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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One of the most famous books about Canadian province British Columbia, Eric Collier's gripping Chilcotin memoir `Three Against the Wilderness' (1959) is a classic homesteading account. Born in Northampton, England in 1903, Eric married a girl of Indian descent, Lillian Ross, in 1928. Two years later, in spite of his wife's hip deformity due to a childhood accident, the couple took a wagon, three horses and their 18-month-old son Veasy, along with a tent, some provisions and $33, and reached the Stack Valley where they lived in an abandoned cabin. In a few years they relocated to Meldrum Creek, ten miles away, where they lived in a tent and built their own cabin. He and his wife Lillian had promised her 97-year-old grandmother, LaLa, to bring the beavers back to the area that she knew as a child before the white man came. Collier imported several pair of beaver, and raised the area's water table sufficiently to reinstate the beaver population. He encouraged more humane trapping methods and increasingly turned his hand to writing. In 1949 he was the first non-American to win Outdoor Life's Conservation Award and in the 1950s the staff at Outdoor Life encouraged him to consider writing a book about his experiences as a pioneering conservationist and trapper. Written by longhand and then transcribed onto his Remington typewriter, Collier's recollections of 26 years of family life and 'roughing it in the bush' for Three Against the Wilderness (1959) were a hit, and soon condensed by Reader's Digest and re-sold in at least seven translations around the world. See [...] for more details of this and other books related to British Columbia.

I read the 5s 3d `Companion Book Club' version of this book as a boy (about 11) and loved it. However I would recommend an original 1959 to 1960 Hutchinson (London) hardback, as print and paper quality is far better, probably as they originally cost £1 1s (although they appear identical otherwise). Amazon resellers often have them for sale, and they aren't expensive (a fiver or so) - otherwise try ebay. The books all have piccies of the log cabins, the family and local moose. I loved this book as a kid back in the sixties, it opened a window on another world. The book was lying about as part of my fathers 'bookclub' selections, but went missing years ago. I've since purchased a better 2nd hand copy from Amazon. The story should suit boys (probably 10 upwards) who could identify with Veasy. It is a solid read though with 272 pages of quite small text. Given that Veasy was brought up alone, it's a shame he never added 'his story' to this superb account by his dad.

Soft-spoken and usually unassuming, Eric Collier moved his family to Riske Creek in 1960. He sold his 38-mile trapline on March 26, 1964 for $2,500. He died at Riske Creek on March 15, 1966. Collier's wife and trapping partner Lily moved to Williams Lake and died in 1992. Their son Veasy, schooled by correspondence, served in the Korean War, married Judy Borkowski, and settled at Williams Lake. Erected in 1946, the Collier's much-deteriorated, second, four-room log home at Meldrum Creek was slated for demolition in 1989, under the auspices of the Chilcotin Military Reserve north of Riske Creek, but local protests in Cariboo encouraged Captain Paul Davies and the Canadian Army Engineers to resurrect the remote dwelling and its log barn with new roofing, shakes, doors and windows. A very rough road leads 40 kilometres off Highway 20 to the site--one of the few literary historical sites that have been preserved in British Columbia. The story would actually make quite a good film, and its very sad that the book is now virtually unknown to the younger generation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2014
This may possibly be a recounting of the most significant ecological success of our modern time. It is even greater than the reintroduction of the wolves to Yellowstone but is of the same nature. Eric, his wife, Lilly and their son Veasey, trekked by horse drawn waggon into the headwaters of Meldrum creek and started trapping fur. Pretty well all that was available was coyotes. Eric reconstructed beaver dams by hand and was finally given two pair of beaver by a forward looking game warden who saw what he was achieving. The beavers took over the work and spread. The recovery of the ecology was quite unbelievable. It show what one man can do and what one key species, returned to the wild can do. For further reading I would recommend Feral by George Monbiot and a look at his TED talk on rewilding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
So glad to get my copy of Three against the Wilderness. I was given this book by a friend many years ago and found it very inspirational. I then lost it during a move so was delighted to get a second hand version but in very good condition. Thank you Amazon for your efficiency and value for money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
Having read of this book in the Canadian magazine 'British Columbia' I purchased a copy through Amazon and consider it to be
one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of wildlife.
The pioneering spirit of this family is evident throughout, and the hardships they overcome sometimes beggar belief, but their life in the wilderness as portrayed in this book is an example to all conservationists.
Signed William Eaton
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2011
Anyone interested in animals, [Beavers inparticular], nature and a family starting out with a vison to reclaim a wilderness in Canada, in the 1930s; When Conservation was not fashionalable. You will find this book a good read as well as interestin. The author is not trying to convert you. A good story of the difficulties, and the solutions that needed to be overcome. An intellgent ten year, with a little help, would also learn a great deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2013
I chose this book for an elderly friend who had lost a copy a long time back. Once it arrived I started to read it and couldn't put it down! Very interesting account of a very hard life in the wilds of Canada. Would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read true accounts of peoples lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2011
Touching and very interesting story of one family trying to bring back the beaver and it's environment. I would like to see all against the re-introduction of the beaver read it. Adults and children will enjoy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2013
A gripping account of times gone by and living in conditions that are rare these days. A great word painting. I was so taken with this book that I went on vacation to the Chilcotin to see the area for myself.
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on 10 November 2014
A beautiful account of an ecological awakening.
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on 29 August 2014
All as decribed
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