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Granatstein, J.L.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1986. 375pp, cloth, $39.95, ISBN 0-7710-3515-2. (Canadian Centenary series #19). CIP

Grade 12 and up
Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

This book should be compulsory reading for all Canadians worried about the present state of their country. J.L. Granatstein makes it obvious that today's problems had their origins in our recent past. Making use of primary sources, Granatstein makes the ten years in his book live again. Diefenbaker and Pearson, the two amazing prime ministers of this period, are presented to us with their souls bared. We read with awe of their strengths and cringe at their weaknesses.

Canadians who are upset with our growing federal deficit, unemployment, and weak dollar will learn that these are not new problems. In the 60s, however, the problems were all smaller. Deficits were measured in hundreds of millions, not billions. The dollar was pegged at .925 U.S., which seems healthy when compared to the current value.

Politics is at the centre of Canada 1957-l967. The story begins with St. Laurent, whose Liberal Party had lost the 1957 election, and ends when Pearson decides to retire in 1967. In between, the country was faced with political wrangling that makes today's debates seem like tea parties. Parliament was the scene of momentous battles as our leaders argued such important issues as medicare, the Avro Arrow, nuclear weapons, and unification of the armed forces. It is Granatstein's skill as a writer that these debates seem as fresh as if they happened yesterday.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore C.C., North Bay, Ont.
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