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Synopsis

The view 16-year-old Thomas Osborne first had of Muskoka was at night, trudging alone with his even younger brother along unmarked primitive roads to find their luckless father who, in 1875, had decided to make a new start for his beleaguered family on some "free land" in the bush east of the pioneer village of Huntsville, Ontario. The miracle is that Thomas lived to tell the tale.

For the next five years Thomas endured starvation, falling through the ice and freezing, accidents with axes and boats, and narrow escapes from wolves and bears. Many years later, after returning to the United States, Osborne wrote down all his adventures in a graphic memoir that has become, in the words of author and journalist Roy MacGregor, "an undiscovered Canadian classic."

Reluctant Pioneer provides a brooding sense of adventure and un- sentimental realism to deliver a powerful account of pioneer life where tragedies arrive as naturally as rain and where humour resides in irony.

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Reluctant Pioneer
Average rating
3.8 / 5
March 12th, 2014
What a fantastic read! I could hardly book this book down. Such an interesting insiders look at pioneer life in a once-remote part of Canada. I really enjoyed the cadence of the book as well. So glad it was rediscovered and printed again for more to enjoy!
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
January 23rd, 2014
Very detailed,entertaining description of pioneer life in backwoods Ontario in 19th century. Very easy to mentally immerse yourself totally in the story and the lifestyle.
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1 review
Reluctant Pioneer
January 9th, 2014
Excellent narration. Harrowing story! Gives one a better idea of what privations those before us went through.
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1 review
December 14th, 2013
I loved the book. It was of particular interest to me as I am familiar with the area and have always wondered how the early settlers survived. Also was pleased to see that mcgregor wrote the intro as I have read him and enjoyed his book as well .
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1 review
December 14th, 2013
Both my husband and I just finished this book and give it 5 stars! With all of today's technology and conveniences it find is very difficult to imagine enduring the numerous physical hardships (not to mention the mental and emotional ones) these pioneers went through and this book brings it all sharply into focus for the reader. The added bonus is that it takes place in the area of Muskoka we travel through many times a year never thinking of our ancestors and what it took to make it the recreational and commercial centre it has become. We are very grateful to Thomas Osborne for all his sacrifices and for deciding to write his memoirs. An excellent read!
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1 review
So much history
November 12th, 2013
What a great story of survival in Northern Ontario. Written with so much detail that the reader could feel cold and tired from carrying the canoe through the forest. Clearing the land without large machinery and living without electric or running water. Would any of us of the 21st century survive that now?
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1 review
reluctant pioneer
November 4th, 2013
a great canadian adventure wonderful.
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The Reluctant Pioneer
October 31st, 2013
A window into the earlier years of Canada and the courage and determination of those settlers.
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1 review

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