Politics & labour

#257 Macdonald, Laurier, Borden

Prime Ministerial Power in Canada: Its Origins under Macdonald, Laurier, and Borden by Patrice Dutil Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $34.95  /  9780774834742 Reviewed by Barbara J. Messamore First published March 2, 2018 * Patrice Dutil seeks to lay to rest the pervasive notion that the prime minister’s office has become increasingly “presidential” in recent decades,…
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#256 Bethune: I’m not your man

ESSAY: I’m not your man: Norman Bethune & women by Larry Hannant First published Feb. 28, 2018 * Doctor, medical innovator, propagandist, artist, political activist — Norman Bethune is nothing if not multitalented. The same complexity marks his character. The accounts of friends and acquaintances portray a man whose personality was multifaceted and contradictory, at once…
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#250 Gordon Campbell, a reckoning

First published Feb. 22, 2018. The Campbell Revolution? Power, Politics, and Policy in British Columbia J.R. (Jason) Lacharite and Tracy Summerville (editors) Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2017. $34.95  /  9780773551039 Reviewed by Hamish Telford Duplicitous in terms of his First Nations policies, Gordon Campbell was likewise self-serving when it came to the arts;…
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#234 Ted Hughes, Titan of Fairness

First published Jan. 18, 2018. The Mighty Hughes: From Prairie Lawyer to Western Canada’s Moral Compass by Craig McInnes Victoria: Heritage House, 2017. $32.95  /  9781772032055 Reviewed by John McLaren * In Canada, biographies of appointed public servants are few and far between, compared with those of politicians. These days even judges are the focus…
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#233 The malleable truth

First published Jan. 17, 2018. In the Trump era, George Orwell’s insights resonate profoundly. Stephen Wadhams’ The Orwell Tapes is a collection of memories from those who crossed paths with the complex character who first described Big Brother, thoughtcrime, Newspeak and doublethink. The Orwell Tapes Vancouver: Locarno Press by Stephen Wadhams $18.50 / 9780995994614 *…
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#228 Reconciliation dances & divides

Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts its History by J.R. (Jim) Miller Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. $39.95  /  9781487502188 Reviewed by Andrew Woolford First published Dec. 23, 2017 * Projects of justice and reconciliation in a national context are never straightforward affairs. Governments do not wake up one day and decide to deal…
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#226 Rescuing Riel, revising history

First published Dec. 20, 2017. Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done by David Doyle Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2017. $24.95  /  978-1-55380-496-3 Reviewed by Max Hamon * Few Canadians have been more misunderstood and controversial than Louis Riel. Now that Canadians are even re-assessing the reputation of our first prime minister, David Doyle’s Louis Riel: Let…
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#218 One dammed river before another

People, Power, and Progress: The Story of John Hart Dam and the Campbell River Power Projects by Daniel Stoffman Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2017 $24.95  /  9781927958384 Reviewed by James Hull Co-published with the BC Hydro Power Pioneers. First published Dec. 11, 2017 * The John Hart Dam and generating station opened in December of…
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#197 Power to the people

Powering Up Canada A History of Power, Fuel, and Energy from 1600 by Ruth Sandwell (editor) Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. $37.95  /  9780773547865 Reviewed by Dan Gallacher First published Nov. 7, 2017 Years ago I likened history to a diamond. Each time it is turned in the light, another facet is revealed….
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#193 Nanaimo mayor rivals Dunsmuir

First published November 3, 2017 Mark Bate: Nanaimo’s First Mayor by Jan Peterson Victoria: Heritage House, 2017. $19.95.  /  9781772031829 Reviewed by John R. Hinde While industrialist Robert Dunsmuir has long been recognized as the most important figure in nineteenth century Nanaimo, thanks in part to Terry Reksten’s The Dunsmuir Saga (Douglas & McIntyre, 1991),…
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#192 New Westminster at work

First published Nov. 1, 2017 REVIEW: Longshoring on the Fraser: Stories and History of ILWU Local 502 by Chris M.V. Madsen, Liam O’Flaherty, and Michelle La Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2016. $29.95  /  9781926991832 Reviewed by Sean Cadigan * Longshoring on the Fraser tells “the story of ILWU [International Longshore and Warehouse Union] Local 502”…
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#191 Biodiversity in the boardroom

First published October 30, 2017 REVIEW: Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in Global Biodiversity Politics by Jessica Dempsey Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. £19.99 (U.K.).  /   978-1-118-64060-9 Reviewed by Juliane Collard * In Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in Global Biodiversity Politics, UBC geographer Jessica Dempsey considers the problem of biodiversity loss in the modern…
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#190 Multiculturalism beyond rhetoric

The Minor Intimacies of Race: Asian Publics in North America by Christine Kim Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2016 $30.00 (U.S.)  /  9780252081620 Reviewed by Helen Hok-Sze Leung First published oct. 29, 2017   Christine Kim examines the limitations of Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism by considering Maclean’s Magazine’s 2010 story about “too many”…
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#180 The first major B.C. internments

Essay: Refuge of a Scoundrel: Patriotism and William Bowser by Wayne Norton First published Oct. 13, 2017 * In this Ormsby Review exclusive, Wayne Norton reveals that in his brief term in office (1915-16), the Conservative Premier William Bowser fanned the flames of patriotism stoked by mounting Canadian war casualties and the German sinking of…
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#167 Janet Smith & Wong Foon Sing

The White Angel by John MacLachlan Gray Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $29.95 / 9781771621465 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published Sept. 8, 2017 * The challenges of writing historical fiction are manifold. Writers must capture both the exterior (surface and sociological details of a time they know only through research) and the interior…
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#164 Cuba from the inside

Cuba from the Inside by Alan Twigg First published September 5, 2017 * For anyone with an abiding love or interest in Cuba, there are many books about the place–more than ten of which are by British Columbians. For instance, when an American professor named Maurice Halperin met Che Guevara in Mexico, prior to Fidel…
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#163 When the rubber hit the road

British Columbia by the Road: Car Culture and the Making of a Modern Landscape by Ben Bradley Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017 $34.95  /  9780774834193 Reviewed by Daniel Francis * In 2013 a septet of Canadian historians calling themselves The Past Collective published a study which contradicted the hoary old cliche that Canadians do not know…
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#160 Keeping parliament current

First published August 28, 2017 REVIEW: Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy by Michael Chong, Scott Simms, and Kennedy Stewart (editors) Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. $22.95  / 978-1-77162-137-3 Reviewed by Hamish Telford * By comparison, the current political climate in the United States makes Canada look like Nirvana, but…
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#143 More than an imaginary line

REVIEW: Engaging the Line: How the Great War Shaped the Canada-US Border by Brandon R. Dimmel Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016 $32.95  /  9780774832755 Reviewed by Keith Regular First published June 25, 2017 * The permeable nature of borders is of increasing intellectual interest, although the subject is yet to receive sustained attention. Since the crisis…
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#140 Joy Kogawa’s reflections

First published June 17, 2017 REVIEW: Gently to Nagasaki: A Spiritual Pilgrimage, an Exploration Both Communal and Intensely Personal By Joy Kogawa Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016. $24.95 978-1-987915-15-0 Reviewed by Patricia E. Roy The librarian who provided the Cataloguing in Publication information gave Joy Kogawa’s Gently to Nagasaki a call number in the 800s…
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