not to mention its own Aboriginal peoples), continues to evolve as its population becomes ever more diverse.

Detailed chapters on modern Quebec evaluate the political turmoil of recent years, from constitutional wrangles, to the Oka crisis, to sovereignty discussions, and the debate about cultural accommodation. Quebec remains a "curious and fascinating political space," a beacon of French-language culture in North America, and an extraordinary nation within a nation.

Rarely seen illustrations are accompanied by in-depth captions, opening a world of visual narrative to the history of this complex society.

Readership : This beautifully illustrated history of Quebec will be of interest to readers in the trade as well as students of Canadian history, Canadian studies, and the history of Quebec.


  • Featured on CBC Radio's All in a Weekend

  • "Well written and handsomely illustrated . . . a valuable addition to the bookshelf."

    --Montreal Gazette

  • "A well-rounded portrait. . . . This book is reliable and thorough; a handy handbook on the forces of tradition and modernity."

    --Montreal Review of Books

  • "For anyone wanting to know more about Quebec, a little or even a lot, this book has much to recommend it."

    --Life in Québec Magazine

  • "This should become the go-to history of Quebec."

    --Brian Young, Canada's History

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Tradition and Modernity
1. The Fur Trade Colony
2. The Settlement Colony
3. The Military Colony
4. Political Conflict and Rebellion
5. The Liberal State
6. The Nationalist Reaction
7. An Industrial Revolution
8. Cities and Towns
9. Nationalists and Liberals
10. A Great Darkness?
11. Le Début d'un Temps Nouveau
12. Sovereignty in Question
13. Contemporary Quebec

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Peter Gossage is a professor in the Department of History at Concordia University. He is the author of Families in Transition: Industry and Population in Nineteenth-Century Saint-Hyacinthe (McGill-Queen's, 1999) and co-author, with Danielle Gauvreau and Diane Gervais, of La Fécondité des Québécoises, 1870-1970: D'une exception à l'autre (Boréal, 2007). He is also co-director, with John Lutz and Ruth Sandwell, of the prize-winning educational website Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History (www.canadianmysteries.ca).

Jack Little, FRSC, is a professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. His publications include Loyalties in Conflict: A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion, 1812-1840 (University of Toronto Press, 2008), The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society (University of Toronto Press, 2006), and Borderland Religion: The Emergence of an English-Canadian Identity (University of Toronto Press, 2004).

An Illustrated History of Quebec - Peter Gossage and Jack Little
A Little History of Canada - H. V. Nelles
A History of Canadian Culture - Jonathan F. Vance
French Canada in Transition - Everett Hughes
Introduction by Lorne Tepperman and Foreword by Nathan Keyfitz
Quebec Questions - Stephan Gervais, Christopher Kirkey and Jarrett Rudy
British Columbia - Patricia Roy and John Thompson
True North - William R. Morrison

Special Features

  • Beautifully illustrated. Over 100 photos, paintings, political cartoons, and maps - including full-colour reproductions and rare archival images - present a visual narrative of Quebec's history.
  • Detailed captions. Fully explained captions point out important aspects of historical figures, architecture, painting, and geography throughout the province.
  • Clear, concise writing. This accessible book highlights key moments and personalities in Quebec's history in language for the everyday reader.
  • Even-handed approach. The authors present the facts impartially, giving an even-handed account for their readers.
  • Unique perspective. Quebec society can be studied through many angles (French vs. English, catholic vs. protestant, sovereignty vs. federalism) - here the authors examine the province through the tension between tradition and modernity.