An unusual, hybrid alert—part worthy analysis, part alarmist scenario—to a Canada possibly to be sundered next year by a separatist Quebec. Journalist Lamont's (Campus Shock, 1979) essayish analysis lacks lively scenes, but it contains much wisdom and information about the current state of Canada. Most Canadians these days don't view their country as a contract between its two founding peoples; Canadians outside Quebec seek a strong federal government but Quebecois seek autonomy. Federalist Canada lacks both a strong sense of patriotism (he notes that it took nearly a century for the country to get a flag) and ``an effective farm league'' to groom potential national leaders. Lamont tracks Canada's ``love-hate'' relationship with the United States, its highly divergent regions (from rich British Columbia to the poor Atlantic provinces) and the unhealthy French-Canadian nationalism ``embroidered'' onto what Quebecois consider their history of constant humiliation. He observes cogently that Canada's public embrace of multiculturalism has not only enraged Quebec but also threatened the country's already weak identity. Some two fifths of the book is a nightmarish vision of a future break-up: Anglophones and francophones throughout the country crack down on each other; riots erupt in Montreal; Native Canadians attack power plants; US troops are called in. An independent Quebec can't join NAFTA; Canada's split economy falters; the wounded country both hampers American interests and gives up its ``international Boy Scout image.'' Conflict with a weakened Russia could also arise. Lamont's hopes to maintain Canada are worthy, but after such sturm und drang, he merely suggests that Canadians must reign in both spending and their sense of victimization. Likewise, he fails to suggest policies for the United States that would stem the potential disaster.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03634-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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