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[url=http://blackbook.foreignpolicy.ca/]The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy[/url], by Yves Engler. Fernwood Publishing, 2009.
[url=http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=567]Review by Suzanne Weiss[/url]
[url=http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/402]Review by Dave Mabell[/url]
[url=http://www.rabble.ca/books/reviews/2009/09/oh-canada]Review by Dave Markland[/url]
[url=http://workingtv.com/black.book.html]Vancouver book launch webcast[/url]
[url=http://www.rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/redeye/2009/06/black-book-canadian-f... podcast interview with Yves Engler[/url]
[url=http://www.rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/citizenshift/2009/08/ep-96-yves-engl... podcast interview with Yves Engler[/url]
Yes, I have it and it's excellent. Dispels and demolishes the nonsensical myth of benign Canadian foreign policy
What do you make of the criticisms by Weiss and Markland?
(I haven't seen the book yet).
I hope, M. Spector, that you've acquired a copy by now. For someone my age, who thought he knew a lot about Canada and the World its a real eye-opener, just on Ghana and the Congo, for example. Will it ever be reviewed by the G&M ? Markland doesn't think so. I didn't like the opinions in the article by Weiss (Socialist Voice) for several reasons. She is intent on finding omissions and criticized the lack of a call to action. Engler is more anti-imperialist than 'socialist' and comes down hard on "Responsibilty to Protect" in Haiti and elsewhere. R2P is beloved by many left-of-centre activists.
Engler's book has made it to the Montreal Gazette's Saturday Book Section on the 14th of November. The review isn't too damaging and will increase the readership.
The word "Canada" is so reviled in some places that travelling Canadians mask their citizenship by wearing American flags on their caps and backpacks.
Canadian mining firms face abuse allegations.
Yes, you live in an imperialist country.
I found this book rather dissapointing. Many conjectures and hypothesis passes off as fact, with little more then enthusiasm to back up the claims. To bad, I realy wanted a book such as this to be good.
Also the part about the gunboat attacking El Salvador's Atlantic coast was amusing.
Did you miss the extensive pages and pages of footnotes after each chapter? How about the 16 or 17 pages in the bibliography?
What's that? Cat got your tongue?
I don't have the book at hand and was months ago I looked through it. Read about 1/4 and looked through the footnotes and bibliography. Read mostly about area I know well (Latin America) and areas I know poorly (Africa).
Regarding Latin America I thought it was fairly accurate -notable exception the editing error I mentioned in my 1st post. Though I do recall quite a few moment of wtf (regarding argument style, not facts).
In some ways I thought the book was to easy on Canada, and in other ways I thought he was just searching for anything, no matter how trivial, to add one more bean to his bag. At points it didn't come through as genuine.
So, my memory is, the extensive footnotes and bibliography were largly to secondary or tertiary sources, not primary. Some of the claims were merely backed from other peoples opinions. (wich were backed by opinion.......) Now this doesn't make the claims wrong -though to me it makes them dangerous to repeat.
Maybe I was looking more for (stylisticaly) an academic work over a populist one. I doubt I will pick up this book again.
Maybe you should make up your mind instead of fishing for weaknesses. In any case, here are the opinions of a few academics.
You may have heard of them.
Noam Chomsky: We bear responsibility for what governments do in the world, primarily our own, but secondarily those we can influence, our allies in particular. Yves Engler's penetrating inquiry yields a rich trove of valuable evidence about Canada's role in the world, and poses a challenge for citizens who are willing to take their fundamental responsibilities seriously.
And then there is ...
Naomi Kline: In both his writing and activism, Yves Engler has done some of the most important work in exposing Canada's shameful role in Haiti.
Finally, there is ...
William Blum: Engler has done for Canadian foreign policy what I tried to do for US foreign policy in my book Killing Hope -- cover each region of the world, showing how "peaceful, benevolent, altruistic Canada" has, on numerous occasions, served as an integral part of Western imperialism, particularly the American version, helping to keep the Third World down and in its place.
Next you'll be telling us that the book is "too academic". ha ha.
ah the old apeal to authority falicy.
I was not fishing for weakness. I realy wanted to like this book. I picked it up many times when I had it. Each time it left an aftertaste that just wasn't good.
edit in:perhaps people should read a tad bit more critical rather then fishing for strenghts.
There aren't enough books like this. In all your remarks, chankeen, you've very successfully circambulated around that important truth.
First it was the lack of proper references. After I debunked that claim, you thought that "maybe" it wasn't academic enough. So then I provided 3 rather well known academics (well, 2 of 3, anyway, i don't know about Blum) with glowing remarks. But you're still not happy.Apparently providing 3 such references is an appeal to authority. ha ha. I've got to remember that trick.
The fact that you've contorted yourself into criticizing "searching for strengths" is laughable. That's what a proper book review SHOULD DO.
If the subject of Canadian imperialism leaves you cold, then be upfront and say so. Never mind the b/s.
I agree there are not enough books in this area. Why do you think I would want to like it?
About references, after you brought up the footnotes and bibliography -I stated that I remembered those as being from secondary and tertiary sources. You countered by bringing in outside opinion to justify your argument rather then evidence from the book itself showing that the claims are indeed well backed up. That is an apeal to authority.
Maybe the burden of proof is on me, but I don't have the book at hand. I don't mind being proven wrong...isn't that what debate is about? I would then admit my dislike of this book is entirely due to style.
My comment of searching for strengths -I'll translate it, all to often people read something that fits well into thier belief system and find things that resemble strengths. I used that term to counter your term because I allowed the snarky attitude to infect me.
And no, the cat has not got my togue, the book is not to accademic and the subject of Canadian imperialism only leaves me cold due to the shudders I get thinking of the perpetual horrors.
We agree, then, that there are not enough books on Canadian imperialism/foreign policy like this one. Yves Engler has, therefore, set a kind of benchmark for others to emulate or surpass.
Here, Engler notes the very same thing himself:
Ottawa did help keep the peace in Egypt, but it was between two sides of a dispute within NATO. Canada's policies and actions helped declining superpowers Great Britain and France save face over a disastrous invasion and those actions were supported by the new superpower, the United States. This reality has been spun into the myth of this country's vital peacekeeping role, which is a testament to the lack of a critical Canadian foreign policy historiography.
Hear, hear. Engler had 219 chapter notes for 26/27 pages on the middle east. He's done his homework. And that's bound to be important when an author is addressing some deeply held myths about Canada ... and is bound to be the subject of politically motivated criticism.
I look forward to many more books by Engler.