Quebec Studies

Book Reviews

Quebec Studies (2011), 51, (1), 157–162.


157 Book Reviews Cultural History PERREAULT, ROBERT B. Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire: Vivre la différence. Charleston: The History Press, 2010. Pp 144. ISBN 978-1-59629-897-2. Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire by Robert B. Perreault is a history of the Queen City's Franco-American community from its settlement in the 1830s to the 2010 inauguration of the ACA (Association Canado-Américaine)/Lambert Franco-American Collection at Saint Anselm College's Geisel Library. The work is a compilation of Perreault's essays — some previously published and updated with author's notes and some new material — richly augmented by illustrations from the author's private col­ lection of vintage photographs, reproductions of oil paintings, commercial art, and French-language newspapers. For North American teachers and students of French who may be unfamiliar with the linguistic and cultural heritage of New England's Franco-American communities, Perreault's his­ tory provides a reader-friendly, highly engaging portrait of a bilingual, bicultural community that straddles, much like the front cover's photo­ graph of Notre Dame Bridge, gateway to the Franco West Side, two worlds. As a graduate of École Saint-Georges (a K-8 bilingual, parochial school) and of Bishop Bradley High School (an all-male diocesan school), this Franco-American Manchester native brings notable credentials to the writing of local history. North American French scholars will take note of his role as chief research assistant and oral history interviewer for the Hareven/Langenbach book project Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory City (1978). Additionally, Perreault is the author of five books and more than 150 articles and short stories in both French and English on mostly Franco-American subjects. Thus grounded in an intimate under­ standing of the language, faith, and cultural practices of this unique com­ munity, the author examines the ways in which these factors operate as markers of difference — the work's subtitle is Vivre la différence — and how these factors define what it means to actively live one's Franco-American heritage in New Hampshire's largest city. Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire in­ cludes a foreword written by the Executive Director of the Manchester His­ toric Association, the author's introduction and acknowledgements, twelve essays, an excellent bibliography of Franco-American primary sources and critical works, a helpful index, and notes about the author. The first two essays, "From Québec to Manchester" and "A Tale of Two Women," serve as a foundation for the ten to follow, providing, respectively, an historical context for the massive migration of French-Canadians to Manchester and a contrastive analysis of two typical women — one working on a Québec

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