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Downton, Eric.

Toronto, Stoddart, c1986. 258pp. cloth. $24.95. ISBN 0-7737-2058-8. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Catherine R. Cox

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Eric Downton's expertise on the Far East began in 1938 when he became night editor for the Singapore Free Press after graduating from the London School of Economics. Having spent the greater part of his career as a foreign correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph, he returned to Canada and his interest in the Far East. He wrote a regular column on Pacific Rim affairs for the Vancouver Sun until he retired in 1982.

Pacific Challenge is about the countries on the Pacific Rim; their past, their present, and their relationship with Canada and the world. Downton's premise is that Canada has neglected opportunities for trade with countries of the Far East and that, if we are to proceed profitably into the next century, we must stop depending on European trade and a United Stales economic recovery and start trading with our neighbours on the Pacific Rim.

To familiarize his readers with the Pacific Rim countries Downton devotes two chapters to each one. In the first chapter, he looks briefly, at the country's history and culture. The second chapter deals with the country's present economic condition and its past and present relationship with Canada. Downton does not give equal treatment to each country, not. it seems, for reasons of size or importance, but for ideological reasons. His conservative bias is shown when we compare the number of pages given to China (eleven) to the number dedicated to Taiwan (twenty-nine). Communist leaders, like Kim II Sung of North Korea, are described as paranoiac megalomaniacs, while pseudo-democratic regimes, like that in South Korea, are held up as exemplary, with no reference to terror, torture, or unjust imprisonment.

The book is well organized and very readable. The chapter organizations follows a consistent pattern. Chapter titles are generally clear. There is a good index and an extensive bibliography.

This is a book with a message. It also contains a wealth of information and would be useful to the student who can read with insight and an inquiring mind. Recommended.

Catherine R. Cox, Moncton H.S., Moncton. N.B.
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