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Reasoning Otherwise: Leftists and the People's Enlightenment in Canada, 1890-1920 Paperback – Nov 15 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Between the Lines (Nov. 15 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897071493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897071496
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 11 2009
Format: Paperback
From one of Canada's pre-eminent historians Ian McKay, this is the first book of a multi-volume history of Canada's leftist tradition. Rather than a monograph or a biographical approach, McKay prefers to call his research, a reconnaissance of the hegemonic struggle of the left.

As such, the book is written in an academic format. Instead of a linear narrative of the "great man" figures of Canadian socialism, the book is divided thematically beginning with the theoretical framework which is then succeeded by McKay's reconnaissance into the fundamental questions of class, religion, gender, and race. Finally, McKay brings all of it together into a detailed analysis of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, the crescendo of the movement and the immediate aftermath.

Throughout the book, McKay underlies his analysis using the evolutionary theories of Darwin and Spencer, intertwined with Marxist dogma. It's interesting to see the parallels of the many debates within Canadian socialism with other international movements like Bolshevism. The debates over class-consciousness, nationalism, and free-love to name a few. And while Canadian socialism never garnered the attention of the great thinkers like a Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, or a Debs, or Emma Goldman; it's challenge to the liberal order fundamentally changed the political landscape such that Canada's socialist tradition was not simply an ephemeral phenomenon as it was in the United States but instead had a long-lasting impact of which much of its effects can still be felt today.

"Reasoning Otherwise" is a nuanced academic exploration of Canada's left. McKay's writing is engaging as usual and as always, his work always leaves you more "enlightened" then before you began.
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