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Power and Politics (List by Jonathan Bennett)

It's not all crooked cops and murder in Jonathan Bennett's novel Entitlement, which is also a gripping examination of power and politics in Canada. On the occasion


of the upcoming federal election, Jonathan has provided us with a few more books to round out our literary education in power and politics. And it's not all crooked cops and murder here either-- check out the range, from poetry to comic fiction, and non-fiction with intentions noble and/or scandalous. Truly, there is something for everyone.

Jonathan Bennett is the author of five books including, most recently, Entitlement and a book of poems Civil and Civic.



1) Power Politics: poems, Margaret Atwood

This seminal volume was first published in 1971. Happy 40th birthday. Yes, it’s been that long. Wondering what’s changed? Best to re-read it…

you fit into me/ like a hook into an eye

a fish hook/ an open eye



2) The Eatons: The rise and fall of Canada's royal family, Rod McQueen

This multigenerational look at the life and times of one Canada’s great families is a must read. Now, if we could just keep our important national stories in print in Canada, there’s a better chance of us learning from the past (RIP Stoddart…). Is there a lesson here beyond the obvious: that it’s always the latter generations that seem to lose it all?



3) King John of Canada, Scott Gardiner

The most un-Canadian book about Canada’s culture, history, power structure and institutions ever written. Its brazen satire and, often, farce, make this a romp of a read. But, as only a novel can, it speaks the truth to power by saying the very things we do not like to think, say nothing of utter: “Maybe the rest of Canada should hold a referendum on whether or not Quebec can stay in the confederation.”


on the take

4) On The Take: Crime, Corruption And Greed In The Mulroney Years, Stevie Cameron

This, now classic, in Canadian investigative non-fiction was a revelation when it was published in 1994 (Bring back MW&R!) And, of course, the tentacles of its story continue to tickle the present-day version of the conservative party. Unafraid and unapologetic books that confront power in Canada to this extent are all too rare.



5) An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century, James Orbinski

This deeply affecting memoir brings the reader not just to the front lines of war and poverty, but it is also expansive and open-hearted about the role organizations such as MSF can, must, play in our world. We are Canadians at home and abroad, and confront power in both places equally.

April 25, 2011
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