• Peggy & Balmer: Two Journalists at the Edge of History

Peggy & Balmer: Two Journalists at the Edge of History


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9781774391068 | 2024 November | 304 Pages


“Alberta is a puzzle, born in hope and anger,” William Thorsell writes in the introduction to this stunning new book by filmmaker and writer Tom Radford. Following the lives of his grandparents Peggy and Balmer Watt, Radford tells the story of two journalists who arrive in Edmonton the first day of the province’s life, September 1, 1905, as Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier announces Alberta as the great hope for “Canada’s Century” that lies ahead. But Albertans already have a
contrary vision in mind, a government strong enough to challenge the constitution that binds them. Peggy and Balmer find themselves in the midst of a conflagration that will last a century — their marriage falls apart, their newspapers go bankrupt, and Alberta veers towards the
extremist politics of today.

Balmer defends the freedom of the press and helps win the first Pulitzer awarded outside the United States. Peggy chronicles her own story, “A Woman in the West.” Seen from our time, the lives of these two remarkable journalists introduce the angels and devils of Alberta history — the siren call of a Last Best West that once again jeopardizes Canada’s future.