Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Book Notes: two books on Can-Am history

Joe Martin and Christopher Kobrak have recently published From Wall Street to Bay Street, a comparative history of banking systems in Canada and the United States.  Starting from the observation that Canadian banks suffered nothing like the damage that hit American banks in the 2008 financial crisis, they offer a general reader's history of the banks back to the 18th century.  They like what they see in Canada
The authors trace the roots of each country’s financial systems back to Alexander Hamilton and insightfully argue that while Canada has preserved a Hamiltonian financial tradition, the United States has favoured the populist Jacksonian tradition since the 1830s. The sporadic and inconsistent fashion in which the American system have changed over time is at odds with the evolutionary path taken by the Canadian system.
Think on that next time you consider the whopping fees and enormous profits of whichever megabank has you in his clutches.

Public Affairs Publishing in the US wants us to know of Jared A. Brock's new biography of Josiah Henson, The Road to Dawn: Josiah Henson and the Story that Sparked the Civil War.  Their promotion emphasizes that Henson has been forgotten.
Josiah was a slave for more than 40 years, escaped with his family and trekked 600 miles to Canada, spent his life fighting for the cause and ultimately rescued 118 slaves. He founded a settlement called Dawn, which was known as the last stop on the Underground Railroad. And he was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s title character Uncle Tom. But he’s been lost to history.
Henson may be more a part of the historical record in Canada, where his home and his story of escape from slavery and settlement in Canada West have been part of Ontario Black history for a long time.  But Brock's book and an accompanying film documentary may change things in the States too.
Follow @CmedMoore