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Writer & Historian

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Reviews

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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Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

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December 25, 2017
Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

I just resurfaced from reading 500 pages of a new biography on Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner. It’s called Sticky Fingers and my fingers are definitely feeling sticky. In fact, I feel icky all over after learning who Wenner has been all these years: unpleasant, greedy, boastful, untrustworthy, a cheat, and it goes on...
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Two B.C. Labour Rebels – A Book Review

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August 6, 2017
Two B.C. Labour Rebels – A Book Review

Labour activists Robert Gosden and Albert “Ginger” Goodwin are the subject of two books I reviewed in BC Studies (#194, Summer 2017). Rebel Life and Goodwin book review – p. 1-3
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Hail a Canadian Labour Hero – A Book Review

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April 5, 2017
Hail a Canadian Labour Hero – A Book Review

Jon Bartlett and Rika Reubsaat, Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932-33 Miners’ Strike (Vancouver: New Star Books, 2016), 126 pp., $19 paper. Arthur “Slim” Evans has long been a notable figure in Canadian labour history, most often associated with the famed On-to-Ottawa Trek that he led in 1935 in an effort to improve conditions in the...
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Hell’s History – A Book Review

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March 2, 2017

With this short book, Tom Sandborn, labour reporter for the tyee.ca, and the United Steelworkers have reminded us of how deadly slow and ineffective workplace safety laws still are in spite of a law passed after the Westray disaster. RV #97 Getting away with murder  
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Tarkovsky – The Poetic Russian Filmmaker

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February 19, 2017
Tarkovsky – The Poetic Russian Filmmaker

Andrei Tarkovsky, one of the great Russian directors (1932-1986), brings a poetic vision to his films that has both entranced and frustrated viewers since his first film Ivan’s Childhood won accolades at the Venice Film Festival in 1962. The maker of Alexei Rubylev (1966), Solaris (1972), The Mirror (1974), Stalker (1979) and Nostalgia (1983)...
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Books