Thursday, September 23, 2021

This month at the Literary Review of Canada

Quite a few historians reviewed or reviewing in the current Literary Review of Canada. (Many items are limited to subscriber access)

Historian Donald Wright reviews a couple of books on environmental policy: Fossilized: Environmental Policy in Canada's Petro-Provinces by Angela Carter, and Solved, by former Toronto mayor David Miller, on cities' responses to climate change.

Journalist John Cruikshank reviews historian Eric Sager's Inequality in Canada: The History and Politics of an Idea along with Share the Wealth, by Gauvin and MacEwen. The former he calls a history of the idea of (economic) inequality; the latter is policy advocacy.  And Elaine Coburn reviews Joan Sangster's Demanding Equality: One Hundred Years of Canadian Feminism.

Historian Christopher Dummitt reviews historian Peter Price's Questions of Order, which might be called a sceptical history of the idea of confederation. A good deal of the article addresses what Dummitt calls the moral panic of historians attempting to address Indigenous/Canadian issues in ways Dummitt disapproves.

John Baglow reviews Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt's biography of early British Columbia radical Eugene Thornton Kingsley, Irene Gammell reviews a biography of Hanako Muraoka, the Japanese translator of Anne of Green Gables, and Marisa Grizenko reviews a biography of Joichim Foikis, Vancouver's "official" Town Fool of the 1960s.

Malcolm Gladwell's The Bomber Mafia has provoked its own firestorm of criticism among specialist historians of the air war during World War II, but Jack Granatstein's review is mostly admiring.  

(I was sorry to see Granatstein digging up in this review the old canard that the 1992 CBC documentary film "The Valour and the Horror" was marred by "many factual errors."  I've long ago discarded the material, but I well recall the historians' brief (not Granatstein's) where the widely-cited numbered list of "factual errors" include things like "the script has a typo on page X" and many more saying in effect, "I don't agree, so this is false." The Senate hearings that sought to coerce the CBC into spiking the documentary was not a shining moment for the Canadian historical profession, with some noble exceptions.)

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