Red Goodwin

Red Goodwin, by John Wilson

Red Goodwin

by John Wilson


  • Spring 2006
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-034-7 (1-55380-034-6)
  • 5-1/4″ x 7-5/8″ Trade Paperback, 170 pages
  • Young Adult Novel

John Wilson has created a compelling story based on the folk hero, Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, also known as “Red” Goodwin from the colour of his hair and his radical social ideas. Goodwin was originally a miner from the north of England, who came to Canada and took up the cause of the working man during the Trail smelter strike and at the coal mines on Vancouver Island. His ideas were eventually considered so dangerous that a special constable was hired to hunt him down in the forest near Cumberland.

Wilson tells the story of a young boy, Will Ryan, sent out from England after his father was killed in WW I, to live with his uncle, a mine manager, at Cumberland. Through a chance meeting in the forest with Red Goodwin, young Will has all his ideas turned upside down, especially when he sees first-hand how the miners are treated in the community and at the pit face. He becomes friends with a Chinese boy who introduces him to the racism in Canada, where “Chinks” are seen as expendable. Will is also deeply smitten by a beautiful Scottish girl, the daughter of a miner, who is working to help Goodwin and others hiding out in the forests.

Soon Will finds himself caught between the demands of his uncle, his loyalty to the memory of his father, and the new vision of Goodwin who argues that the European war between Britain and Germany has parallels with the war between the mine owners and the mine workers. In an exciting story, filled with sudden turns and tragic events, young Will discovers that he must make a choice, a choice that will change his life forever.

“Wilson has created an exciting adventure story about one of Canada’s true folk heroes — Ginger Goodwin — and something much rarer: an adventure in ideas.”
— Ann Walsh

Also by John Wilson:

Reviews & Awards

Shortlisted for the Red Maple Award

Selected for Our Choice

“the story is exciting and filled with twists and tragedy and brings the attitudes of the era to life. It manages to be both instructive and engaging.”
British Columbia History

“It’s admirable and delightful that John Wilson engages the deeds of a British Columbian people’s hero . . . a speedy, undemanding read that conveys interesting local history and should awaken kids’ minds to certain political issues, then and now.”
Quill & Quire

“The writing captures the reader instantly, and sets the premise for a great story.”
What If? Magazine

“Highly Recommended.”
CM Magazine

“Wilson has added to the growing collection of Goodwin lore, adeptly weaving fact and fiction”
Our Times

“I loved the book, and I hope to read many more from this author”
KIdsWWwrite – Sarah’s Stars