Political “wobbles” prove politics really is a blood sport

Theresa May's recent political "wobble" brings to mind Margaret Thatcher and the 1987 British election, which she won in spite of herself

Political “wobbles” prove politics really is a blood sportBritish Prime Minister Theresa May’s hapless performance in the recent United Kingdom election brought to mind another British prime minister’s voting travails. Although her ultimately decisive victory pushed the unpleasantness into the shadows, Margaret Thatcher – the Iron Lady, no less – had a serious wobble en route to winning a third consecutive mandate in…

Big ideas: a guide to developing a more functional world

Oxford Prof. Ian Goldin's 2016 book is an asset for urban development officers and planners, helping to drive prosperity, education and innovation

Big ideas: a guide to developing a more functional worldYou don’t usually read a review of the physical makeup of a book, unless it’s an art book. But Ian Goldin’s book has been standing out on my desk and on my shelf for a while. It demands comment. Pursuit of Development: Economic Growth, Social Change and Ideas (2016) is an ambitious title and Oxford Prof.…

A summer reading list to challenge your perspectives

These authors examine death and dying, love and romance, the immigrant experience and cultural chasms, and the heavy burdens family members must often carry

A summer reading list to challenge your perspectivesSummer reading lists abound. From my reading over the last year, I recommend the following. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews is drawn from the author’s life. Her wit sparkles through the sadness of this story of two sisters, Elf and Yoli. Elf suffers from depression and is determined to kill herself.  She repeatedly…

Rural resilience: how the green movement on the farm can help us all

If we protect the food supply, maintain clean water, reduce runoff, and make a nicer looking landscape, we’ll all benefit

Rural resilience: how the green movement on the farm can help us allJust when you thought it was safe to read a book, I found myself reading one documenting new combinations of things to be scared about. Simultaneous climate change and peak oil are the worries in Planning for Rural Resilience: Coping With Climate Change and Energy Futures, edited by Wayne J. Caldwell. More severe weather events…

How the notion of the atheist Muslim can derail intolerance

Author Ali A. Rizvi is dedicated to bringing about an Islamic enlightenment. We must listen if we want to deal with the very real menace of radical Islam

How the notion of the atheist Muslim can derail intoleranceBy Brian Giesbrecht Senior Fellow Frontier Centre for Public Policy Recent criticism of Parliament’s decision to condemn “Islamophobia” has generated many responses. Some argued that criticizing the intolerance within Islam is anti-Muslim bigotry. Some said that criticizing a person’s religion is wrong. Hot off the press comes an important book, written by a Muslim, explaining…

Literature has value, as a mirror and a window

The best stories help us understand ourselves by triggering introspection, guiding us to new worlds and ideas that exist beyond our normal experiences

Literature has value, as a mirror and a windowWhat is a story? A story is a flower and the library’s a garden. You wander, picking up what looks pretty and holding it under your nose. If it’s sweet, you smile. If it’s foul, you toss it aside. You move on to the next, looking for the one that will make you ponder beauty.…

‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’

While it might be silly to argue the Berlin Wall came down because of Ronald Reagan, he demonstrated unusual prescience about the Soviet Union’s fragility

‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’The relationship between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev has been described as “among the most remarkable forged by any two world leaders in modern history.” And one of its most famous public moments occurred just 30 years ago. Speaking in front of the infamous Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, Reagan issued a challenge: “Mr.…

The Road to Camelot offers fresh insights into JFK mythology

2017 is John F. Kennedy’s centenary year and a new book offers a deep dive into the details of his successful 1960 U.S. presidential campaign

The Road to Camelot offers fresh insights into JFK mythologyThis is John F. Kennedy’s centenary year – he was born on May 29, 1917. And the books keep coming, the latest being Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie’s The Road to Camelot. For those who fancy a deep dive into the details of Kennedy’s successful 1960 presidential campaign, the book fits the bill quite nicely.…

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapot

For the CBC and others, a joke about cultural appropriation is more important than, you know, things like real racism

A tempest in a cultural appropriation teapotAll novelists are liars. Thieves, too. So said the late Mordecai Richler. My friend and I were in the dark at the back at the Bovine Sex Club on Queen West, waiting to see the Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads. My friend had just told me the story of how, years ago, he…

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book each

Two women defined by and celebrated for a single book eachBorn 25 or so years apart, Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee were each defined by a single book. Mitchell’s was Gone With the Wind, while Lee’s was To Kill a Mockingbird. Both women – daughters of the 20th century American South – situated their work in their native regions. Mitchell chose Civil War Georgia for her…