Winner, 2021 Evelyn Richardson Award for Non-Fiction, 2021 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
Shortlisted, 2021 Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the 2021 Margaret and John Savage Award for Best First Book (Non-fiction)
A Hill Times' 100 Best Books in 2020 Selection
On Canada's History Bestseller List
Growing up on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Tyler LeBlanc wasn’t fully aware of his family’s Acadian roots — until a chance encounter with an Acadian historian prompted him to delve into his family history. LeBlanc’s discovery that he could trace his family all the way to the time of the Acadian Expulsion and beyond forms the basis of this compelling account of Le Grand Dérangement.
Piecing together his family history through archival documents, Tyler LeBlanc tells the story of Joseph LeBlanc (his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather), Joseph’s ten siblings, and their families. 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 homeland. Some escaped the deportation and were able to retreat into the wilderness. Others found their way back to Acadie. But many were exiled to Britain, France, or the future United States, where they faced suspicion and prejudice and struggled to settle into new lives.
A unique biographical approach to the history of the Expulsion, Acadian Driftwood is a vivid insight into one family’s experience of this traumatic event.
Tyler LeBlanc was born and raised in a tiny fishing village on Nova Scotia’s south shore. He studied history and journalism as an undergraduate and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. His writing has appeared in This Magazine, Modern Farmer, Explore, Dal Magazine, and the Coast.
"A unique family genealogy. "
— Mariianne Mays Wiebe
"The most powerful, compelling, important book I’ve read for a while. "
— James Mullinger
"Tyler LeBlanc takes readers on a quest to uncover his family’s forgotten history, a journey into the horrors of the eighteenth-century deportations that scattered his Acadian ancestors and almost destroyed their culture. Deeply researched and honestly told, Acadian Driftwood is a gritty, gripping account of a dark chapter in Canada’s history and an uplifting tale of discovery — discovery of heritage, of family, and, ultimately, of identity. "
— Dean Jobb
"The Acadian Expulsion may be an unlikely choice for a summer read, but Tyler LeBlanc’s Acadian Driftwood was so engaging I blew through it like it was a summer blockbuster. "
— Cathy Carter
"Acadian Driftwood wraps readers in the severity of Acadian suffering and the strength of the Acadian soul. "
— Micaela Cockburn
"The Acadian story deserves to be told far and wide — let this exquisite book draw you into an astonishing tale of imperial abuse and collective courage. "
— Lyse Doucet
"Thanks to LeBlanc’s beautifully written book, brought alive in riveting detail, more of us will understand how the British tried to erase a people — the Acadians — from the landscape of the Atlantic region, and the horror these individuals experienced as their homesteads were destroyed and their families torn apart. "
— Renée Hartlieb
"Can you imagine all of Owen Sound being told, ‘Nope, you can’t live here anymore. Get out!’ That is what happened to the Acadian people in 1755. Because they spoke French, they had to go. ..This is a complete history of that tragic removal written in a personal style with each chapter focusing on one member of the family. "
— Andrew Armitage
"Whether you already have a firm grasp on the history of the Acadian people, or know absolutely nothing about them, this book will inform and inspire you. "
"With great care and an eye for well-researched details, Tyler LeBlanc tells a story of trauma by making room for personal and historical insights into the lives of the Acadians who survived the Expulsion. A tapestry of 250-year-old threads, Acadian Driftwood is stronger and more resilient than one would ever expect, let alone woven in such a careful and vibrant manner. "
— Simon Thibault