Windsor bookstore’s highly successful venture into publishing

Biblioasis has recently released two new books, one on baseball, the other on the origins of Covid

Windsor bookstore’s highly successful venture into publishingWhen I worked for the Windsor Star as an editorial writer and columnist, one of the stores I regularly frequented was Biblioasis. The independent bookstore was located in the city’s downtown core on Ouellette Avenue. It had an impressive selection of fiction and non-fiction titles for all ages and interests. I bought a few books…

The assassination of Sir Henry Wilson Ireland’s Sarajevo?

Regardless of the British reaction to Wilson’s death, the Irish civil war was likely to happen

The assassination of Sir Henry Wilson Ireland’s Sarajevo?Michael Collins was the most dynamic figure in the events leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State. And he was killed in an ensuing civil war ambush on August 22, 1922. Just two months earlier, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson had been assassinated in London. Allegedly, Collins ordered the hit. Irish journalist Ronan…

Richard Nixon’s California embarrassment

How did a man with one of the highest profiles in American politics flop so badly in 1962?

Richard Nixon’s California embarrassmentIncluding his two campaigns for vice-president, Richard Nixon ran for office nine times and lost twice. One of these losses was the razor-thin defeat to John F. Kennedy in 1960’s presidential contest. The other was his ill-advised California gubernatorial effort two years later. California was Nixon’s home state and he’d always done well there, even…

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on giving

Although it may be a fabrication, the story has powerful resonance

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on givingKing Arthur is back in the news, thanks to an archeological dig in Herefordshire, England. The dig site in question is Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic-era burial chamber that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 years old. It’s technically a dolmen with a capstone resting on nine uprights. And with an estimated weight of around 25…

What path should the Conservatives take?

The battle between Convoy Conservatives and Club Conservatives has led to a ‘new divide’ between people and elites

What path should the Conservatives take?The Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race is heading into the home stretch. Once the dust settles after the ballots are counted on Sept. 10, the new leader must focus on defeating Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and deciding the right path for Conservatives to take. Tasha Kheiriddin, a lawyer, columnist and principal at Navigator…

Remembering the great comics of yesteryear

When it comes to favourite humour comics, my list is exhaustive. Each strip was a work of art

Remembering the great comics of yesteryearWhen people think of their favourite comic strips, they typically list the ones they remember reading as a child – or, in some cases, still read today. My preference has always been for the comics of yesteryear. The early political cartoons of William Hogarth (A Rake’s Progress, 1732-34) and Francis Barlow (A True Narrative of…

Canada’s Fenian years featured some interesting personalities

A plotter, a spy with an overactive libido and a three-time attempted invader all called themselves Fenians

Canada’s Fenian years featured some interesting personalitiesHistorian David A. Wilson’s new book is Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police. It recounts a mid-19th-century episode where Irish revolutionaries – known as Fenians – tried to use Canada as a pawn in their struggle for Irish independence. Last week’s column looked at the Fenian attempts to invade Canada and hold…

Some ‘Christians’ deserve our anger and contempt

But filtering our anger through our spirituality becomes a powerful force for good

Some ‘Christians’ deserve our anger and contemptAnger can be a powerful force for good. It can also be extremely destructive, both to ourselves and the world around us. The key is to understand the anger within and to direct it in a way that will bring about positive change. Anger comes from a place of fear. We know deep inside that…

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawn

There were five failed armed Fenian incursions into Canada between 1866 and 1871

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawnUniversity of Toronto historian David A. Wilson has an interesting new book called Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police. It’s a detailed examination of a mid-19th-century episode that had the potential to turn Canadian history upside down. And Wilson makes a credible case that the danger wasn’t entirely farfetched. Following the conclusion…

Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernity

Hereditary dynasties could not survive the industrial revolution. Well, except for one

Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernityLast week’s column drew from British historian Dominic Lieven’s current book about emperors and empires. Called In the Shadow of the Gods, it’s an exploration of the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. Lieven’s penultimate chapter deals with the challenges modernity posed to hereditary dynasties. As the environment changed rapidly, the crowns adorning…

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?

More than 100 years after H.G. Wells forecast big changes in the world order, the tide is turning

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?Democratic capitalism is a remarkably empowering and wealth-generating structure. Although wealth is not a zero-sum game, power may well be. In his 2011 book The Fruits of Graft: Great Depressions Then and Now, Wayne Jett explores how certain elitists have actively sought to undermine the masses and usurp political and economic power for themselves. In H.G.…

How empires grab and hold on to power

Being recognized as divinely anointed didn’t guarantee acquiescence, but it was still a huge asset

How empires grab and hold on to powerDominic Lieven is a British historian who has written extensively on European, particularly Russian, history. His latest book, In the Shadow of the Gods, is about emperors and empires. It examines their historical scope and the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. At over 400 densely written pages (excluding notes), the book is…

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchy

Dublin cinemas planned to screen the Queen's coronation but opted not to after receiving threats

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchyNews stories about Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee put me in mind of a book by Irish author Mary Kenny. Called Crown and Shamrock, it’s described by historian Roy Foster as a “characteristically breezy, racy and insightful” look at a complicated relationship. Kenny is five months older than I am and what she writes of Ireland…

How to maximize the meaning in our lives

There’s nothing more significant than living with meaning

How to maximize the meaning in our livesThere’s nothing more significant than living with meaning. This is the concept pondered by the Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as he struggled to remain alive for three years in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl established the groundwork for his psychological theory on the importance of finding meaning in life before he was sent to Auschwitz. He…

War and brutality go hand in hand

Combat naturally leads to behaviours that would be deemed shocking in normal life

War and brutality go hand in handAntony Beevor is a prolific English military historian, most famous for the bestseller Stalingrad. First published in the late 1990s, the book’s narrative covers the period between the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union and the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad in February 1943. That battle is often described as the Second…
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