Monday, December 20, 2010

My Best Non-fiction in 2010

1. Nellie McClung by Charlotte Gray. Nellie comes across as a dynamo organizer and activist, throwing herself into women’s rights and other causes. She was outspoken in her egalitarianism, her belief that immigrants and first nation’s people must be treated without discrimination. She was horrified by the American delegation who would not sit with the African delegation at an international conference. She wrote yards of columns as well as some rather sappy novels. She was a member of the Famous Five who took up the court challenge to have Canadian women declared persons. Our Nell, one hell of a gal!

2. David Thompson: A Life of Adventure and Discovery. By Elle Andra-Warner.   A great man, here given his due.

3. Smoke and Mirrors by Rob Cunningham. The perfidious, immoral, manipulating, evil tobacco companies not only have lied about the addictive properties of the poisonous drugs they produce but also facilitated the smuggling of cigarettes into Canada.

4. The Uses and Abuses of History by Margaret MacMillan. A quick tour of history-bending for various causes.

5. The Wild Ride by Charles Wilkins. A terrific book about the opening of the Canadian west. Great photos and graphics.

6. Untold Stories Part 1 by Alan Bennett . A family memoir. Both his mother and aunt end up in institutions lingering on into a demented old age.

7. Hitch 22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens As a journalist, Hitchens saw so many of the world’s horrors and talked to so many victims as well as many of the  good people who are working hard to alleviate the suffering, that he turns to war as a solution. He sees it as the only solution but is it so? Does one have a responsibility to go to war to remove horrible dictators? Hitchens raises difficult questions.

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