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Stan Persky

Vancouver, New Star Books, 1989. 270pp, paper, ISBN 0-919573-98-3 (cloth) $24.95, 0-919573-97-5 (paper) $14.95. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Howard Hurt.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Fantasy Government is a book about one extremist by another. Stan Persky is a literate but narrow-minded activist whose convictions and conceptions of society have not changed since the 1960s. He has now found his niche as a teacher of political studies in a community college and may frequently be seen as the token left-wing pundit on television panels.

Fantasy Government covers in some detail the six-year period from the last election victory of Bill Bennett in May of 1983 to mid-1989. The organization is more or less chronological but the chronology is broken into a dozen chapters covering the major crises that have plagued the Vander Zalm government. The chapters constitute thoughtful reflections by a knowledgeable but biased observer on the news generated from Victoria during this period.

The style is informal and extremely readable. Any interested pupil in senior high school would have no difficulty with the text. The serious student may find a bibliography and list of notes (primarily from newspapers and magazines). The subject and name index seems to provide reliable access to specific topics.

The long-term impact of critiques like Fantasy Government is difficult to assess. Since it was written by a critic whose only claim to impartiality is criticizing the NDP for not being far enough to the left, Fantasy Government is obviously not impartial. However, although that is understood now, it might not be so clear if a student were to take it off the shelf in ten years time.

Nevertheless, despite its bias, this book is probably a "must" for all senior high school, post-secondary and public libraries in British Columbia. It will also be needed by colleges and universities across Canada.

Howard Hurt, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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