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The Promise of Canada

150 Years--People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


What does it mean to be a Canadian? What great ideas have changed our country? An award-winning writer casts her eye over 150 years of Canadian history.

“Our country owes its success not to some imagined tribal singularity but to the fact that, although its thirty-five million citizens do not look, speak or pray alike, we have learned to share this land and for the most part live in neighbourly sympathy.” —Charlotte Gray, from the Preface of The Promise of Canada

On the eve of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations comes a richly rewarding new book from acclaimed historian Charlotte Gray about what it means to be Canadian. Readers already know Gray as an award-winning biographer, a writer who has brilliantly captured significant individuals and dramatic moments in our history. Now, in The Promise of Canada, she weaves together masterful portraits of nine influential Canadians, creating a unique history of the country over the past 150 years.

What do these people—from George-Étienne Cartier and Emily Carr to Tommy Douglas, Margaret Atwood, and Elijah Harper—have in common? Each, according to Charlotte Gray, has left an indelible mark on our country. Deliberately avoiding a “top down” approach to our history, Gray has chosen people whose ideas have caught her imagination, ideas that over time have become part of our collective conversation. She also highlights many other Canadians, past and present, who have added to the ongoing debate over how we see ourselves, arguing that Canada has constantly reimagined itself in every generation since 1867.

Beautifully illustrated with evocative black and white images and colourful artistic visions of our country, The Promise of Canada is a fresh take on our history that offers fascinating insights into how we have matured and yet how—150 years after Confederation and beyond—we are still a people in progress. Charlotte Gray makes history come alive as she opens doors into our past, our present and our future, inspiring and challenging readers to envision the Canada they want to live in.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 06, 2017 – On the eve of Canada's sesquicentennial celebrations, prominent biographer Gray has selected nine people who she argues have helped shape the way Canadians think about themselves. She writes that their stories "reflect the evolution of Canada over the past 150 years, and the potential for this process to continue into the future." Gray's choices are illuminating. She passes over Canada's 23 prime ministers in favor of less obvious and more intriguing choices: George- tienne Cartier, who represented French Canadian interests in Confederation; Mountie Sam Steele; First Nations leader Elijah Harper; Medicare champion Tommy Douglas; Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson; political economist Harold Innis; author Margaret Atwood; artist Emily Carr; and politician Preston Manning. Many other influencers enter into these narratives. Readers who are not familiar with Canadian history will find that the book provides the necessary background about the country in an entertaining and informative way. "This country defies definition. There is no master narrative for Canadian history: there are too many stories to package into a tidy, tightly scripted identity," Gray writes, but in this book, she, as a superb storyteller, shares treasures that reveal important elements of what might well be considered Canada's singular story.
The Promise of Canada
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Oct 18, 2016
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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