Book Review

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Overselling the creative class

Overselling the creative class

In 2002, Richard Florida published his book The Rise of the Creative Class and made a career for himself as an urban theorist, traveling the world lecturing and advising on how struggling, economically challenged cities could revive themselves. His “creative class” – a loose coalition that included artists, tech workers, academics and, interestingly, gay men and women – were rebuilding decimated downtown neighbourhoods and could do the same almost ... (Continue reading)

Somewheres vs anywheres

The recent populist electoral convulsions in the U.S. and Europe has led to a lot of dubious analysis, but one insightful book about what is happening in the west is David Goodhart’s The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics (Hurst, $27.50, 278 pages). Goodhart looks at British politics and finds that the division is less about left vs. right or populist vs. elite, but rather those who are connected to a place or group of ... (Continue reading)

More Canadians

More Canadians

There is a new book out by Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders called Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians is Not Enough (Penguin, $27.95). In brief he argues Canada has too much land and too few people. In some ways he is counter-intuitive, saying that more people are necessary for Canada to become an environmental leader. Typically, more population is seen as environmentally damaging, but Saunders argues that the ... (Continue reading)

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Book on American courts misses mark

National Affairs Rory Leishman In a widely acclaimed new book, Sex and the Constitution, Geoffrey R. Stone, former dean of law at the University of Chicago, commends the Supreme Court of the United States for revising the laws and the Constitution to conform with contemporary values. Laurence H. Tribe, professor of law at Harvard University, lauds Sex and the Constitution as a “masterpiece” and a “magisterial font of ... (Continue reading)

What is the Benedict option and will it help?

What is the Benedict option  and will it help?

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian World by Rod Dreher (Sentinel, $34, 262 pages) Journalist Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option is a rarity: a socially conservative book urging Christians be more faithful that spurred a serious discussion in the mainstream media among pundits about the future of the so-called Religious Right and those who comprise it. David Brooks of the New York Times ... (Continue reading)

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A history of Canada’s secularization

A history of Canada’s secularization

Under Siege: Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867-2017) by Don Hutchinson (Word Alive Press, $22.99, 276 pages) In Under Siege, former Evangelical Fellowship of Canada vice president and general legal counsel Don Hutchinson writes about the history of Christian churches in Canada describing how the Dominion began as a predominantly Christian nation to one in which is being led by the cultural elite “in a direction ... (Continue reading)

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A history of Canadian federalism

A history of Canadian federalism

Sir John’s Echo: The Voice for a Stronger Canada by John Boyko (Dundurn, $19.99, 213 pages) John Boyko is the author of six books on Canadian history and his latest, Sir John’s Echo, presents the story of Canada since Confederation as a struggle between Ottawa and the provinces, with the central government often asserting itself as a force for national cohesion and necessary change in the country. Boyko says this ... (Continue reading)

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The machinery of government needs a tune-up, not replacement

The machinery of government needs  a tune-up, not replacement

Should We Change How We Vote: Evaluating Canada’s Electoral System edited by Andrew Potter, Daniel Weinstock, and Peter Loewen (McGill-Queens University Press, $19.99 paperback, 230 pages) Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy edited by Michael Chong, Scott Simms and Kennedy Stewart (Douglas & McIntyre, $22.95, 165 pages) The Unbroken Machine: Canada’s Democracy in Action by Dale Smith (Dundurn, $21.99, 151 pages) In Should We Change How We Vote, ... (Continue reading)

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Review of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal

Review of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal

Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal by Gwendolyn Landolt and Patrick Redmond (The Interim Publishing Company, 217 pages, $20). This retelling of the abortion story in Gwen Landolt and Patrick Redmond’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal brings out both the frustration of pro-lifers and a concern over a missed opportunity to have made a difference in the history of our country. The study concentrates on the intricate interaction of the five ... (Continue reading)

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Permanent adolescence

Permanent adolescence

I do not typically like books written by current politicians. They are dull, self-serving, and full of platitudes and clichés. Senator Ben Sasse’s new book The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis – and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance (St. Martin’s, $38.99, 306 pages) is none of those things. The Nebraska Republican lawmaker and former university president has identified a problem – today’s mollycoddled youth who are ... (Continue reading)

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Religious freedom precarious in the West

Religious freedom precarious in the West

In It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies (Harper, 192 pages), Mary Eberstadt documents how faithful Christians throughout the Western world are now living in fear of escalating religious oppression. Of course, Eberstadt readily acknowledges that persecution of the faithful outside the West is vastly worse. In particular, she cites the agony of Christians in the Middle East and Africa where, “radical Islam has been slaughtering and raping and ... (Continue reading)

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The Walls Are Talking: are you listening?

The Walls Are Talking:  are you listening?

The Walls are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell their Stories by Abby Johnson (Ignatius Press, $23, 160 pages) When it was released in the beginning of 2011, Abby Johnson’s biography Unplanned got the pro-life movement all abuzz. Planned Parenthood’s 2008 Employee of the Year and director of a Texas Planned Parenthood facility Johnson had had a conversion after assisting with an ultrasound-guided abortion on September 26, 2009. She had ... (Continue reading)

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Politics as marketing

Politics as marketing

Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control by Alex Marland (UBC Press, $39.95 528 pages) In many ways, the thesis of Alex Marland is nothing new: governments and political parties have strict control of their messaging as they present themselves as brands to be sold to voters. Marland, a political science professor at Memorial University, brings scholarly treatment to the topic, with everything good and ... (Continue reading)

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McGuinty’s disingenuous memoirs

McGuinty’s disingenuous memoirs

Review Paul Tuns I have reviewed a good number of political memoirs over the years, and my observation is always the same: they are unsatisfying in what is left unsaid or merely hinted at. Dalton McGuinty’s Making a Difference (Dunburn, 240 pages, $35) is no different. It is no easy task writing a memoir of a 25-year political career, from running in Ottawa South to replace his father as ... (Continue reading)

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Turning modern Christmas books into a new family tradition

Turning modern Christmas books into a new family tradition

It’s hard not to look forward to Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of the year when friends and family get together to help trim the tree, put up the wreath and lights, sing carols, exchange presents, and enjoy a magnificent feast. A memorable holiday tradition throughout the ages has been to gather around a central location, such as a fireplace, and read classic Christmas stories. Some typical holiday selections have included Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Clement C. Moore’s ‘Twas the ... (Continue reading)

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