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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2009
This latest book by Canadian intellectual John Ralston Saul is a philosophical study about Canada, its identity, and its place in the world. There is probably no better person to write a book like this than Saul and the the boldness with which he writes and argues is certainly to be commended.

The best parts of the book are Saul's polemic on the enduring myths and legacies of Canadian history which have to some extent limited the cultural development of Canadian nationalism. Once Saul tackles all that is wrong with Canada, he attempts to develop an alternative blueprint for how Canada ought to be constructed socially and culturally. This is where he veers off the deep end. Saul decries the use of populism as a rhetorical tool whose sole purpose is manipulation of fear as an empty signifier. Yet Saul is guilty of the same manipulation he so critiques through his perpetuation of an imagined "aboriginal heritage" as an empty signifier to stand for a uniquely Canadian identity that values of fairness, good governance, and inclusion. This is not in any way directed as a criticism of First Nations, but certainly Canada in the postmodern age is far beyond a singular definition of an essentialized Canadianness built on an invented tradition.

Though I disagree completely with Saul's vision of what Canada "is," the book is most definitely thought-provoking and on that purpose alone the book is worth reading for any Canadian who has pondered these very same questions of identity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Saul takes a fresh view of the role of Canadian native peoples in this compelling, even philosophical book. I enjoy new perspectives even if I don't always agree with them, "A Fair Country" delivers well in this regard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
A very interesting analysis of Canada and its native people, every Canadian should read it, I would even suggest it should be obligatory reading in schools...
Christine
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on November 28, 2014
The first part of this book, Metis Nation, is fabulous! It's a unique theory and accessibly written. The rest of the book is also very good, but it is more overtly political.
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