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History Pre-confederation (to 1867)

Corporate Cataclysm

Abitibi Power & Paper and the Collapse of the Newsprint Industry, 1912-1946

by (author) Barry E.C. Boothman

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Pre-Confederation (to 1867), Corporate & Business History, Legal History, Government & Business, Labor & Industrial Relations, Bankruptcy & Insolvency, Manufacturing Industries
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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In this absorbing narrative, Barry E.C. Boothman traces the history of Abitibi Power & Paper Limited alongside the rise and fall of the newsprint industry and the advent of Canadian corporate capitalism. In the first half of the twentieth century, Abitibi was Canada’s biggest manufacturer – an apparent success story after the Wall Street crash of 1929 and a company deemed "too big to fail" – but the company eventually ended up at the centre of the longest and most controversial bankruptcy in Canadian history.


Moving from the frontier areas of northern Ontario to the heart of the continental economy, Corporate Cataclysm shows how competitive strategies, industrial organization, corporate finance, and law combined with the empire-building dreams of entrepreneurs and the concerns of politicians to generate an economic disaster. It then chronicles the disputes and intense strife that plagued Abitibi’s fourteen-year receivership.

About the author

Barry E.C. Boothman is a retired professor in the Faculty of Management at the University of New Brunswick.

Barry E.C. Boothman's profile page


  • Winner, 2020-21 Fred Landon Award awarded by the Ontario Historical Society

Editorial Reviews

"Boothman spells out timely lessons for modern business that may be learned from the study of failure; providing a surgical study of the Abitibi company, the public policy objectives of Ontario's political leaders; and the relationship of Canadian legal institutions with modern corporate enterprises."

Honours and Awards Committee, OHS Fred Landon Award

"Corporate Cataclysm is an excellent, deeply researched, and thorough account of the rise, fall and ultimate restructuring of a Canadian behemoth, Abitibi Power & Paper. The reader has a front row seat in the author’s narrative account, as he traces historical events through three tumultuous decades in Canadian history with an historian’s eye for detail and a novelist’s literary flair."

<em>Canadian Business History Association</em>