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Galbraith, John Kenneth.

Illustrated by Samuel H. Bryant. Toronto, Macmillan, c1964, 1985. 148pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-7715-9842-4. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Joanne Robertson

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

John Kenneth Galbraith, world-famous economist and author of twenty-one books, has added a new foreword and afterword to this 1985 paperback edition of The Scotch. The book was previously published in hardcover in 1964.

This is not a book of "serious economics" or "grave politics" warns Galbraith. It is, rather, a nostalgic look at the people and times of his youth. It deals with a Scotch-Canadian community in southwestern Ontario around the turn of the century. Galbraith tells of the values and philosophies of these people.

The book is a social commentary, rather than a personal one. Individual characters are not dealt with at length. (The exception being Old Tommy, the high school principal). Galbraith uses short anecdotes merely to illustrate his observations. He gives an account of the typical Scotch rather than the individual, thus introducing the reader to the Scotch lifestyle.

This book, however, is not limited or dated by its setting or topic. Many people recognize their own communities in the stories of the Scotch. Galbraith, also, often draws parallels between the world of then and the world of now. It is this quality that gives the book its strength, and it is this quality that makes the book so quotable. The Scotch is full of one-liners, Galbraith's succinct comments regarding his world.

This book has been called a classic and has achieved popularity in many countries. It is easily and quickly read and would be enjoyed most at the high school or adult level.

Joanne Robertson, The Pas, Man.
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