First, a confession: the only reason I checked this book out from the library is because youngest GeoKid is doing a Humanities QUEST project on the NWMP. But it turned out to be a compelling read, detailing the long and difficult march of the newly-formed North West Mounted police to the heart of what is now southern Alberta. After traveling 800 miles west over rough terrain, the 300 man force was expected to deal with outlaw whiskey traders and build working relationships with warring Indian tribes without much support from politicians in Ottawa.
Denny’s writing style is very matter-of-fact. The lack of adjectives and adverbs reinforces the tone of the book, which seems to me to reflect the stoic character of the first members of the NWMP.
The most surprising thing I learned from this book was the very central role that officers with the NWMP played in negotiating the original treaties with the Indians. And how, once the treaties were in place, many of them seemed to feel a personal responsibility to ensure the well-being of the tribes.