Evans deserves praise
December 8, 2012
The writing of social history is incredibly difficult as it is all encompassing. Deciding what to include and what to exclude can become a historian’s nightmare. The history of Bermuda has a second major issue. Few qualified have written on it and without secondary sources being available, the historian must delve through the original sources like
The Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Report (HMSO) week after week, month after month, in order to find a nugget that might be useful. This is a tedious task and the author seems to have done it well. Jonathan Land Evans has done a masterful job of looking through all of these sources and achieving an interesting and readable short social history of Bermuda between the Wars. ‘Peace, Prudence and Prosperity: a History of Bermuda (1919-1939)’ will be of tremendous use to future historians because of his extensive use of footnotes. That will allow researchers a track to run on if they want to pursue a specific issue in more detail. And while an annotated bibliography would have been valuable, if the first edition brings in enough money, a second edition with period photographs would be great for those of us who like to look at “Now and Then”.
This book opens the door for others to expound further into the many topics that Mr Evans has passed a broad brush. For example, it would be great for someone to investigate the history of the expulsion of blacks from Tucker’s Town in a non-polemical way. Another area which might prove fruitful would be a historical dissertation on the Bermuda education system. While one could argue that a historian should leave his own views out whenever possible, Mr Evans warns of his occasional personal comments in the preface, so while they may seem intrusive in the narrative as well as annoying to those whose political views are to the left of Attila The Hun, the reader is fair warned. Mr Evans should be lauded for taking on such a massive undertaking in a very readable treatise and to challenge others to take the next step to research areas in which they have an interest. We can only hope that Mr Evans will be encourages to look at other periods of Bermuda’s rich social history. Your reviewer, Mr Gauntlett, does a disservice to Mr Evans and his work without adding to an important discussion.