Thursday, June 11, 2009

Slava Bohu by J.F.C. Wright

Slava Bohu: The Story of the Dukhobors by J.F.C. Wright won the Governor-General's Award for Non Fiction in 1940. As the subtitle implies, the book traces the history of a specific Russian Christian religious sect from its birth in 1665 to 1940.

Wright's narrative moves from an idealistic Christian splinter group to a twentieth-century immigrant group that fits into some of the patterns of a cult. For example, among a large number of the faithful, there is an unquestioning loyalty and belief in the leader.

Wright does a good job of describing the complex process of bringing the Dukhobor's to Canada, and most importantly, he makes it clear that despite later claims by the Dukhobors, the Canadian government made the terms of immigration (such as following Canadian law) explicit from the outset.

I could go on for a while, but I'm tired and I've been delaying this blog post long enough. If you want to learn more about the Dukhobors, this book is highly recommended, otherwise I'm not sure it adds a lot.