The Intermittently True Adventures of Moishe"Two-Gun" Cohen


Moishe "Two-Gun" Cohen. Photo courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Alberta.


Artful dodger. Edmonton real estate tycoon. Chinese revolutionary. Edmonton writer Paula Simons unravels the unlikely tale of a not-so-nice Jewish boy who went from East End London pickpocket to Prairie con-man to Sun Yat-Sen's gun-running general.

The true story of how a Jewish street urchin from London's East End, reinvented himself as a hero of the Chinese revolution by way of a Saskatchewan wheat field, a Saskatoon gambling den, Edmonton City Hall and the battlefields of Passchendale, isn't so easy to tell - especially because Moishe Cohen himself did so much to create his own legend, and sometimes, his own facts.

Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons attempts to follow the 'River Cohen' to its source - and to trace all the tributaries of his remarkable - and occasionally unbelievable story.   But she's on another expedition, too. She's mapping Cohen's improbable adventures to see what they tell us about the Canada we have become today.

Participants in the program:

Daniel Levy, author of Two-Gun Cohen: A Biography, published by Thomas Dunne Books, (1997).

Brian Evans, Professor Emeritus of History & Classics, University of Alberta, author of Pursuing China, published by University of Alberta Press, (2012).

Charles Foran, novelist and author of Mordecai: The Life and Times, published by Knopf, (2010).

George Dong, retired journalist and author of Chinese language novel based on the life of Two-Gun Cohen (2013).

Readings were by Mark Meer, from the book Two-Gun Cohen by Charles Drage, with Morris Cohen published by Jonathan Cape, (1954).

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