The best books on the Acadian Deportation

Who am I?

I have no French or Acadian ancestors—as far as I know—yet the majority of my 21 books (history and fiction) explore different aspects of French colonial or Acadian history. Childhood visits to historic sites like the Port-Royal Habitation, Grand-Pré, Louisbourg and Fort Anne must have planted the seeds for the historian and writer I would become. Then again, working for years as an historian at the Fortress of Louisbourg definitely helped. France made me a chevalier of its Ordre des Palmes académiques for my body of work.

I wrote...

The Hat

By A.J.B. Johnston,

Book cover of The Hat

What is my book about?

The Hat presents the story of the 1755 Acadian Deportation from Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, in a fresh, 21st-century way. Readers are not told—until the Afterword— where and when the action is taking place, nor by whom or to whom. Everything that happens is seen through the eyes of two central characters, 14-year-old Marie and 10-year-old Charles. The sister and brother show determination and perseverance as they deal with an incredibly difficult situation. Though based on a tragedy, the story is uplifting and inspiring. In the Afterword, readers discover the historical details behind the story they have just read.

The books I picked & why

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A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland

By John Mack Faragher,

Book cover of A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland

Why this book?

Faragher’s book created quite a stir when it came out in 2005, especially among Acadians. For here was an author who had no Acadian roots who saw the tragedy of the Acadian Deportation from the perspective of their ancestors. The history recounted in the book provides rich details on how and why in 1755 troops from New England sought to carry out their "great and noble scheme" of expelling 18,000 French-speaking Acadians ("the neutral French") from Nova Scotia. The removals would last eight years with thousands of Acadians forcibly relocated, a large number died, families often separated, and others going into hiding in forests. Faragher tells the story with a strong, highly readable narrative.

From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755

By N.E.S. Griffiths,

Book cover of From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755

Why this book?

This book by Naomi Griffiths is excellent for anyone who wants to understand who the Acadians were (and still are)—and how they came to be considered a people distinct from French. The book is indispensable to grasp the basic characteristics of Acadians in the 17th and 18th centuries and the many challenges they faced. As Griffiths shows, the deportation did not destroy the Acadian community. In spite of a horrific death toll, nine years of proscription, and the forfeiture of property and political rights, the Acadians continued to be a cohesive community in Nova Scotia and other areas where they settled. Instead of destroying the Acadian community, the deportation proved to be a source of inspiration in the formation of a strong Acadian identity in the 19th century and beyond.

Deportation of the Prince Edward Island Acadians

By Earle Lockerby,

Book cover of Deportation of the Prince Edward Island Acadians

Why this book?

As the title proclaims, this is a book about one particular Acadian Deportation, that from Prince Edward Island. It occurred three years after the first wave in 1755, and it had France not the Anglo-American colonies as the destination. It was largest of all the different forcible Acadian removals, and nearly half of those sent to France perished due to shipboard illnesses and shipwrecks. Lockerby undertook meticulous research and summarizes it in this book. Before this publication came out—and there is a French-language version as well—this chapter in the saga of the Acadian people had been little and poorly understood. The headquarters for this mass deportation was the Canadian national historic site of Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst, which happens to be the focus of my next book, Ancient Land, New Land.

Acadian Driftwood: One Family and the Great Expulsion

By Tyler LeBlanc,

Book cover of Acadian Driftwood: One Family and the Great Expulsion

Why this book?

This book offers a personalized, non-academic look at what it means for one Acadian to be part of the collective Acadian community. The author traces his family history all the way back to the time of the Acadian Expulsion and beyond. That ancestor was Joseph LeBlanc (Tyler's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather). With descendants scattered across modern-day Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the LeBlancs provide a window into the diverse fates that awaited the Acadians when they were expelled from their Acadian homeland. Some escaped the deportation; others were deported and later returned to the region, but not to same areas as those had been taken over by new settlers. In sum, the book is biographical approach to the history of the Expulsion.

Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

By Carl A. Brasseaux,

Book cover of Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

Why this book?

It comes as a surprise to many, but no Acadians were deported to Louisiana. It was a French colony in 1755, and those making the decisions about where the deportees were to go did not want to strengthen any French colony. They chose the Anglo-American colonies so there could be assimilation. The reason so many Acadians—renamed Cajuns—ended up in Louisiana was because of later migrations; voluntary migrations, not forced deportations. This book examines the growth, evolution, and political involvement of Louisiana's large Acadian community between the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and 1877, the end of Reconstruction in Louisiana. It’s a study that offers a good introduction to the Acadians (Cajuns) of that state.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Acadians, Nova Scotia, and colonies?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Acadians, Nova Scotia, and colonies.

The Acadians Explore 7 books about the Acadians
Nova Scotia Explore 15 books about Nova Scotia
Colonies Explore 41 books about colonies

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like In the Province of History: The Making of the Public Past in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia, Illustrated History of the Acadians of Prince Edward Island, and Three Centuries and the Island: A Historical Geography of Settlement and Agriculture in Prince Edward Island, Canada if you like this list.