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Writer & Historian

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Reviews

How the West Was Really Won – A Book Review

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July 5, 2018
How the West Was Really Won – A Book Review

Richard White, The Republic for Which It Stands(New York: Oxford, 2017). Western historian Richard White has long provided us with insights into why the United States are the way they are. In Railroaded, he described the role of the railway barons in bettering and worsening the western United States. In The Organic Machine, he...
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Mad Man of B.C. Advertising – A Book Review

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July 4, 2018
Mad Man of B.C. Advertising – A Book Review

Robin Brunet, Let’s Get Frank: Canada’s Mad Man of Advertising(Madeira Park, B.C.: Douglas & McIntyre, 2018), 232 pages, $29.95. Anyone who watched the award-winning TV series Mad Menwill be equally discomfited with the advertising industry as depicted in Let’s Get Frank, a biography of Vancouver advertising tycoon Frank Palmer. Perhaps tycoon is too strong...
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We Need Our Troubadours – A Music and Poetry Review

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June 15, 2018
We Need Our Troubadours – A Music and Poetry Review

John Paul O’Connor, Half the Truth: Poems(Valdosta, Georgia: Snake-Nation-Press, 2016) Orders:  http://www.snakenationpress.org/product/half-the-truth/. John O’Connor, Rare Songs, Hegel Creek Music, 2017, www.johnpauloconnor.com. Orders: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnoconnor3. Sometime in the mid-1960s, I was sitting on some grass in a Vancouver park not far from a makeshift stage waiting for a folk concert to begin. There would be many...
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Coming of Age on Salt Spring – A Book Review

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April 22, 2018
Coming of Age on Salt Spring – A Book Review

Mod ‘n Lavender: Salt Spring Island in the ‘60s, by John Grain, Kelowna: Tadpole Publishing, 2017, $18.95  /  9780973863413. For some of us, remembering the 1960s is increasingly hindered by old age and failing memories. A few of us might prefer to forget parts of it. But if you’re willing, retired schoolteacher John Grain...
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Beware the Creeping Nazi Beast – A TV Review

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February 26, 2018
Beware the Creeping Nazi Beast – A TV Review

Babylon Berlin, the 16-part TV series released on Netflix in late January 2018, may be the best television since Deadwood and possibly better that Breaking Bad, two of my favourites. Europe seems to think so and the North American reviews are generally positive. The New York Times predicts that it will become “an international...
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Black Panther Revives 1960s Memories

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February 23, 2018
Black Panther Revives 1960s Memories

Black Panther, the box office wonder of the moment, is garnering praise from many quarters and it deserves the kudos. . .for a super-hero flick, that is. Ignoring my usual tendency to avoid super-hero anything, I bought tickets to a theatre with those comfy reclining seats, slapped on a pair of 3D goggles and...
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The Post – A Film Review

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January 31, 2018
The Post – A Film Review

Steven Spielberg is the quintessential Hollywood movie director. He’s often too patriotic for my liking – Saving Private Ryan comes to mind – but sometimes he chooses topics that go beyond patriotism to real cinematic studies of historic events. The Post, about the risky publication of the Pentagon Papers, is one of those. It...
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American Expansionism Under Polk – A Book Review

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January 30, 2018
American Expansionism Under Polk – A Book Review

American expansionism is an ever-present threat in many parts of the world. Wherever, the United States has chosen to impose its democracy on a country in conflict, those populations suffer horribly. One of the early examples came in the form of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, revisited in Peter Guardino’s The Dead March (Harvard,...
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Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

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January 27, 2018
Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

Hands up all those who believe that a nuclear war is winnable and that you will survive to tell your grandchildren about it. If we trust whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s new book The Doomsday Machine (Bloomsbury, 2017), the answer is no there would be no winner and it “would kill nearly every human on earth.”...
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Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

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January 9, 2018
Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

The other day a friend at the gym mentioned that he had been watching the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War. “I was on the wrong side,” he concluded repeating a phrase heard in the film. “We didn’t know what we were fighting for and they had everything to fight for.” Not all...
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Books

Venice Observed - A Travel Booklet with Photos by Ron Verzuh Radical Rag by Ron Verzuh Underground Times by Ron Verzuh Selling Labour Down Under by Ron Verzuh Changing Images by Ron Verzuh Feasting With Love by Ron Verzuh Tea Leaves by Ron Verzuh Remembering Salt by Ron Verzuh