Tag: Books

North Korea: An insider’s view as hope for peace emerges

| July 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
North Korea: An insider’s view as hope for peace emerges

North Korea dominated headlines in July 2017 after Kim Jong-un’s regime fired a long-range  ballistic missile that ultimately landed in Japanese waters. The country launched another missile over Japan on Sept. 15, and released images of a massive intercontinental ballistic missile it claimed could target the United States as early as November. The nuclear threat […]

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The ravaged refugees who flee

| April 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
The ravaged refugees who flee

In August 2014, ISIS militants ordered Yazidi villagers from Kocho — a rural farming community in northern Iraq — to march in the sweltering heat to its only school. Women waited on the upper level of the school while men were assembled outside. Those who refused to convert to Islam were shot. From inside the […]

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Vietnam ‘snow job,’ Lawrence of Arabia and Pol Pot

| December 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
Vietnam ‘snow job,’ Lawrence of Arabia and Pol Pot

At about the midway point between Pearl Harbor and the collapse of the Twin Towers, the United States was the victim of another giant surprise attack. The pummelling assault on Hué, the old imperial capital of Vietnam, close to the sea, south of the Demilitarized Zone, was the work of communist Viet Cong guerrillas and […]

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Russia’s revolutionary ideas

| September 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
Russia’s revolutionary ideas

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday this year and on the other side of the world perhaps the most profound such observance right now is the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Several important new books on the subject are being published. All of them struggle, some more successfully than others, to explain the […]

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A big secret that everybody knows

| July 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
A big secret that everybody knows

I have a framed poster on my wall at home that illustrates 14 different types of small explosive devices. The same poster is found in nearly every elementary schoolroom in Laos (and Cambodia, too) where it’s intended to teach the little ones to refrain from, for instance, playing with landmines. My copy hangs above the […]

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Auto Draft

| April 11, 2017 | 0 Comments
Auto Draft

When the yoga instructor says “Go to your happy place,” I go to Shanghai in the 1930s. I’m not being facetious. In the years between the two world wars, Shanghai had an abundance of a priceless commodity that the world finds in such short supply today: freedom. I’ve spent much of my life looking for […]

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A strange tale of Palestine and Hollywood

| December 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
A strange tale of Palestine and Hollywood

Ben Hecht was a famous screenwriter and author who invented a pair of movie genres — the gangster film and the screwball comedy — and wrote two of the best Hitchcocks: Spellbound and Notorious. In fact, he wrote literally scores of fine films, often without credit, as was common practice in Hollywood in the ’30s […]

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Little-known fact: Winston Churchill was a shopaholic

| October 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Little-known fact: Winston Churchill was a shopaholic

In 1929, Winston Churchill, who was then the chancellor of the exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s government, was making a tour of Canada and the U.S. In a speech in Vancouver on Sept. 23, he said, “We see Canada growing in every way — education, civilization, numbers and wealth.” That was the day prices on U.S. […]

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Diplomatic behaviour

| June 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
Diplomatic behaviour

Many authors who write thick biographies of important political or cultural figures follow up later by editing their subject’s letters or private papers for publication. Norman Hillmer of Carleton University, perhaps the leading academic historian of Canadian-U.S. relations, has done the reverse. In 2013, he published O.D. Skelton: The Work of the World, 1923-1941 (McGill-Queen’s […]

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Revisionism revisited

| March 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
Revisionism revisited

As it happened, Ronald C. Rosbottom, a professor of French culture at Amherst College in New England, was in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015, the day of the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. A bit of bad luck, one might say, but perhaps a bit of good luck as well, for Rosbottom […]

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