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The Penguin History of Canada [Paperback]

Bob Bothwell
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 30 2007

Canada is in many ways a country of limits, a paradox for a place that enjoys virtually unlimited space. Most of that space is uninhabited, and much of it is uninhabitable. It is a country with a huge north but with most of its population in the south, hugging the U.S. border. An uneasy and difficult country, Canada has nevertheless defied the odds: it remains, in the 21st century, a haven of peace and a beacon of prosperity. Erudite yet accessible and marked by narrative flair, The Penguin History of Canada paints an expansive portrait of a dynamic and complex country.


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Product Description

About the Author

Robert Bothwell is a professor of history and director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto. He has written books on a wide variety of topics in Canadian history, from atomic energy (Eldorado: Canada's National Uranium Company and Nucleus) to French–English relations (Canada and Quebec) to Canadian–American relations (Canada and the United States).


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Canada, it's been said, has been the victim of too much geography. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to canadian history Aug. 10 2009
Format:Hardcover
I did some research before deciding to buy this book. I was looking for an introduction to the history of Canada, and I wasn't disappointed.

The book is well written and flows easily from start to end. My only complaint is the lack of timelines/references/indexes at the end that could have summarized all the names, places and major events which become hard to remember once you're half way through the book.

Otherwise, the book was very informative and has greatly expanded my knowledge on the subject.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye for Canada`s Ironies Dec 25 2009
By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This version of Canada`s story moves at a brisk, entertaining pace through the ages of colonization, nation-forming, and the perils of the twentieth-century. Bothwell shows a keen eye for irony, noting, for example, how French Canada`s loyalty to its British conquerors was bolstered when 50 priests from Old France arrived, fleeing the French Revolution to preach devotion for church and king. The choice of narrative details is objective, gives offers scope for critical humour: ``Pearson signed the North Atlantic treaty, creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Washington on April Fool`s Day, 1949, while the U.S. Marine Band played a selection of popular tunes including ``I`ve Got Plenty of Nothin`.``

The book gives substantial treatment to recent history, with its battles over free trade, NAFTA, the attempted Meech Lake revision of the constitution, the Quebec independence referendum of 1995, and Canada`s role in global issues of genocide or the war on terror.With the hindsight of recent events, Bothwell points out developments which drew little attention when they occurred: ``Pearson and St. Laurent stoutly defended to the skeptical and neutralist Indians the good intentions of the United States, even when it meant that the Americans were arming India`s neighbour Pakistan -- in the interest of anti-communism.``
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars engaging but rather unbalanced Oct. 6 2010
Format:Paperback
It would be difficult to adhere to the highest standard of historiography while covering such a long span of time and write engagingly and get a clear story of the larger connections across. Still, the author manages the latter two (engagement and story) only by sacrificing the semblance of a balanced account.

If you are interested in a cloak & dagger version of the exploits of Canadian politicians and generals, and do not take the subject matter of the personal lives of so many peoples too seriously, then this book is for you... at some point, however, it will become too obvious that the voices of 98% of the people whose lives get chronicled in passing (poor people, women, eastern and southern Europeans, religious minorities, to say nothing of first nation and Metis people) are either outright missing or treated in a very superficial manner. While a lot can be gleaned about the outlines of (inside) history of Canada's powerful, this book needs to be supplemented by historical works which at least attempt to do justice to other perspectives.

At the end of the day, this book provides more answers than questions - a very mixed blessing for those who want to learn from the historical record...
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