Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review of Colony to Nation

Arthur Lower's Colony to Nation: A History of Canada stands out as an excellent history of Canada. Lower incorporates a variety of material and approaches. He describes Canadian history at length from initial European incursions to North America to the present day (for him). There's no overarching narrative, but Lower includes a large variety of subjects including political, social, and cultural history.

Most interesting, at least personally, Lower pays close attention to both francophone and anglophone perspectives. Significantly, he concludes with criticism of both, but with far more directed at anglophone Canadians.

Overall, while one could criticize Lower's top-down approach to history, Colony to Nation works well as a national history of Canada.

The long delayed review of In Search of Myself

I must apologize for taking so long to write this short review of In Search of Myself by Frederick Philip Grove. The overly simple reason is that this book is awful. If you want to read hundreds of pages of an author describing how brilliant and unappreciated he is, then this book is for you. If you feel that artistic ability should never be compromised by accessibility, then this book is for you.

If, on the other hand, like me, you find an arrogant artist complaining constantly to be insufferable, then I recommend that you read almost anything else.

Stylistically, Grove is quite talented, but the content of this book is nearly nauseating. The book is an autobiographical account of Grove's life and work. It mostly consists of evidence of his genius, followed by his complaints that it goes unrecognized. Interestingly, Grove is unwilling to write more accessible books for a mass audience; instead he seems to prefer his role as the unappreciated artist, which would be fine if he accepted it. Instead, he seems to feel that the fault lies with the public for not buying his work.

Overall, unless you too are an unappreciated genius, I recommend that you give this book a pass.