Friday, July 01, 2011

Bart's Books

The good folks in Samara are hosting a fun contest this summer, asking Canadians to vote for their favourite political books. I for one think this is a great idea, and it's something I'd considered doing as a bracketed summer contest on this blog in the past.

After soliciting nominations, they've named 12 finalists and voting will be open throughout July. There's certainly a good mix of books, despite an 80-year gap in subject-matter from about 1890 to 1970. Among the nominees:

Best Laid Plans was one of the two books I nominated which made the final list, and it's the only work of fiction in the finals (well, apart from Ezra's). As someone who appreciates the humour in politics, I loved Terry Fallis' book, the sequel, and urge the CBC to turn it into a mini-series!

Right Side Up was my other nominee. Paul Wells' soon-to-be-sequelled book on the fall of Paul Martin and the rise of Stephen Harper is the most enjoyable read out there on "modern" Canadian politics.

Fights of our Lives by John Duffy may be the best overview of Canada's political history, looking at the great elections of our history. This book was published in 2002, begging the obvious question of whether or not the 2006 or 2011 elections warrant inclusion as "defining" elections in our history. In my mind, one of them should be, and whether it's the former or the latter will depend on whether the Liberals and Bloc bounce back in 2015.

In addition to the above, there's a book on John A, one on Trudeau, and one on Mulroney. No autobiographies made list, though I think you could make a case for Chretien and Mulroney's memoirs as being deserving of nominations. I'm also little disappointed Will Ferguson's Bastards and Boneheads didn't make the final cut, if only to have something a bit lighter on the list.



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