by Jonathan Walford. 285 pages. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Reviewed by Christine Hearn.

This book is a shoe lover’s dream. It’s a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book that takes us from the flat shoes and chopines (six-inch high pedestal mules) of the 1600s to the latest Manolo Blahniks – with gorgeous pictures and descriptions of everything in between.

Jonathan Walford (ba’85) was the founding curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and is now the creative director of Kickshaw Productions, which promotes the history of fashion. His own shoe collection numbers 760 pairs.

Walford is obviously a shoe lover, but he’s also a social historian. Each century of shoes in the book is bracketed by a history of the times: what was happening, why it was happening, and how that influenced shoe choices.

There are lovely little nuggets of information. Today’s slang term “being a square” comes from the 18th century slam “square toes,” meaning “out of date.” This insult was directed at men who wore square toes when they were no longer in fashion.

But the photos of the shoes take centre stage. I could just see my feet in the blue silk square-toed mules from England circa 1660, or the white leather scalloped button boots from 1869 Canada, or the American green silk and gold kid evening slippers from the 1930s, or the Italian red snakeskin and wooden platform shoes from 1973. Wait, I think I once did wear those platforms!

Walford, who lives in Cambridge, Ontario, is currently at work on
a book about World War 11 clothing. And do check out his website.

Big First Novel

David Chariandy’s novel, Soucouyant, strikes a chord with readers. The English professor’s bleak book is nominated for a Governor General’s award and is long-listed for the Giller Prize. <>

Treating Addicts

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction is alumnus Gabor Maté’s (pdp’69) look at the drug problem. He writes from the perspective of seven years as staff physician at the Downtown Eastside’s Portland Hotel.

It’s Still Out There

While at sfu in 1972 Mary Trainer (ba’81), Rick Antonson, and Brian Antonson published Slumach’s Gold: In Search of a Legend. They have now updated and re-released it. Mary is now a writer and communications consultant, Rick is president and ceo of Tourism Vancouver, and Brian is an associate dean at BCIT.

In Memory

Commercial pilot Adam Katagiri (BA’91) died in a plane crash in Jordan. After his death, his parents discovered he had written children’s stories, and they are now publishing them with illustrations by father Sadao Katagiri. The first, Betty the Worm, is available from <>.

Working for a Living

SFU assistant professor of geography Geoff Mann analyzes the political arena of the wage earner. In Our Daily Bread: Wages, Workers, and the Political Economy of the American West, Mann reveals ways in which the wage is a critical component in the making of social hierarchies of race, gender, and citizenship.

Taking Charge

Brenda Lautsch and her children Oscar and Kaspar take family time.

Business professor Brenda Lautsch (above) co-authors CEO of Me: Crafting a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age. The book helps people clarify their values and learn new ways to self-manage work and life issues. Lautsch says you have to take charge to manage the boundaries between work and family.

Educational Technology

University of Alaska professor Jason Ohler, (PhD’94) has a new book: Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity. <>

Taking on the Aspers

Marc Edge (BA’78) doesn’t pull any punches in Asper Nation: Canada’s Most Dangerous Media Company. The Asper family owns The Vancouver Sun, The Province, Global TV, and countless other media outlets. Good thing the former Province reporter is safely teaching mass communications at Sam Houston State University in Texas rather than looking for a job in this market.

Selling Our Assets

In Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia, political scientist John Calvert argues that government ideology is putting rivers at risk, driving up energy prices, and undermining the viability of BC Hydro.

Diet for a Sick Planet

Economics professor and Outstanding Alumni Award winner Mark Jaccard says the world needs to go on a carbon diet. In Designing Canada’s Low-Carb Diet: Options for Effective Climate Policy, Jaccard says we need an across-the-board carbon tax. <>

Column Art Photo scan: courtesy Erik Tofsrud, photo by Diane Luckow