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J. Guild (Toronto,Canada)
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Who killed Canadian history?
Who killed Canadian history?
by J. L Granatstein
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Granatstein is right on;but it is not only our history!, Feb. 16 2004
In reality it is not the history of our land that is boring;but the people who have led our institutions and the agendas of those who have been installed in them.
It's natural to compare ourselves to the Americans and their history,but that is pointless because as soon as they were able they drove out the European control by Revolution and set about to create One Nation with their own principles.
That was not the case here.We continued to be colonies and preferred to be led by the mother country mentality of England and France through Peace,Order and Good Government.Therefore, since these two countries were never in agreement,why would one expect that creating a country based on the principles of both of them end up with a Nation which would be united throughout.
Hence,having gotten off on this approach ,we have always confronted our devevopment issues with a strong determination that above all else compromise would rule.
There was a glimmer of light after the two World Wars that we might get on with creating One Nation that was for all of us,but those deep seated divisions only became enlarged.
Take something as basic as our flag;rather than unison ,every province now has their own,where most did'nt even have one and Quebec has given it little notice,other than a great lack of disinterest,to put it mildly.
So, rather than working towards unity we compromised with the misguided concept of Bilnguialism and Biculturalism.All that has done is to emphasize the past differences and drive us further apart.If that wasn't bad enough,we dreamed up the idea that since the Americans believed in the melting pot to create One Nation;we cound'nt do that,we went the Multicultural route and encouraged retention of the very ideas that these new arrivals were leaving behind.
Now we wonder "Who Killed Canadian History?"
There,s little doubt that the leftist ideologies that permeate our government and government agencies has carried us down this road. The idea that "we know what's good for you" and don't bother yourself,we'll take care of you is firmly entrenched.What ever happened to the idea that it is my responsibility, particularly since I'm paying for it.I am entitled to have a say.
The book very well outlines the problem.He shows that Political Correctness ,an oxymoron,by the way;is rampant,but doesn't dwell on how it became so established.
As a matter of fact he even suggests that the solutions should come from the same educational establishments that created the the problem. I don't think so !The only way out is to take that establishment totally apart,get rid of the vast majority holding these destructive agendas and rebuild the whole system from the bottom up. Education should be universal using a merit,performance based,voucher system where the people who pay for the education have some say on how their resources are to be spent.This will not be offered by the establishment;but must be wrestled away from them to get education out of its quaigmire.

K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER: The Secret Story of The Soviet Nuclear Submarine
K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER: The Secret Story of The Soviet Nuclear Submarine
by Peter Capt Ret Huchthausen
Edition: Paperback
56 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "These are good weapons we're building,comrades!", Feb. 13 2004
A great expose on the Soviet Navy.Although we all remember the Cold War and the phychological war between the USSR and the West,particularly the US.The massive buildups on both sides seemed to be without end.With the continual blustering of Russia,and continual expansion of communision we all wondered where it would all end.Little did we suspect that the powerful Soviet system would collapse from within with hardly a wimper.Many still don't understand how such a powerful system could fall apart so easily.Well,reading this book will show how the whole system was rotten to the core and totally inept in every aspect except brutality and deceit particularly towards their own people.It's amazing after all the slavery,sacrifice,brutality,forced labor camps,oppression and all the other evils carried out by the government, that so little was accomplished.
This book shows that while we feared these Soviet subs,the real threat was that they were so poorly designed,constructed,maintained and operated that the biggest threat was that they would have a malfunction and cause a major disaster.
To quote a little that sums up the Cold War from pg.210...
"The Cold War ,after all,was not just a military chess game,an effort to maintain the balance of nuclear power,with that wonderful concept Mutual Assured Destruction. It was also a war in a much more literal sense,a war of attrition.Our strategy in constantly upping the ante in the arms race was to push the entire Soviet system to the breaking point.And of course,that strategy succeeded.The Cold War is over,and we were the winners."
The book is well researched,well written and very informative.

Great Depression: America in the 1930s
Great Depression: America in the 1930s
by T. H. Watkins
Edition: Library Binding

5.0 out of 5 stars Brother,can you spare a dime?..., Feb. 12 2004
This is the first book I've read that is totally about the Great Depression.However,I have read all of Steinbeck's,Erskine Caldwell's and numerous by and about Woody Guthrie as well as many about Capone and other Gangsters.While these were all about the same period,they tended to zero in on specific ways of life,even though one aspect of the depression did not escape the effect of another.The black sharecroppers in the Deep South of Caldwell,the bootlegging,clubs and turf wars of Chicago of Capone and Ness,the Dust Bowl migrations of the Oakies of Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie give detailed insight of people living through these times but but each went on almost oblivous to each other.What Watkins has done is to deal with every
thing during the Depression and somewhat ties it all together. This is was no mean feat.
He leaned towards Government,Big Business ,Politics , Unions and other Organizations and shows how they were the source of the problems and in the final analysis had to be the solution. It was not the honest,hard working ,good,trusting majority of the people who suffered so much,that brought on this mess and they were sure helpless to correct it.As a matter of fact most of the systems prevented them by law and control from doing so.
Watkins gives most of the credit of getting things turned around to FDR and there is no doubt that he had to fight everyone to do it;in many cases his own party.This has often been the case in America from the times of Washington to Bush of today.Often the President stands alone and as Truman said "The buck stops here!" The great presidents had what it took to deal with the challenges of their times.The less great did not.
America was flat on its back and pulled itself up by its bootstraps without the help of any other country.In only a few years became strong enough to lead the charge to defeat the enemies in WWII.
The Commander of the Japanese Fleet that led the Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor said it all.."I fear all we have managed to do is to wake a sleeping giant." How right he was!
The book is well researched,well written,well organized with many excellent photographs.On top of that, it is easy reading--for a History book.

Rory And Ita
Rory And Ita
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars If you lose your job,it's the boat to England..., Feb. 7 2004
This review is from: Rory And Ita (Paperback)
I've read all of Roddy Doyle's books,and no doubt about it,this one is totally different.
This is not a book about Roddy,as a matter of fact it is not really a book by Roddy at all.
This is a book by Rory and Ita Doyle and about their lives and the lives of their parents,grandparents,families and friends.Not only it is written through their eyes and by them,Roddy is hardly even mentioned .His only involvement would seem to have been the catalyst between his parents and the publishers to make the book happen.
Having said that,I found it a very well written and interesting read.It beautifully desceibes the lives,hopes,trials,tribulations,joys,sadness,struggles,family relations,friends,working,religious and all the other things involved in living in Ireland;during most of the 20th.Century.
In many ways it was not all that different where I grew up in Nova Scotia,where many were of Irish and Scottish descent.
In both places,as well as the rest of Europe and America,things were tough,jobs were hard to find,money was tight,but people survived,and in many ways were just as happy as today.
My parents were born about 20 years earlier than Rory and Ita, and went through much the same things that they did working,creating a home and raising a family.I suppose that the biggest difference was that WW1 and WW2 affected things much differently here and The War of Independence certainly had profound effects there.But, inspite of those events ,life went on.
Therefore;as a book that describes the way life went on throughout the 20th Century for a middle class family in Ireland,it is excellent.Wouldn't every family love to have one?It seems to me it would be a much more treasured heirloom than Great Grandmothers drop-leaf table.

Let Freedom Ring: The Words That Shaped Our America
Let Freedom Ring: The Words That Shaped Our America
by Inc. Sterling Publishing Co.
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 2.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Why America is the Leader of the Free World, Feb. 5 2004
This book summarizes the landmark events and statements that enshrine the ideas and desires of freedom being the foundation of the Founding Fathers and the Citizens when creating America.
It shows that Freedom has always been the guiding light,particularly during times of internal strife or attack by foreign countries.It shows that there is no price that America would be unwilling to pay in defence of Freedom.
Although there is not an author to this book,Sterling has done a great job of putting this book together.Where else can you find these major addresses all in one book?
The speeches in this century by Wilson,The Roosevelts, Eisenhower,Kennedy,King,Johnson and Bush show that the concept of Freedom has been only strengthened by adversity and remains as strong as in the past.What other country compares?
The book is beautifully illustrated and even includes the words and music of several songs.
A reading of President Bush,s Address to Congress on September,20,2001;will show the determination that America will apply to the War on Terror.

Browser's Ecstasy
Browser's Ecstasy
by Geoffrey O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.06
21 used & new from CDN$ 7.80

3.0 out of 5 stars To each his own..., Feb. 3 2004
This review is from: Browser's Ecstasy (Paperback)
Let,s face it ,books about books are boring and more than a little snooby.This is one.
I enjoy books about books,readers,writers,collectors and book people in general;but this left me cold.The author takes a bookish approach to some excellent basic ideas and ends up writing to a very small audience,who may very well be enthralled by it.
To me, the best part of the book was the cover.
Did her lover give her "The Browser's Estacy" to read while he immersed himself in "The Poetics of Meaning" or "The Master of the Day of Judgement"? Or did he ask her what she thought of this book. "Great!put me to sleep in no time at all".
No doubt, some will really like this book,but my preference is more towards "Passion for Books" by Rabinowitz & Kaplan or"The Anatomy of Bibliomania" by Holbrook Jackson.For me, these are exceptions to my opening remark.

Doc Holliday's Woman
Doc Holliday's Woman
by Jane Candia Coleman
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 0.86

5.0 out of 5 stars "You'd sleep witha a priest if you thought he'd ......", Feb. 2 2004
This review is from: Doc Holliday's Woman (Paperback)
Even after reading the Reviews,I was surprised how good this book really is.Anyone who has any interest in the "Wild West" knows something about Doc Holliday,Wyatt Earp,Tombstone,Dodge,and even a bit about Kate Elder will find this an excellent account of the people,places and events.
The one big thing about reading about the "Wild West" is trying to sort out the truth from fiction.
Coleman uses the interviews carried out with Kate Elder herself in the 1930's by Prof.Bork and Glenn Boyer ,the world authority on Wyatt Earp, as sources of her information.
In reading reviews I found a companion book "Doc.Holliday- A Family Portrait" by Karen Holliday Tanner & Robert Dearmont.In the reviews for that book you will see a review by gboyer@histres.com,who is mentioned in the Acknowledgments to Colemns book.These reviews attest to the validity of the material.Hey,I'M convinced.
What Coleman does is tell us the real personalities behind these people. After all,these were real people,real times and real events.
An excellent read, and in my humble opinion more of a Biography than a Novel.

The Hosts of Rebecca
The Hosts of Rebecca
by Alexander Cordell
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from CDN$ 2.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Struggle for justice.., Jan. 31 2004
This review is from: The Hosts of Rebecca (Paperback)
Other than "How Green Was My Valley",I can't remember reading anything else about Wales.Though I have read extensively about mid-19 th century struggles in Ireland , Canada ,other parts of the British Empire,and the US.However,often wondered what went on in Wales during the Irish Famine and the Civil War in the US. Well,this novel gives an excellent idea of the struggles the Welsh people went through fighting the injustices and greed laid on them by the upper classes and absentee landlords.As in other countries, when the wealthy used the system to put down the common people ,it was necessary to take the law into their own hands,and at a terrible price,to obtain justice.In Wales ,tollroads were set up to squeeze unfair money from the many by the few.As in other similar situations ,rather than be subjected to these injustices the people fought back against their oppressors and the government.Many died,were imprisoned,exiled,shot indiscriminately and even fled for their lives,many to North America.
Cordell is a good writer and keeps the story moving,but it is a bit difficult when he uses words and expressions one is not familiar with in North America.
This book is part two of a trilogy,part one being "Rape of the Fair Country" and part three is "Song of the Earth"
I did not read part one and found that part two stands by itself pretty well;but plan to read the rest of the trilogy.
In many ways this book reminded me of "Gone With The Wind" by Mitchell and "The Great Hunger" by Cecil Woodham -Smith.

The Portable Curmudgeon
The Portable Curmudgeon
by Various
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.55
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Curmudgeons should like this one.., Jan. 27 2004
The only quotation book I've seen that is limited to Curmudgeons and it stays fairly true to its theme.It shows what a mean spirited and miserable bunch most curmudgeons are.They are more to be laughed at than laughed with. Most seem to have a very negative existance and it would be hard to imagine spending much time with any of them.How could you find them likeable when they don't even like themselves;but that would suit them just fine.If you are looking for wit,humor and great observations on life in general,you'll find this book lacking;except possibly the quotes from Twain.However,if you like self-centered satire emanating from a deep seated bitterness and loneliness ,then this is for you.
Webster defines a curmudgeon as "a bad tempered,churlish man."
Many of the characters quoted don't fit that definition and certainly it doesn't fit females.Example.."one more drink and I'll be under the host."..Dorothy Parker.How is that a quip from a curmudgeon?
The interviews were a bit of a drag and a better effort would have been to give a short note on each quoted,especially the less known names;and an index by author.
I have rated this book on how well the compiler completed what he set out to do.

Half-Moon and Empty Stars
Half-Moon and Empty Stars
by Gerry Spence
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Can there ever be justice?, Jan. 20 2004
This is the first thing I've read by Spence.To my great surprise it is one of the best novels I've ever read.I won't try to write a precis of the book,but will try to show why I liked it so much.Being an engineer,I like to analyse things, to see how and why they work;therefore not too attracted to who-done-its,fantasy,science fiction,etc.My favorite writers are Steinbeck,Erskine Caldwell,MCMurtry etc. who describe how things were and what was behind it all.That is the kind of book this is.
I grew up in a small town about the same size as Twin Buffs and know that it is the deep seated ideas of people that control the events that take place;both good and bad.
Spence brings to this novel a lifetime of living and working in this part of the country and particularly his knowledge and experience with the justice system and how it affects the Native Peoples.I have read a lot of books dealing with crime and justice as well as many about the people who have been pushed aside in society,but none that get to the root of these problems like Spence does.
Spence shows how injustice and prejudice is the root cause.As with Steinbeck and the migrants of the West,Caldwell with the racism and poverty of the Deep South;Spence shows the same thing with the Native Peoples of the West.
Can the deep seated ideas that have motivated people for many generations not be expected to influence them when they try to deal with situations that arise in their daily lives? To people who have been raised with Judaic-Christian values,Spence has shown what the Spirituality of the Native Peoples means.
As to the style of Spence's writing,I really enjoy his short chappters,46 in all,less than 10 pages per chapter.The other thing he does superbly is to almost instantly wrap things up.For example ;the end of the trial and verdict (two sentences at top of page 335,hard cover edition).Every word is important,well chosen and it never bogs down.This must be from his experience as a trial lawyer. His character development is so good that you feel you know each one and what makes them think.
Spence gives us some very profound thoughts,concisely expressed:
In small towns,when something is not talked about..
"-not lost from the minds of the people,but edited from their tongues."
"It's a waste of time,cottonwood tree.Do not be so foolish as to bud."
"The coyote was not evil.The coyote was merely the coyote,also trapped in the system".
"If the Judges sought justice,they would convict the system,not the victims of the system."
"They cannot imprison me where I do not wish to be."
"The moons come and the moons go.The stars empty themselves and fill once more.Time is for white men.Time is their devil.The Araphoe knows no such devil."
For anyone who works in or deals with the justice system ,this book should be required reading.I couldn't imagine one that could give one more to think about.Not only that,anyone who wonders why people have so much trouble trying to live in peace,respect and harmony,would do well by reading this book.
Half-Moon and Empty Stars is a great novel,but it is much more than that.Spence is an excellent writer and well worth reading.I plan to read more of his works.
"Yon-ka-tore"
'

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