Adrienne Clarkson: Room for All of Us

January 10, 2012 9:29 am
room for all of us

In her latest book, Room for all of Us, Canada’s former Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, shares her poignant views on immigration, displacement and belonging. Recently, our web editor, Katarina, had the chance to sit down with Ms. Clarkson and discuss the motivation behind her work.

Read more ›

Book Review: Winter ~ Five Windows on the Season

November 24, 2011 4:35 pm
Dec11_Book_Winter

As Adam Gopnik’s book Winter (and this year’s CBC/Massey Lectures) makes clear, winter is at once a season of struggle and joy. Yes winter is a period of sustained darkness and biting cold. But for Gopnik, who was born in Philadelphia but raised in Montreal, few images resonate more strongly than of kids playing hockey on frozen ponds as dusk falls on a cold December day or of scenes of families huddling by the fire, while frost builds on the windows.

Read more ›

Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth By Edmund Russell

September 13, 2011 11:09 am
70099780511985379635Pic

Edmund Russell’s book, Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth explores virtually every large scale human endeavour, and the evolutionary impacts not only on humans but on the natural world.

Read more ›

Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind

July 13, 2011 10:20 am
9781452600390

by Brian Fagan • Bloomsbury Press, 2011, 384 pp. This spring’s flooding of the Assiniboine River in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the Richelieu River in Quebec has thrust surrounding communities into crisis.

Read more ›

Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont

May 30, 2011 10:06 am
1164614-gf

After a night spent alone in mid-May 1885, Louis Riel emerged from the wilderness and surrendered to Canadian military. He was the leader of the Métis rebellion that the government of Sir John A. McDonald was intent on crushing.

Read more ›

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

March 6, 2011 1:39 am

John Vaillant, Knopf Canada, 2010 • 329pp. The region is Primorye, located in Russia’s Far East. On a frigid day in the dead of winter, a man is returning to his cabin in the remote wilderness with his dog. The region is populated with Amur tigers, which have an awesome […]

Read more ›

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

January 6, 2011 4:13 am

Siddhartha Mukherjee • Scribner, Toronto, 2010, 571pp. In 1961, the multi-drug therapy referred to as VAMP initially showed impressive signs of success in treating childhood leukemia. When given to patients, tumours receded, leukemia cells were reduced in the bone marrow and white blood cell counts returned to normal. Within months […]

Read more ›

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

May 4, 2010 9:22 am

Medicine, like so many other features of modern life, has become exceedingly complex. This has far-reaching implications, not only for how we understand the world but also how we most effectively meet challenges such as those encountered in a field like medicine. Any attempt to respond to complexity will be necessarily multifaceted. One potentially effective tool is deceptively simple: a checklist. This is Dr. Atul Gawande’s thesis in The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. The very idea left me wondering if the book would be worth reading. After all, how can checklists help a hospital overwhelmed with desperately sick patients? How can a checklist help a surgeon when performing a delicate surgery?

Read more ›

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

March 16, 2010 12:00 am

Wade Davis’s remarkable book,The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, is meant, in part, to debunk the antiquated theories of European anthropologists that turned their science into an agent of control over different peoples. Although such theories may seem like relics of Europe’s imperial past, Davis fears their ongoing resonance. Should we not simply allow the accelerated loss of languages that is occurring today? Is this not incontrovertible proof that more dominant cultures are in fact superior to those threatened with extinction? The answer to both questions is an emphatic no, according to Davis.

Read more ›

Leaf through the BIG Book of Canadian Trivia

July 28, 2009 5:46 am

Ottawa author Randy Ray and co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia. The latest Ray-Kearney effort is as a “greatest hits” book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus an astounding amount of new material.

Read more ›

Art and Politics – The History of the National Arts Centre by Sarah Jennings

4:27 am

Documenting four decades of the National Arts Centre (NAC), Sarah Jenning’s book, Art and Politics- The History of the National Arts Centre, is a real treat for Canadian art culture enthusiasts. The book details the developments of the arts scene in Canada while highlighting the memories of the many participants who contributed to the NAC’s history.

Read more ›

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and fall of Civilizations

May 25, 2009 5:23 am

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

By Brian Fagan

Read more ›

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

March 24, 2009 8:10 pm

The current U.S. originated housing slump and subsequent global recession has exposed the extraordinary extent to which the world is connected through money. The housing market was the basis for a sustained period of economic growth, most especially in the U.S. but in most other advanced capitalist countries as well. Home ownership dramatically increased, one effect of which was to propel the growth of home building related industries.

Read more ›

A Place Within: Rediscovering India

January 13, 2009 6:14 pm

In November a group of gunmen launched a series of coordinated attacks on both civilians and foreigners in Mumbai, India. In the end, almost 200 people were dead, hundreds more were injured and Mumbai itself teetered on the edge of chaos. The attacks were devastating but hardly novel. It was only in 2006 in Mumbai that seven bombs laid on train tracks went off simultaneously during the afternoon rush hour commute, killing hundreds of innocent civilians. In both instances much of the subsequent analysis focused on the terrorist nature of the attack: the 2006 bombing campaign had all the hallmarks of an Al Queda operation, while November’s attack was most likely carried out by Lashkare- Taiba, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan.

Read more ›

A Short History of the New World Order

November 24, 2008 11:03 am

Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States. This is an extraordinarily important achievement, both for the man himself and the country as a whole. It remains to be seen, of course, how an Obama administration will address problems that are enormous in scope. America is involved in two wars – one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan, has a staggering debt and deficit and is in the throes of a recession that shows no signs of abating. However Barack performs as president, his election as the first black man to win the presidency of the United States highlights the potential for progressive change. Obama’s message of change, hope and inclusiveness galvanized a majority of Americans like no other candidate has since John F Kennedy. Hitherto disaffected African Americans (both young and old) were finally able to exercise their enfranchisement in a way that mattered. Racism suffered a severe setback. Indeed, Obama’s victory also signals a willingness on the part of a majority of Americans to atone for some of the sins of their past.

Read more ›

UNDER PRESSURE: Rescuing Childhood from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting

August 19, 2008 5:54 pm

A few years ago my 14 year-old nephew was playing in a hockey tournament. A young man with only one arm was refereeing one of their games. My nephew’s team was losing and the affair was getting rough. As his team fell behind, some parents became increasingly vocal in expressing their frustration with the officiating. In response to a called penalty, one parent yelled, “Hey ref, did you lose your eye sight when you lost your arm?” It was another example of a parent losing perspective and exercising horrible judgment.

Read more ›

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

June 24, 2008 9:00 pm

Sierra Leone is located in West Africa between Guinea to the North and Liberia to the South. A former British colony, the country established independence in 1961.Alas despite the initial adoption of a parliamentary system and universal franchise, domestic peace remains elusive. For decades the country endured attempted military coups and a prolonged civil war between government military forces and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Ostensibly the RUF’s aim was to overthrow a series of corrupt governments.

Read more ›