Book Reviews

Book suggestions from Citizens for Public Justice, published each summer in the Catalyst.

Book Review: Relgion and Canadian Party Politics

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Religion and Canadian Party Politics

By David Rayside, Jerald Sabin and Paul E.J. Thomas

UBC Press, 2017

Reviewed by Joe Gunn

Is faith still a factor in Canadians’ voting patterns, and the activity of Canadian political parties? The three academics who wrote this book were particularly focussed on the power of “moral traditionalists.” Unfortunately, what progressive movements of faithful Christians contributed to Canadian public policy remains of less interest.

Book Review: Engagement Organizing

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Engagement Organizing: The Old Art and New Science of Winning Campaigns

By Matt Price

On Point Press, 2017

Reviewed by Natalie Appleyard

The let’s-do-this-together organizer in me had many a great a-ha moment while reading this book. I had to stop taking notes because it was essentially turning into copyright infringement. This is an excellent book for anyone who loves bringing people together for a common cause, not only because of its smart and strategic insights, but because of the integrity of its practices.

Book Review: Turning Parliament Inside Out

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada's Democracy

Edited by Michael Chong, Scott Simms, and Kennedy Stewart

Douglas & McIntyre, 2017

Reviewed by John Milloy 

Turning Parliament Inside Out is an attempt by a multi-party group of backbench Members of Parliament to identify ways to reform Parliament. In a series of well-written and accessible essays, these concerned MPs outline practical solutions for increasing the quality of debate, making Parliament more representative and curbing the power of party leaders and their staff. 

Book Review: Upstream Medicine

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Upstream Medicine: Doctors for a Healthy Society

Edited by Andrew Bresnahan, Mahli Brindamour, Christopher Charles, and Ryan Meili

Purich Publishing, 2017

Reviewed by Janelle Vandergrift

It is hard not to be inspired by the depth of first-hand knowledge and the dedication of the impressive roster of physicians interviewed in Upstream Medicine. The book is a collaborative project between Upstream, a non-profit in Saskatchewan, and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students. In this book, various medical students have interviewed established doctors about the social determinants of health, also-known-as upstream health issues, of the patients they see.

Book Review: The Patch

​ From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands

By Chris Turner

Simon & Schuster, 2017

Reviewed by Karri Munn-Venn

Who knew that a 319-page book on bitumen could be so captivating? The Patch is undoubtedly the best book I have read in a long time.

Book Review: Seven Fallen Feathers

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City

By Tanya Talaga

House of Anansi Press, 2017

Reviewed by Sarah DelVillano

Seven Fallen Feathers, winner of the Indigenous Literature Award this year, is a powerful account of the deaths of seven Indigenous youths in Thunder Bay. It shines a light on each individual story behind the seven fallen feathers of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Book Review: Grass, Soil, Hope

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country

By Courtney White

Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014

Reviewed by Wayne Groot

Courtney White in his book Grass, Soil, Hope does a wonderful job explaining what carbon is, and how it is a necessary building block in anything on this planet that is alive. He explains how power from the sun through photosynthesis can bring huge amounts of carbon back into the soil and thus lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  

Book Review: Maximum Canada

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough Hardcover

By Doug Saunders

Knopf Canada, 2017

Reviewed by Gloria Nafziger

I was fascinated by Doug Sunders’ recent book Maximum Canada. Like many Canadians, I support immigration to Canada, believe that multiculturalism is a good thing, and think we need new immigrants to help sustain our economy, particularly as our current birth rate will not support the needs of an aging population.

Book Review: The Boat People

 From the Catalyst, Summer 2018

The Boat People 

By Sharon Bala

McClelland & Stewart, 2018

Reviewed by Deborah Mebude

The Boat People is inspired by the untold stories of hundreds of Tamil refugees who arrived on British Columbia's coast in 2009 and 2010. It depicts the tension between the slow pace of government protocols and the urgent needs of refugees in search of protection. 

Book Review: Wrongs to Rights

Wrongs to Rights From the Catalyst, Summer 2017

Wrongs to Rights: How Churches Can Engage the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Edited by Steve Heinrichs
Mennonite Church Canada, 2016

Reviewed by Amie Nault

There has been a lot of discussion lately about how to best respond to the calls to action presented in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report. For many of us, we are left with the desire to do something, but remain unaware of what that something is.

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