New Books: Non-Fiction


The Oxford Companion to

CANADIAN MILITARY HISTORY

By Dean F. Oliver

The Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Dieppe Raid, the Italian Campaign: the Canadian military has been indispensable to many of the greatest victories-and disasters-of our time. The evolution of Canada as a military power is chronicled here by military historians Dean Oliver and J.L. Granatstein.

Rare photographic material and original wartime paintings illustrate the people, events, and hardware that define Canada’s military history. Additional material includes a timeline chart and other historical and bibliographical reference information.

CHILDREN AT WAR

By P.W. Singer

From U.S. soldiers having to fight children in Afghanistan and Iraq to juvenile terrorists in Sri Lanka to Palestine, the new, younger face of battle is a terrible reality of 21st century warfare. Children at War is the first comprehensive examination of a disturbing and escalating phenomenon: the use of children as soldiers around the globe. Singer explores the evolution of this phenomenon, how and why children are recruited, indoctrinated, trained, and converted to soldiers and then lays out the consequences for global security, with a special case study on terrorism.

A HISTORY OF RUSSIA

By Nicholas Riasanovsky & Mark Steinberg

Now completely revised in this eighth edition, A History of Russia covers the entire span of the country’s history, from ancient times to the post-communist present. Keeping with the hallmark of the text, Riasanovsky and Steinberg examine all aspects of Russia’s history–political, international, military, economic, social, and cultural–with a commitment to objectivity, fairness, and balance, and to reflecting recent research and new trends in scholarly interpretation. New chapters on politics, society, and culture since 1991 explore Russia’s complex experience after communism and discuss its chances of becoming a more stable and prosperous country in the future.

PARKIN: Canada’s Most Famous Forgotten Man

By William Christian

Sir George Parkin probably had as great an influence on American education in the first two decades of the twentieth century as any other single individual. In 1902 alone he traveled 17,000 miles to set up committees to choose scholars. Through the Rhodes Scholarships, he has had a lasting impact on American education, politics, and culture. At the time, Parkin was known on four continents by his surname alone; today, this Canadian-born educator is all but forgotten. William Christian’s engaging biography now reintroduces us to perhaps the most famous Canadian in the world. This beautifully written and witty biography is the story of ideas lived through Parkin and those in his wide circle of shared influence with leaders of many countries, including our own.

THE AXE AND THE OATH

By Robert Fossier

Robert Fossier, one of the world’s leading medieval historians presents a compelling picture of daily life in the Middle Ages as it was experienced by ordinary people. He vividly describes how these vulnerable people confronted life, from birth to death, including childhood, marriage, work, sex, food, illness, religion, and the natural world. We learn how people related to agriculture, animals, the weather, the forest, and the sea; how they used alcohol and drugs; and how they buried their dead. The result is a sweeping new vision of the Middle Ages that will entertain and enlighten readers.

PATHFINDERS

The Golden Age of Arabic Science

By Jim Al-Khalili

Most historical accounts today suggest that the achievements of the ancient Greeks were not matched until the European Renaissance in the 16th century, a 1,000-year period dismissed as the Dark Ages. In the ninth-century, however, the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, Abu Ja’far Abdullah al-Ma’mun, created the greatest centre of learning the world had ever seen, known as Bayt al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom. The scientists and philosophers he brought together sparked a period of extraordinary discovery, in every field imaginable, launching a golden age of Arabic science. Few of these scientists, however, are now known in the western world.

The West needs to see the Islamic world through new eyes and the Islamic world, in turn, to take pride in its extraordinarily rich heritage. Anyone who reads this book will understand why.

PLAYING WITH FIRE:

Pakistan at War With Itself

By Pamela Constable

A volatile nation at the heart of major cultural, political, and religious conflicts in the world today, Pakistan commands our attention. Constable takes us on a panoramic tour of contemporary Pakistan, exploring the fears and frustrations, dreams and beliefs, that animate the lives of ordinary citizens in this nuclear-armed nation of 170 million. From the opulent, insular salons of the elite to the brick quarries where soot-covered workers sell their kidneys to get out of debt, this is a haunting portrait of a society riven by inequality and corruption, and increasingly divided by competing versions of Islam.

THE POVERTY OF CORRUPT NATIONS

By Roy Cullen

According to the African Union, some $150 billion is lost every year to corruption in Africa. In China, it is estimated corruption diminishes the annual value of gross domestic product country by 15%. The pattern repeats itself elsewhere. Corrupted officials cause development of their country’s scarce natural resources in ways not environmentally sustainable. They can also create health and safety risks to citizens in the marketplace by compromising product standards to enrich themselves.

Cullen examines the links between world poverty, corruption, terrorism, global migration patterns, and money laundering, and outlining a practical 20-point program to increase transparency and accountability in governments and parliaments around the world to break this cycle of corruption and poverty.

THE SOVIET EXPERIMENT:

Russia, the USSR and the Successor States

By Ronald Grigor Suny

The Soviet Experiment examines the complex themes of Soviet history, ranging from the last Tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. Suny examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores successor states and the challenges they now face. He captures familiar as well as little-known events–the crowds on the streets during the February Revolution, Stalin’s collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler’s invasion, and Yeltsin’s political maneuvering and public grandstanding–combining gripping detail with insightful analysis.

STORIED LANDSCAPES

By Frances Swyripa

A sweeping examination of the evolving identity of major ethno-religious immigrant groups in the Canadian West. Viewed through the lens of attachment to the soil and specific place, and through the eyes of both the immigrant generation and its descendants, the book compares the settlement experiences of Ukrainians, Mennonites, Icelanders, Doukhobors, Germans, Poles, Romanians, Jews, Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. Through a close study of myths, symbols, commemorative traditions, and landmarks, Storied Landscapes boldly asserts the inseparability of ethnicity and religion both to defining the prairie region and to understanding the Canadian nation-building project.

YUKON

By Teresa Earle, Photography by Fritz Mueller

In this remarkable collection of photographs, Fritz Mueller captures fleeting, compelling moments in a timeless Yukon landscape, one of the world’s wildest and most overlooked wilderness areas. Mueller takes readers on the annual migration of the Porcupine caribou herd, and he captures intimate portraits of icy grizzly bears gorging on salmon at the Arctic Circle. As wilderness vanishes and intact ecosystems deteriorate, the Yukon remains one of the last wild hot spots, a conservation treasure of international significance.

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Filed under New Nonfiction @ SGSS, Non-Fiction Reviews, Our Favourite Books

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