Looking for books to add to your 2019 reading lists? These 10 Manitoba-focused human rights books encompass many broad themes such as immigration, healthcare, labour, and veterans.

Winnipeg General Strike CentenaryMagnificent Seven

Magnificent Fight by Dennis Lewycky – Fernwood Publishing, Forthcoming April 2019

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, Magnificent Fight provides a thorough historical account of the biggest and longest general strike in Canadian history. Economic, social, and political factors are analyzed as Lewycky recreates this revolution-like event. The long-term consequences of the strike are also discussed. Manitobans should look to further their knowledge on this event with a book like Magnificent Fight in the strike’s centennial year.

Papergirl by Melinda McCracken with Penelope Jackson – Fernwood Publishing, Forthcoming April 2019

This children’s novel tells the story of the Winnipeg General Strike through the eyes of a young girl who sells newspapers. Melinda McCracken, a Manitoba author who died in 2002, wrote Papergirl but never had it published. Penelope Jackson has revived this text filled with relevant social issues.



Structures of Indifference by Mary Jane Logan McCallum and Adele Perry – University of Manitoba Press, September 2018

In September 2008, Brian Sinclair, an Indigenous Winnipegger, died in an emergency room from a treatable infection after waiting 34 hours. While more than ten years has passed since Sinclair’s death, this story remains ingrained in the minds of many Manitobans. Structures of Indifference examines this tragic case through the lens of systematic discrimination against Indigenous peoples in both the healthcare and legal systems. While the official report of the inquiry into Sinclair’s death was released in 2014, this book attempts to present a broader analysis of society’s failure to treat certain individuals with dignity.

Radical Medicine by Esyllt Jones – ARP Books, September 2018

There’s a reason Tommy Douglas was voted ‘Greatest Canadian’ in 2004 in a CBC series: many Canadians are proud of the Medicare system first introduced by Douglas in Saskatchewan. Radical Medicine takes a look at the history of socialized medicine worldwide. Its relevance today cannot be understated as many argue for the expansion of this social program to prescription drugs and dentistry services. Esyllt Jones, Professor at the University of Manitoba, is considered an expert in the area of public health history.


Wisdom from the Homeless by Neil Craton – FriesenPress, October 2018


Written by a physician, Dr. Neil Craton, Wisdom from the Homeless examines the power of joy to overcome extreme circumstances. These important life lessons were highlighted by the homeless women and men who attend Siloam Mission in Winnipeg. Craton says: “In this angry world, I have seen a glimpse of light. I have seen kindness, love and hope at a homeless shelter.”


Historical & Contemporary Lens

Communal Solidarity by Arthur Ross – University of Manitoba Press, Forthcoming March 2019

In Communal Solidarity, Arthur Ross, Professor at Ryerson University, focuses on Winnipeg Jewish community from 1882 to 1930, discussing their immigration and enormous contributions to Winnipeg civic life since almost 10,000 Jewish people arrived in Winnipeg during this period.


Stolen City by Owen Toews – ARP Books, June 2018


Stolen City examines the repercussions of colonialism on Winnipeg’s urban development over the last 150 years. Towes, a geographer, discusses relevant contemporary issues affecting Winnipeg’s core neighbourhoods as well as the prevalent post-industrial vision for the city.



A Diminished Roar by Jim Blanchard – University of Manitoba Press, Forthcoming April 2019

in A Diminished Roar, Jim Blanchard, Librarian Emeritus of the University of Manitoba and former president of the Manitoba Historical Society, discusses the decade following the Winnipeg General Strike – the Roaring Twenties – focusing specifically on Winnipeg during this time. This period was characterized by social and cultural changes such as increased women’s rights and prohibition. Blanchard also presents how the city dealt with the aftermath of the chaos from the previous decade: the strike, the Spanish flu, and World War I.


Poetry & Autobiography

river woman by Katherena Vermette – House of Anansi Press Inc, September 2018

river woman is Governor General’s Award-Winnipeg poet Katherena Vermette’s second poetry collection. She discusses love, trauma, and the “destructive power and beauty” of a river. Vermette, an outspoken activist for indigenous peoples and social critic, hails from Winnipeg’s North End.


From the Tundra to the Trenches by Eddy Weetaltuk, Isabelle St. Amand, and Thibault Martin – University of Manitoba Press, February 2017

From the Tundra to the Trenches is an autobiographical work telling the story of Eddy Weetaltuk, an Inuit man who spent 15 years in the Canadian Forces, including serving in the Korean War. Upon returning to civilian life, Weetaltuk began working with youth in his community struggling with alcoholism and drug addictions. This inspiring story is a must-read.


Know of any other human rights books we should read this year? Let us know! 🙂