Books shelved under “Politics”

32 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Power Shift

    Power Shift: The Longest Revolution

    by Sally Armstrong

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Power Shift: The Longest Revolution exemplifies why the CBC Massey Lectures is such a compelling format. Sally Armstrong delivers, in 5 chapters of roughly equal length, a concise overview of the inequities faced by women around the world. She provides historical perspective, discusses the overt and covert biases present throughout our society, and includes examples of how we can change things for the better. She does her best to be inclusive and intersectional, not to…

  2. Book cover for Dark Money

    Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

    by Jane Mayer

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Money, as they say, talks. In Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer traces the network of political funding and lobbying spearheaded by the Koch brothers. Although they feature prominently in this book, this is not solely about them. Rather, it's about how a concerted effort in the past decades has influenced American politics. It's interesting because Mayer positions this story as a fundamental…

  3. Book cover for The Impeachers

    The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

    by Brenda Wineapple

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I grew up in the ’90s, and I vaguely remember on TV when I was a kid some kind of scandal involving this guy named Bill Clinton, whom I knew as the President of the United States. The word impeachment kept getting thrown around, but of course I didn’t really know what that meant. Fast-forward 20 years, and the word has resurfaced as a possible fate for the current President, Donald Trump—and this time, I…

  4. Book cover for Weapons of Math Destruction

    Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

    by Cathy O'Neil

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The profile of the term “Big Data” has risen recently. Yet, like so many buzzwords, people often don’t fully grasp the significance of the term. “Big Data” is more than the nebulous connotation of corporations collecting our information, and perhaps packaging and selling it—although it is that. It is, in fact, about how corporations quantify everything we do, even the information we don’t realize we’re leaking out into the world, and then use that data…

  5. Book cover for Policing Black Lives

    Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present

    by Robyn Maynard

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Policing Black Lives took me almost an entire month to read, which is virtually unheard of, and it’s not a very long book. It is, however, very dense, academic, and not at all happy reading. Nevertheless, it is an important book. I first heard about it, and from Robyn Maynard, on an episode of the Canadaland Commons podcast devoted to the gaps in Canada’s curriculum on the history of slavery and anti-Blackness. Since I grew…

  6. Book cover for Proofiness

    Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception

    by Charles Seife

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As our society becomes ever-more data-driven, I am increasingly interested in reading books such as Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception. I want to know how numbers, algorithms, data, and mathematics are being used (or abused) to make decisions, mount arguments, and influence the course of civilization. Sound lofty? Good. Charles Seife’s incisive and interesting writing brings this topic to life. With clear, topical examples, he shows us how misunderstanding or misplaced faith…

  7. Book cover for Residential Schools and Reconciliation

    Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History

    by J.R. Miller

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As Canada celebrated its 150th birthday this year, reconciliation was increasingly a buzzword on the lips of politicians, journalists, and celebrities. Most people seemed to recognize that we have a ways to go in our relationship with Indigenous peoples—but most people also seem unwilling to put that recognition into action. As my recent review of Seven Fallen Feathers shows, our country is still a hostile place when it comes to Indigenous lives. And the present…

  8. Book cover for The Future of War

    The Future of War: A History

    by Lawrence Freedman

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Not actually my cup of tea, The Future of War: A History is a massive data dump and analysis of what we used to think about the future of warfare. Lawrence Freedman has clearly Done the Research, and I have to hand it to him: there’s compelling stuff here. Thanks to NetGalley and Public Affairs for the eARC.

    I love the premise of this book. It kind of merges my passion for literature and my…

  9. Book cover for Seven Fallen Feathers

    Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City

    by Tanya Talaga

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City is one of those books I wish didn’t exist but am so grateful it does. Over the past few years, I’ve seen my city come up in the national media from time to time—and often related to Indigenous issues, such as the deaths or inquests of the students in this book. But after the interest in those stories dies down, and the spotlight…

  10. Book cover for Indigenous Writes

    Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada

    by Chelsea Vowel

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes you see a book and you just know that it’s the book you’ve been waiting for. That was my reaction when Chelsea Vowel, who blogs and tweets as âpihtawikosisân, announced Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada. You really should read her blog and follow her, because she her writing is clear and informative, and she is excellent at providing further resources. This continues in her…

  11. Book cover for Unaccountable

    Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill

    by Kevin Page

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I didn’t intend to read two non-fiction books, two books about economics, consecutively. That’s just how it happened. However, Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill, is about as far away as you might get from Trekonomics. The latter is speculating on what might or could be; the former is a deeply personal tale about politics and events that actually happened. Kevin Page, who shares a hometown of Thunder Bay with me, recounts…

  12. Book cover for The Inconvenient Indian

    The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America

    by Thomas King

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Just last week, CBC News announced it was closing comments on articles about indigenous peoples, because at the moment, it cannot guarantee sufficient moderation to sustain polite discourse. In addition to the usual trolls, some people were writing hate speech motivated by a misconception of the state of indigenous peoples in Canada. And while this is reprehensible, it probably shouldn’t be surprising. We white people are very good at ignoring indigenous people—until we want their…

  13. Book cover for Felix Holt

    Felix Holt: The Radical

    by George Eliot

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I make no secret of the fact that I think George Eliot is a literary badass, and Felix Holt: The Radical is just the latest example of these well-deserved credentials. This is essentially a political and legal thriller set in 1832 England on the cusp of the passage of the First Reform Act. (Among other things, the Reform Acts of the 1800s redefined the electoral districts for the English Parliament and expanded the franchise ever…

  14. Book cover for Dismantling Canada

    Dismantling Canada: Stephen Harper's New Conservative Agenda

    by Brooke Jeffrey

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Election time is just around the corner, and boy am I … not excited. I would dearly like to see a change in the party that forms the next government … but I am somewhat sceptical we will manage to bring that about. But this isn’t about how much I dislike what Stephen Harper has done to Canada. I wrote a blog post about that for Canada Day. This is a review of Dismantling

  15. Book cover for Blood

    Blood: The Stuff of Life

    by Lawrence Hill

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The human body is weird. I mean, it’s a wonder we function at all. We’re fragile bags of mostly water that support a strange and wonderful organ that seems to give us consciousness. All this happens through a complex set of interconnected systems that work to keep us alive. I’m really not down with the ickiness of my biology: bring on the robot bodies! Until that happens, though, I’m forced to agree with Lawrence Hill:

  16. Book cover for Unspeakable Things

    Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution

    by Laurie Penny

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As with The Speed of Dark, this was a birthday gift for my friend Rebecca. I like my original review, so here’s just a few new thoughts from this second reading.

    Second review: Finished on February 6, 2018

    This time around, I read Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution with a slightly more critical eye. I was trying to imagine how Rebecca might see it, curious about the things that will jump out at…

  17. Book cover for A Nation Worth Ranting About

    A Nation Worth Ranting About

    by Rick Mercer

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Rick Mercer is a national treasure, and if his show hasn’t convinced you of this, then you need to get this book and re-read some of his rants from years gone by. Having been living in the UK for the past year and a half, my opportunities to watch The Rick Mercer Report have been reduced (I could probably get it, but it would require time and effort I don’t really have right now). I…

  18. Book cover for This Machine Kills Secrets

    This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers

    by Andy Greenberg

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read this book on my flight back to England (the second one, since I missed the first one by that much). The plane is one of those newer models that has entertainment units in the back of every seat, and to my surprise they had different movies on offer from those available when I flew back to Canada a few weeks ago. One of those movies was The Fifth Estate, which also tells…

  19. Book cover for Prisoner Of The State

    Prisoner Of The State

    by Zhao Ziyang

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m not exactly up on the Chinese history; it’s not a subject that we covered much in school. Most of what I know comes by way of hazy pop culture references and exposure via the slightly counterfactual nature of science fiction and historical fiction. Moreover, having been born and raised subsequent to the Cold War and the height of anti-communist sentiment in the West, not to mention just after the Tienanmen Square incident, the history…

  20. Book cover for Homage to Catalonia

    Homage to Catalonia

    by George Orwell

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s not very often that I commend a blurb. I prefer to mock them, especially for their brevity or generic flavour—fantasy and science fiction are particularly guilty of this. For Homage to Catalonia I can make an exception: my edition has a blurb on the back cover from Antony Beevor, who calls this “an unrivalled picture of the rumours, suspicions and treachery of civil war.” This describes the book perfectly.

    A couple of burdens of…

  21. Book cover for The American Future

    The American Future: A History

    by Simon Schama

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as anti-American, but I will cop to having anti-American sentiments. I have plenty of American friends, but I chose to move to England before the United States—and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to live in the United States. There are just some ideas so apparently entrenched in American society that seem so backward to me. And I know my American friends understand—a lot…

  22. Book cover for God Sleeps in Rwanda

    God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation

    by Joseph Sebarenzi

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The Rwandan genocide is one of those events that looms in my mind as something that happened when I was alive but too young to really understand that there was a world outside of my country, or even my community, really. Politics was something that came via the television, an artifact of the history we were studying in school, not a daily fact of life. War and genocide was something that had happened in the…

  23. Book cover for My Spiritual Journey

    My Spiritual Journey

    by Dalai Lama XIV

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    He’s just this guy, you know?

    My Spiritual Journey is a collection of the Dalai Lama’s writings, speeches, and thoughts as they pertain to his life as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and as the Dalai Lama. This is not a traditional autobiography or memoir. Instead, some of the chapters (passages? sections?) are quite short—even less than a page—but no less meaningful or inspiring. Rather than looking for some kind of chronological theme,…

  24. Book cover for Macrowikinomics

    Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World

    by Don Tapscott

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Loves me the free books.

    In Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams argue that the Internet has irrevocably altered the way corporations and businesses will interact and develop new products and services. The proprietary, closed models of research and design are obsolete and must be replaced by mass collaboration with outside talent. Companies that do not embrace this new ethic of…

  25. Book cover for Next Generation Democracy

    Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change

    by Jared Duval

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. Loves me the free books.

    I won this book before the 18-day demonstration in Tahrir Square began, but the events in Egypt (and across the Middle East) were foremost in mind as I read this book. In high school, I learned about democracy in an incredibly idealized, abstract way. It is something born one or two centuries ago, something synonymous with freedom, involving…

  26. Book cover for Chasing a Mirage

    Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State

    by Tarek Fatah

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Fundamentalism scares me. Like, causes me to despair and lament the future of human civilization scares me. Fundamentalists seem so diametrically opposed to progress, freedom, and education that I fear what will happen if ever they attain a critical mass of power. Fundamentalism is universal in its appeal to the irrationality of our species: it is not just limited to any one religion. We cannot fight it by identifying a religion with its fundamentalist base…

  27. Book cover for The Prince and Other Writings

    The Prince and Other Writings

    by Niccolò Machiavelli

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Want to know the difference between the Renaissance and present-day society? If Machiavelli had written The Prince today, it would be called Ruling Principalities for Dummies. In the fifteenth century, manuals for prospective rulers took the form of profound philosophical treatises. In the twenty-first century, they're bullet-point lists bound in bright yellow covers with a cartoon on the front. Part history and part philosophy, The Prince is a glimpse into the mind of a…

  28. Book cover for Multiculturalism Without Culture

    Multiculturalism Without Culture

    by Anne Phillips

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    We used this book in the second half of my Philosophy and Gender course (the first book we discussed was Feminism: Issues and Arguments, by Jennifer Saul). It's probably one of the best discussions of multiculturalism I will ever read. Anne Phillips provides a marvellous survey of contemporary political and philosophical attitudes toward multiculturalism while simultaneously advocating her approach.

    Phillips' thesis is clear: she wants to keep multiculturalism but change how we understand the…

  29. Book cover for The God Delusion

    The God Delusion

    by Richard Dawkins

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I was brought up Christian (Protestant), although my family wasn't particularly observant--we went to church, less frequently as I grew up, and my dad would read from the Bible each Christmas (the nativity story, naturally). As I approach the third decade of my life and am shocked to find myself becoming an adult, not just legally but intellectually, I slide further and further along the scale from agnostic to atheist. Although I was…

  30. Book cover for Areopagitica

    Areopagitica

    by John Milton

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    In Areopagitica, John Milton delivers a finely-honed argument in opposition to the Licensing Order of 1643, which restored strict censorship laws to England. Milton relies primarily on classical references; indeed, the title is an allusion to the Areopagus, a hill in Athens and the name of a council who sat in judgement on that hill. In a single word, Milton links the crux of his argument to the zeitgeist of Hellenic antiquity, which…

  31. Book cover for Remix

    Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

    by Lawrence Lessig

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I'd recommend Remix to anyone who creates content, whether as part of their day job or simply as a hobby in their basement. Lawrence Lessig takes the complicated issues surrounding modern copyright and explains them in terms laypeople can comprehend. Moreover, he makes a compelling argument from an economic standpoint as to why less copyright could lead to more profit.

    My favourite quotation from this book is:

    Copyright law has got to give up its

  32. Book cover for The Age of American Unreason

    The Age of American Unreason

    by Susan Jacoby

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I heard of Susan Jacoby's book (and Jacoby herself, I might add) through her interview on The Colbert Report. The topic struck a chord with me. I suppose I could describe myself as an intellectual even though I am only a teenager/young adult--I read for pleasure, as my membership on this site would indicate, and I regularly engage in thought and discourse about matters that may be labelled intellectual. As a result, a book…