The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of Angela Merkel

/ Kati Marton.
First Simon and Schuster hardcover edition. New York : Simon and Schuster, 2021. xviii, 344 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates.

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Review from Library Journal Reviews:

Biographer Marton (True Believer: Stalin's Last American Spy) looks at the life and career of the famously private German chancellor Angela Merkel. Raised in authoritarian East Germany, Merkel studied as a physicist before turning to politics. Marton argues that Merkel's training as a scientist, as well as her devout Lutheran faith, have greatly contributed to the steady, precise nature that has marked her success as a politician. The majority of the biography is focused on Merkel's political career as Marton evaluates her strengths and limitations as a politician. The author effectively tells how Merkel is often acutely reminded of Germany's past and strives to ensure that Germany is a moral leader, resists authoritarianism, and remains a part of the European Union and a key member of the global community. The major events of Merkel's chancellorship are explored, particularly Russia's takeover of Crimea, the Syrian refugee crisis, the 2008 financial collapse and subsequent destabilization of the European Union, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Marton looks at Merkel's relationships with prominent world leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, and Donald Trump. VERDICT A fascinating look at a highly influential leader. Recommended for readers interested in world politics.

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The machinery of government : public administration and the liberal state

/ Joseph Heath.
New York : Oxford University Press, 2020. xii, 423 pages.

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Review from Choice Reviews:

Ever since Woodrow Wilson first wrote on the subject, the study of public administration has struggled with a foundational problem: how can democratic government endure when unelected administrators make independent policy judgments? In his new book, philosopher Heath explores this question, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of several possible avenues for controlling bureaucratic policy making, including cost-benefit analysis, new public management (a Canadian term for a process known in the US as "rejuvenating government"), citizen participation in administrative decisions, the rule of law, and engagement of civil servants in a culture of professional ethics. Some critics of the administrative state argue that the only real solution is to reduce its power and the scope of its activity, but Heath argues that a strong welfare-state bureaucracy is compatible with democratic government. Through recognizing and affirming the principles of efficiency, equality, and liberty, principles that have become a "structural feature of the societies in which we live," the welfare state becomes not a threat to democracy but an essential part of it. Some readers will find this book a fresh take on an enduring problem; others will find it a less-original effort to persuade. Either way, there is little doubt it will stimulate lively thought and discussion.

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The premonition : a pandemic story

/ Michael Lewis.
New York : W.W. Norton and Company, 2022. xiii, 304 pages.

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Review from PW Annex Reviews:

Maverick doctors, scientists, and public health officials took charge of the fight against Covid-19 when the CDC and the Trump administration failed to act, according to this illuminating rehash of recent history. Lewis (The Fifth Risk) spotlights a group of doctors who overcame bureaucratic inertia and conventional wisdom to write the U.S.'s pandemic response plan in 2007, after President George W. Bush read a history of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and asked what the government would do in such a scenario. Carefully reinterpreting data from 1918, Veterans Affairs official Carter Mecher and other group members developed a "Swiss Cheese strategy" of multiple social interventions (school closures, bans on group gatherings, etc.) layered on top of one another to contain a disease outbreak until a vaccine could be developed. In January 2020, Mecher used sketchy, incomplete data emerging from China to forecast the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., and shared his findings with California deputy chief health officer Charity Dean, who eventually convinced Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue the country's first statewide stay-at-home order. Though the book's first half is somewhat slow-going, Lewis draws vivid profiles of Mecher and Dean, in particular, and litters the narrative with lucid explanations of epidemiology, disease modeling, and genomic sequencing. Readers will be aghast that these experts weren't leading the battle from the start.

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Heirs of an ambivalent empire : French-Indigenous relations and the rise of the Métis in the Hudson Bay Watershed

/ Scott Berthelette.
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022. xviii, 353 pages.

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From the publisher:

The fur trade was the heart of the French empire in early North America. The French-Canadian (Canadien) men who traversed the vast hinterlands of the Hudson Bay watershed, trading for furs from Indigenous trappers and hunters, were its cornerstone. Though the Canadiens worked for French colonial authorities, they were not unwavering agents of imperial power. Increasingly they found themselves between two worlds as they built relationships with Indigenous communities, sometimes joining them through adoption or marriage, raising families of their own. The result was an ambivalent empire that grew in fits and starts. It was guided by imperfect information, built upon a contested Indigenous borderland, fragmented by local interests, and periodically neglected by government administrators. Heirs of an Ambivalent Empire explores the lives of the Canadiens who used family and kinship ties to navigate between sovereign Indigenous nations and the French colonial government from the early 1660s to the 1780s. Acting as cultural intermediaries, the Canadiens made it possible for France to extend its presence into northwest North America. Over time, however, their uncertain relationships with the French colonial state splintered imperial authority, leading to an outcome that few could have foreseen – the emergence of a new Indigenous culture, language, people, and nation: the Métis.

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Inside the local campaign : constituency elections in Canada

/ edited by Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson.
Vancouver : UBC Press, 2022. viii, 436 pages.

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From Book News:

Canadian contributors in public policy, journalism, political science, and social psychology are united here to analyze the 2021 Canadian federal election through the lens of political communication, with a special emphasis on the importance of local canvassing and campaigning, even in the context of today’s digital media ecosystem. The book draws on interviews with people directly involved in grassroots electioneering, including candidates and journalists. Each chapter follows the same structure, beginning with an overview of Canadian scholarship, followed by discussion of recent trends in Canadian news stories and insights on the recent election. Chapters are organized in sections on local contests and candidates, campaign management and campaigning, and local communications. B&w photos and screenshots are included.

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The cruelty is the point : the past, present, and future of Trump's America

Adam Serwer. First edition.
New York : One World, 2021. xx, 358 pages.

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Review from Kirkus Reviews:

A cogent examination of the challenges America faces. In a vigorous collection of more than a dozen essays, award-winning journalist Serwer, a staff writer at the Atlantic and former fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, considers the social and ideological forces that led to Trump's presidency and, without intervention, will continue to shape American society. Most essays, drawn from pieces published since 2016, are newly contextualized, and Serwer includes additional pieces on immigration, politics within the American Jewish community, the destructive impact of police unions, and the past and future of American authoritarianism. He argues persuasively that racism lies at the heart of Trumpism. Although the media focused on economic anxiety to account for Trump's rise and continuing appeal, "the movement," he asserts, "cannot be rescued from its bigotry," which was intensified by Obama's presidency. Trump's supporters have found what they deeply wanted: "a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of." Serwer underscores the prevalence of cruelty in American life, which Trump exacerbated. In "The Cruelty of the Covid Contract," he sees that Trump's refusal to deal with the pandemic was essentially racist. "The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them," he writes. "This is the COVID contract." In examining the claims of nativists and White supremacists, Serwer traces the roots of White nationalism to the American eugenics movement that influenced immigration policy in the 1920s and later fed Nazi ideology. In "The Cruelty of the Code of Silence," he excoriates police unions for promoting the image of the police "as the lone barrier between civilization and barbarism," characterizing the people they are meant to defend and protect as violent and uncontrollable. A strong contribution to conversations about racism, injustice, and violence, all of which continue to plague this country.

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Manitoba Muslims : a history of resilience and growth

/ Ismael Ibrahim Mukhtar. First edition.
Victoria : FriesenPress, 2021. 301 pages.

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From the publisher:

Manitoba Muslims: a history of resilience and growth is both a look back at the history of Muslims in the province of Manitoba, and a look forward into the future. The Muslims of Manitoba have a presence that reaches back beyond a century. They are a fast-growing demographic and continue to make many positive contributions to their community and country. The history of Manitoba Muslims is an integral part of the history of Manitoba and Canada; with a better collective understanding of our history, all Canadians can work together to create a more respectful, tolerant, and welcoming nation. This book opens with a history of the community, beginning in 1900. The second section examines some of the issues and challenges faced by specific segments of the community, such as women, youth, and converts. In addition, address affiliations, controversies, social issues, halal alternatives, integration, and Islamophobia. This book will appeal to members of the public interested in learning about Islam and the Muslim community in Manitoba. It will also serve as an informative resource for historians, faith groups, and governing bodies.

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Warming huts : a decade + of art and architecture on ice

/ edited by Lawrence Bird, Peter Hargraves, Sharon Wohl.
Halifax : Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2021. 140 pages.

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From the publisher:

The Warming Huts are a public art and architecture installation held annually at mid-winter on the major rivers of Winnipeg, Canada. The huts are selected through an international design competition, and via the invitation of select designers or artists. This book, published to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the project, celebrates and discusses the annual project as a critical body of work foregrounding the poetics and politics of public space, while highlighting the variety of architectural narratives expressed in the Huts. A comparative analysis of the more than one thousand entries is included in the volume.

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Iconic stories from 150 years of sport in Manitoba

/ Sean Grassie.
Winnipeg : Sport Manitoba, 2020. 383 pages.

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From the publisher:

The 2017 Canada Summer Games Legacy Fund provided an opportunity to showcase stories and photos from Manitoba's sports history. In Iconic Stories from 150 years of Sport in Manitoba, 150 stories of athletes, teams, events, facilities and organizations are presented. Read about a Winnipeg team that captured the Stanley Cup in 1896, the struggles of a sprinter who became Canada's first black Olympian in 1912, the triumph of a 17-year-old who swam the English Channel in 1963, the dedication of an MLA and cabinet minister who won two gold medals at the 2016 Paralympics, and much more.

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Life in the city of dirty water : a memoir of healing

/ Clayton Thomas-Müller.
Toronto : Allen Lane, 2021. 229 pages.

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From the publisher:

A gritty and inspiring memoir from renowned Cree environmental activist Clayton Thomas-Muller, who escaped the world of drugs and gang life to take up the warrior’s fight against the assault on Indigenous peoples’ lands—and eventually the warrior’s spirituality.

There have been many Clayton Thomas-Mullers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain.

But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents' trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba.

And it's this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples' lands by Big Oil.

Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations of this land into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Muller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility.

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