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Kevin Major (CA)

As Near To Heaven By Sea: A history of Newfoundland and Labrador

As Near To Heaven By Sea: A history of Newfoundland and Labrador

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For three centuries after Europeans rediscovered it, Newfoundland was thought of as little more than "a great English Ship moored near the Banks during the Fishing Season."Labrador, dismissed as the "land God gave to Cain,"commanded no more respect.

But for the people who made its coastline their home, including the Aboriginal peoples who first settled there 9000 years earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador was of considerably greater significance. In these people lie a fascinating history: Leif Eriksson, James Cook, Black Bart, Benedict Arnold, Brigitte Bardot, Mary Walsh, Joey Smallwood, Amelia Earhart, Shanawdithit, D'Iberville, Audubon and Marconi are but a dozen of the better known.

The history of Newfoundland and Labrador is no genteel excursion. Scandal coexisted with extraordinary feats of courage; disaster with daring acts of the imagination. The ritual burial of a Maritime Archaic child several millennia ago, the Viking landings, the exploits of Basque whalers, centuries of military and religious strife, confederation with Canada and the collapse of the fisheries — all are brought to life by Kevin Major in exciting, vivid prose.

As Near to Heaven by Sea was nominated for the 2001 Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize.

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Penguin Canada


Kevin Major was born in Newfoundland in 1949, the youngest of seven children. His family roots are on the west coast of the island, in Bonne Bay and Stephenville, where he grew up in the shadow of a U.S. Air Force Base. Before becoming a writer, he taught school in several parts of the province, including the Eastport Peninsula in Bonavista Bay. Kevin Major is the author of a dozen books for both young people and adults, including the much-praised No Man’s Land, a novel about the Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War, and As Near to Heaven by Sea: A History of Newfoundland and Labrador. His work has won numerous awards and been translated into several languages. He lives in St. John’s with his wife and two teenage sons.

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