Reviews of Bienfait: the Saskatchewan Miners' Struggle of '31

Norm Park, The Mercury, (Estevan, SK.) 25 September 2002
    "The book is simply called Bienfait but the story it tells is riveting and filled with historical significance.  It's...about progress and a unique story about the Western Canadian Prairies that had a genesis in a tough mining town located in southeastern Saskatchewan."

Jean Fahlman, The Mercury, 7 December 2002
    "It is a disturbing and enlightening story of political intrigue and the struggle of the miners to improve their lives....It took a historian from a distance to tell this compelling story, research it and verify facts.  I am glad someone had the resolve, courage and talent, to tell it.  I always knew there was a dark story there."

Douglas J. Johnston, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 2002
    "Bienfait captures a tiny community, and then only for a brief point in time.  But it does it in depth, and with palpable empathy.  This is history writ small, but exceedingly well."

Robert Leeson, letter from a British author, 10 December 2002
    "I read it through in one day, morning, afternoon and evening, because although there is much painstaking research and many qualifications in the interests of fairness, it read very much like an exciting novel.  It is one of those cases where a life-story, once revealed is more stirring than any fiction - though the behaviour of the mine owners and authorities at times seems impossible to square with people living in the real world.....The story and the accompanying violence, by comparison with even hard fought disputes over here, has a savagery that takes some getting used to and I suppose one difference is that trade unionists here had nearly two centuries of organisation behind them, whereas the (mainly immigrant) Bienfait workers were starting literally from scratch."

Will Chabun, Leader-Post, 28 September 2002
    "...tells a story that is well-known in Saskatchewan but needs retelling as memories fade and new generations arrive."

Garnet Dishaw, Our Times, vol.21, no.6, Spring 2003
    "Bienfait is a brutal story told with real compassion for the victims.  It's an account of raw capitalist thievery and police terrorism inflicted on some of the bravest and best trade unionists in all of Canadian history.  All workers should get a copy of the book and read it. And that will not be any kind of chore...Like some majestic mine-head frame...Bienfait will stand as a lasting tribute to our courageous trade union ancestors, honouring the heroic struggle fought out in the Souris Basin coal fields in the late summer of 1931."

Anonymous Reader, for the University of Toronto Press, summer 2001
        "...a very engaging, readable and well-presented history, which drew me in to the struggle of the Bienfait miners and made them memorable....I would not hesitate to use it teaching a university-level course on labour and socialism in Canada."

Lorne Brown, University of Regina, Labour/LeTravail, Fall 2003
         "...a magnificent work....Endicott's labours have been instrumental in encouraging local people to reclaim their own history...Decades of anti-communism and a conservative political culture in the outside society made them embarrassed about the events of 1931.  Eventually they...became enthusiastic about redressing the conservative interpretation of their history.  The launching of Bienfait in the fall of 2002 in Estevan and Bienfait drew large enthusiastic crowds."

Allan Safarik, Books in Canada, November 2003
        "... richly endowed with pictures and other memorabilia of the times...Endicott's is a remarkable book about one of the most shameful episodes in our country's history.  Using primary sources and oral history to clear away the cobwebs from decades of rumours and misinformation, the result is one of the most intriguing books I have had the opportunity to read.  Bienfait is the totally miraculous recreation of a story, presented in a riveting manner, that has defied being told for seventy years."  

David Frank, University of New Brunswick,  Prairie Forum, 28, Fall 2003
        "This is a handsome and effective monograph that succeeds in its purpose of rescuing the Bienfait miners from obscurity and reassessing the role of the WUL in a local dispute.  Moreover, the book includes an extensive number of photographs many from private collections.  It is a compelling account, and I read it at a single sitting.  When I went back for a second reading I was impressed  by the thorough research and skilfull writing that are apparent in every chapter. Specialists will be interested in Endicott's exposition of the impulses motivating the protagonists on the several sides of the situation and his attempts to place their behaviour in context.  He provides a persuasive analysis, for he never loses sight of the fact that events at Bienfait belong to a larger history of struggle for union recognition and human dignity.  This is a work of academic research and historical recovery that deserves to be widely read."

John Manley, University of Central Lancashire,
The Western Historical Quarterly,                   Autumn 2004, v. 35, n.3
"Though Bienfait won't be the last word on the strike, it should become the starting point for future discussion.  Students of western Canada, coal mining, class relations, and the CPC [Communist Party of Canada] will read it with profit."

Craig Heron, York University,  Great Plains Quarterly, Winter 2004, v. 24, n.1
"A strike is a privileged moment for the historian.  Floodlights get shone on the working lives of wage earners that would otherwise get little public attention.  Issues of collective working-class organization and politics stand out vividly.  The relative power of contending forces in capitalist society is starkly clear.  And the events of the confrontation typically provide plenty of high drama.  Stephen Endicott has taken hold of these elements in a well-remembered miners' strike on the Canadian Prairies and given us a fascinating, beautifully written account of working-class struggle in the depths of the Depression."

Steve Hewitt, University of Birmingham U.K., Labor, 2: 4, 2005 (Duke University, N.C.) Bienfait: the Saskatchewan Miiners' Struggle of '31 is a wonderful exercise in social history that by far represents the definitive work on the events in question.  Although unquestionably a work of academic scholarship, Endicott's writing and approach also personalizes the history. In various places, he effectively sets the placing the strike in the region's longer history and even geography and by also properly recognizing the significance of members of the Communst Party of Canada and the Communist-led Workers' Unity League in the events."

Daniel Macdonald, University of New Brunswick, Canadian Historical Review,
          v. 85:1, March 2004, 175-177
"This is a brilliant story, start to finish, which outpaces most works of Canadian working-class historical fiction....Because it is a true story it packs a powerful pedagogical a carefully researched and skilfully written book that should be thoroughly enjoyed by story-loving people, academic or not."