This is a photo of the deck of the Malahat, a ship known as the “queen of the rum runners.” Photo submitted

History of rum-running in Canada discussed in new book

Book launch in Courtenay Oct. 27

Join maritime historian Rick James to find out what really went down along the West Coast during prohibition.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, James will launch Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How: The Real Story of West Coast Rum Running (Harbour Publishing, $32.95) at the Native Sons Hall (Lower Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay). Doors open at 1:30 p.m., and the presentation starts at 2:30.

Personalized copies of the book will be available for purchase, courtesy of the Laughing Oyster Book Shop, and light refreshments will be served.

Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How is a lively volume in which James separates fact from fiction, taking an authoritative look into B.C.’s rum-running past. Contrary to popular perception, rum-running along the Pacific was usually carried out in a relatively civilized manner, with an oh-so-Canadian politeness on the British Columbian side. But there were indeed shootouts, hijackings and even a particularly gruesome murder associated with the business.

Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How is impeccably researched, and James draws on first-hand accounts from old-time rum-runners, the often-sensational newspaper coverage of the day and his expert knowledge of the various vessels that speckled the coast – from beaten-up fishing boats to ocean-going steamers. In addition, he offers astute commentary on the parallels between the prohibition of alcohol and the regulation of recreational drugs such as marijuana. In Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How, James has brought history alive making it relevant to British Columbians today.

Rick James is a writer, maritime historian and photographer whose work has been published in numerous periodicals. He co-authored Historic Shipwrecks of BC’s Central Coast, Historic Shipwrecks of the Sunshine Coast and The Comox Valley. Many people recognize him from his role in The Sea Hunters episode, Malahat: Queen of the Rum Runners, which aired on Canada’s History Channel. He lives in Royston, with fellow writer Paula Wild.

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