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History Post-confederation (1867-)

Red Lights on the Prairies

by (author) James H. Gray

Fifth House Books
Initial publish date
Apr 1995
Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 1995
    List Price

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An unconventional social history, Red Lights on the Prairies takes a lively look at the history of prostitution in prairie cities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

This lighthearted yet insightful book tells how the West became overrun with brothels when huge tides of immigrants- mostly unattached young men in the prime of life- swept into the region as settlers. Unlike many histories of this era, it focuses on the prairie cities and towns that were home to the bars, brothels and poolrooms, and describes the efforts of the police, clergy and moral reformers, who were periodically outraged by the rowdy behaviour in the bawdy houses.

In this ground-breaking book, James Gray draws upon local newspapers of the time, the accounts of several former madams, and the reminiscences of old-timers who had been youths at the turn of the century to produce a vivid and authentic book at a colourful and offbeat aspect of our past.

Like its companion book, Booze, also by James Gray, Red Lights on the Prairies was a huge success when it was first published, selling more than 100,000 copies throughout North America

About the author

James Gray, one of western Canada�s finest social historians, was born in Whitemouth, Manitoba, in 1906. We worked for the Winnipeg Free Press for many years and went on to edit several other publications. In 1947, he relocated to Calgary, where he worked with the Home Oil Company for twenty years before retiring to embark on a new career as a historian. He passed away on 12 November 1998 in Calgary at the age of ninety-two.

James H. Gray's profile page

Other titles by James H. Gray