Distilled : a memoir of family, Seagram, baseball, and philanthropy / Charles Bronfman, with Howard Green. First edition. Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2016.
From the publisher:
While much has been written about Charles Bronfman’s father, Sam, a titan of industry, there is no public record of Charles’s thoughts on his own life, family, career, and significant accomplishments in sport and philanthropy. Distilled chronicles the key events in the life of an heir to one of Canada’s great fortunes.
Charles Bronfman grew up surrounded by luxury, in a twenty-room mansion with a large staff. Via the family’s control of the distilling giant Seagram, the Bronfmans dominated the liquor business, with brands such as Crown Royal, V.O., and Chivas Regal. By the 1980s, Seagram was also the biggest shareholder of DuPont, and by the 1990s, the family’s wealth was in the billions, culminating in the $35--billion sale of Seagram to France’s Vivendi, which led to financial and family disaster.
In Distilled, Charles reflects on all of it—his relationship with his parents and his brother, Edgar; working in the family business; landing Canada’s first big-league baseball franchise (the Montreal Expos); leading a philanth-ropic life by promoting Canadian identity through Heritage Minutes and supporting Israel through such innovative initiatives as the globally respec-ted Birth-right Israel; and how the Bronfman family splintered over the sale of Seagram.
I am a Metis : the story of Gerry St. Germain / Peter O'Neil. Madeira Park, BC : Harbour Publishing, 2016.
From the publisher:
Gerry St. Germain's story begins in "Petit Canada" on the shores of the Assiniboine, growing up with his two younger sisters, his mother and his father - a shy Metis trapper and construction worker who sometimes struggled to put food on the table. St. Germain was initially troubled in school, scrapping with classmates and often skipping out to shoot pool, but an aunt and uncle with some extra cash paid his tuition to Catholic school, where a nun recognized his aptitude for math and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. He would go on to become an air force pilot, undercover policeman and West Coast chicken farmer. Business gave way to politics, and in 1988 he became one of a tiny number of Aboriginal Canadians named to a federal cabinet. That milestone was just one of many for a man who played a critical role in Canada's Conservative movement for a generation.
From the Brian Mulroney era to the roller-coaster leadership of Kim Campbell, then to the collapse of the Progressive Conservative party in 1993 and the subsequent rebuilding of the movement under Stephen Harper, St. Germain remained a trusted confidant of prime ministers and a crucial and often daring behind-the-scenes broker in bringing warring factions together. But he is most proud of his efforts during his later years in the Senate, when he was a quiet hero to Canada's Aboriginal community. He spearheaded major Senate reports on key issues like land claims and on-reserve education during the Harper era, when there were few friendly faces for First Nations leaders on Parliament Hill. That role reflected St. Germain's profound determination to help people who are still dealing today the brutal legacy of residential schools and the paternalistic Indian Act. Memories of his humble beginnings, and the shame he once felt over his Metis heritage, bubbled to the surface in his final address to Canada's Parliament in 2012, when he said in a voice quaking with emotion: "I am a Metis."
Brown : what being brown in the world today means (to everyone) / Kamal Al-Solaylee. Toronto : HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016.
From the publisher:
Brown is not white. Brown is not black. Brown is an experience, a state of mind. Historically speaking, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world. In this new book by Kamal Al-Solaylee whose bestsellingIntolerable was a finalist for Canada Reads and for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and won the Toronto Book Award, fills in the narrative gap by taking a global look at the many social, political, economic and personal implications of being a brown-skinned person in the world now. Brown people have emerged as the source of global cheap labour (Hispanics or South Asians) while also coming under scrutiny and suspicion for their culture and faith (Arabs and Muslims). To be brown is to be on the cusp of whiteness and on the edge of blackness.
Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in 10 countries from four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories from destinations as far apart as the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Britain, Trinidad, France, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United States, and Canada. It contains striking research about immigration, workers’ lives and conditions, and the pursuit of a lighter shade of brown as a global status symbol. It is also a personal book, as the author studies the significance of brown skin for those whose countries of origin include North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico and Central America, and South and East Asia, he also reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person (in his case from Yemen) who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire.
Thank you for being late : an optimist's guide to thriving in the age of accelerations / Thomas L. Friedman. New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
From Kirkus Reviews:
The celebrated New York Times columnist diagnoses this unprecedented historical moment and suggests strategies for "resilience and propulsion" that will help us adapt."Are things just getting too damned fast?" Friedman cites 2007 as the year we reached a technological inflection point. Combined with increasingly fast-paced globalization (financial goods and services, information, ideas, innovation) and the subsequent speedy shocks to our planet's natural system (climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, geochemical flows), we've entered an "age of accelerations" that promises to transform "almost every aspect of modern life." The three-time Pulitzer winner puts his familiar methodology—extensive travel, thorough reporting, interviews with the high-placed movers and shakers, conversations with the lowly moved and shaken—to especially good use here, beginning with a wonderfully Friedman-esque encounter with a parking attendant during which he explains the philosophy and technique underlying his columns and books. The author closes with a return to his Minnesota hometown to reconnect with and explore some effective habits of democratic citizenship. In between, he discusses topics as varied as how garbage cans got smart, how the exponential growth in computational power has resulted in a "supernova" of creative energy, how the computer Watson won Jeopardy, and how, without owning a single property, Airbnb rents out more rooms than all the major hotel chains combined. To meet these and other dizzying accelerations, Friedman advises developing a "dynamic stability," and he prescribes nothing less than a redesign of our workplaces, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and communities. Drawing lessons from Mother Nature about adaptability, sustainability, and interdependence, he never underestimates the challenges ahead. However, he's optimistic about our chances as he seeks out these strategies in action, ranging from how AT&T trains its workers to how Tunisia survived the Arab Spring to how chickens can alleviate African poverty. Required reading for a generation that's "going to be asked to dance in a hurricane."
How to be a civil servant / Martin Stanley. London : Biteback Publishing, 2016.
From the publisher:
Although it is seldom recognised as such by the public, the civil service is a profession like any other. The UK civil service employs 400,000 people across the country, with over 20,000 students and graduates applying to enter every year through its fast-stream competition alone.
Martin Stanley’s seminal How to Be a Civil Servant was the first guidebook to the British civil service ever published. It remains the only comprehensive guide on how civil servants should effectively carry out their duties, hone their communication skills and respond to professional, ethical and technical issues relevant to the job. It addresses such questions as:
- How do you establish yourself with your minister as a trusted adviser?
- How should you feed the media so they don’t feed on you?
- What’s the best way to deal with potential conflicts of interest
This fully updated new edition provides the latest advice, and is a must-read for newly appointed civil servants and for those looking to enter the profession – not to mention students, academics, journalists, politicians and anyone with an interest in the inner workings of the British government.
Campaign confessions : tales from the war rooms of politics / John Laschinger with Geoffrey Stevens ; foreword by Peter Mansbridge.
A political journey following Canada’s only full-time political campaign manager through forty-seven campaigns over four decades.
From William Grenville Davis to Justin Trudeau, John Laschinger takes readers behind the scenes and deep into the numbers on Canadian and international politics.
Canada’s only full-time campaign manager opens the doors to backrooms and war rooms of political campaigns he has run, provides lessons for aspiring campaign managers, and exposes what really happens behind the scenes.
He details all of the tools in a campaign manager’s arsenal — policy, organization, research, the war room, negative ads, money, and social media. A of course the most important piece, and the biggest wildcard, the candidate, whose performance is central to earning a victory or a loss. (From the publisher)
Firewater : how alcohol is killing my people (and yours) / Harold R. Johnson. Regina : University of Regina Press, 2016.
A passionate call to action, Firewater examines alcohol-its history, the myths surrounding it, and its devasting impact on Indigenous people. Drawing on his years of experience as a Crown Prosecutor in Treaty 6 territory, Harold Johnson challenges readers to change the story we tell ourselves about the drink that goes by many names-booze, hooch, spirits, sauce, and the evocative "firewater." Confronting the harmful stereotype of the "lazy, drunken Indian," and rejecting medical, social and psychological explanations of the roots of alcoholism, Johnson cries out for solutions, not diagnoses, and shows how alcoholism continues to kill so many. Provocative, irreverent, and keenly aware of the power of stories, Firewater calls for people to make decisions about their communities and their lives on their own terms. (From the publisher)
White settler reserve : New Iceland and the colonization of the Canadian West / Ryan Eyford.
In 1875, the Canadian government created a reserve for Icelandic immigrants on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg. Hoping for a better life in Canada, many of the New Iceland colonists found only hardship, disappointment, or death. Those who survived scurvy and smallpox faced crop failure, internal dissension, and severe flooding that nearly ended the project only six years after it had begun.This innovative book looks beyond the experiences of these Icelandic immigrants to understand the context intowhich their reserve fits within the history of settler colonialism. Ryan Eyford reveals that the timing and location of the Icelandic settlement was not accidental. New Iceland was one of several land reserves created for Europeans by the Canadian government in the late nineteenth century. Canadian leaders hoped that group settlements of immigrants on Indigenous lands would help realize their ambitious plans for western expansion. By juxtaposing the Icelanders' experiences with those of the Cree, Ojibwe,and Metis people they displaced, Eyford makes clear the connections between immigrant resettlement and Indigenous displacement. By analyzing themes such as race, land, health, and governance, he draws out the tensions that punctuated the process of colonization in western Canada and situates the region within the global history of colonialism. (From the publisher)
The green and the black : the complete story of the shale revolution, the fight over fracking, and the future of energy / Gary Sernovitz.
A much-maligned energy technology gets a thorough vetting in this sharp-eyed, wised-up primer. Sernovitz, a novelist (Great American Plain) and executive at a hydrocarbon-focused private equity firm, explores from several angles the revolution in hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, that has unlocked huge deposits of American oil and gas. He argues that these advances will boost energy supplies and lower prices, wrestles with environmental impacts (the ballyhooed threat to groundwater, he concludes, is virtually nil, while problems with surface contamination, noise, and obnoxiousness are real but manageable), and notes that using fracked gas has substantially lowered U.S. carbon emissions. He also discusses recent collapses in both natural gas and oil prices, as well as the effect of fracking on Canadian tar sands. Sernovitz revels in the entertainment value of the fracking boom, with its manic drill-or-die entrepreneurs, dogged engineers steadily improving the art, euphoric land rushes, and frantic retreats. He has pointed opinions and a sardonic wit, but his evenhanded treatment—he discloses his own biases and stake in the industry—debunks both the hype and the panic. Sernovitz's deep insider's knowledge and scintillating prose make this one of the best treatments of this very contentious subject. (from Publishers Weekly Reviews)
Her Worship : moments in history, moments in time : the city of Winnipeg's first (and so far only) woman mayor tells her story / Susan A. Thompson with Terry Létienne. First Edition. Victoria : Heritage House Publishing, 2016.
This is a remarkable story of motivation, dedication and inspiration. Susan's life story will inspire you to dream and act on those dreams. Elected in 1992, Susan A. Thompson was the first (and so far only) woman Mayor of Winnipeg. Among other trailblazing achievements, she was the first woman to own her family business, the first woman Rotarian in Manitoba, the first woman Consul General at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis, and the first woman and founding President and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation. What motivated her to reach such formidable goals? Take a glimpse into her early days as a business owner and the lessons she learned along the way. Find out what really happened at City Hall when the first woman mayor (it only took 118 years!) took office. Susan takes you through the triumphs and the obstacles she faced as a pioneer in a male-oriented society. Susan was Mayor of Winnipeg during some of the city's most extraordinary times... winning the bid for the 1999 Pan Am Games, the loss of the Winnipeg Jets and the 1997 Flood of the Century. Find out firsthand how Susan led the city through these trying and unforgettable moments in time. Entrepreneur, politician, diplomat, fundraiser, storyteller... meet "the one and only" SUSAN THOMPSON. (From the publisher)