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Labelled with ICRA

Since 1979 logo

book cover

Fall 2006
6 X 9 inches, 160 pages

ISBN 1894131983
Out of print

ISBN 1894131312
Out of print

More about this item:
First Nations Catalogue of Books

Out of Muskoka

James Bartleman

A SENIOR CANADIAN DIPLOMAT is viciously assaulted in his hotel room in South Africa. His world collapses in post-traumatic shock and he is haunted by flashback images of the discrimination he and his family endured when they moved to a small community in central Ontario immediately following World War Two. To exorcise these ghosts, he returns to the past to relive his childhood and youth. In the ensuing memoir, he describes the vibrant colorful personalities of a small northern community in which individuals, Indian and white, are larger than life, and in which race relations reflect unenlightened attitudes.

In contrast to millions of other Canadians and Americans who lived in similar circumstances, he was among the lucky ones. His parents moved the family from a tent near the village dump to a long-abandoned shack that they turned into a home. The white villagers gradually accepted them but the scars from early encounters with racist louts—happily the exception in a generally fair-minded community—had left their mark. His "big break" occurred when he was sent to university by a wealthy American benefactor. He met Louis Armstrong, the first of many charismatic giants he was to encounter in his subsequent diplomatic career. He travelled to post-war Europe at a period of great change, and attended the funeral of Winston Churchill in London. Joining the Canadian Foreign Service, he served as ambassador in a variety of progressively senior posts and spent more than four years as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet.

Throughout Out Of Muskoka Jim Bartleman contrasts the universal existential conditions he faced as a child (discrimination, poverty, suicide, religious quest) with what he experienced as a diplomat serving in five continents over 35 years. In the process, he discovered that to feel whole, he had to feel accepted by the two worlds of his ancestry: Native and white.

In early 2002, James Bartleman was named Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.


James Bartleman


The Hon. James Bartleman on his memoir "Out of Muskoka"

City officially names the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre

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