The Unfinished Canadian
The People We Are
By Andrew Cohen
(Emblem Editions, Paperback, 9780771022869, 280pp.)
Publication Date: November 4, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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The award-winning, bestselling author of While Canada Slept gives his view of a country wasted on Canadians.
What is national character? What makes the Americans, the British, the French, the Russians, and the Chinese who they are? In this homogenized world, where globalization is a byword for a deadening sameness, why do peoples who live in the same region, use the same money, read the same books, and watch the same movies remain different from one another? As much as Canada may be seen as a copy, clone, or colony of America, we are unquestionably distinctive. It is a result of our geography, history, and politics. It comes from our demography and prosperity. Most of all, it comes from our character.
In The Unfinished Canadian, Andrew Cohen delves into our past and present in search of our defining national characteristics. He questions hoary shibboleths, soothing mythologies, and old saws with irreverence, humour, and flintiness, unencumbered by our proverbial politeness (itself a great misperception) and our suffocating political correctness. We are so much, in so many shades, and it’s time we took an honest look at ourselves. In this provocative, passionate, and elegant book, Cohen argues that our mythology, our jealousy, our complacency, our apathy, our amnesia, and our moderation are all part of the unbearable lightness of being Canadian.
Andrew Cohen has written widely on international affairs over his career of twenty-five years. His previous books include A Deal Undone: The Making and Breaking of the Meech Lake Accord, Trudeau’s Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (co-edited with J.L. Granatstein), and While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and a Globe and Mail Notable Book. Cohen writes a weekly column for several newspapers and was a 2006 finalist for a National Newspaper Award. He is a commentator on radio and television and lives in Ottawa.
“An incendiary new book ... that will anger many readers but make many others wish Cohen was prime minister.”
- Ottawa Citizen
“Breathtakingly paced and passionately written … the book is an unequivocal -- and unapologetic -- national manifesto of a reinvigorated brand of Canadianism .… A highly readable and persuasive tract.”
- National Post
“A magnificent book taking the country by storm.”
- Calgary Sun
“Cohen is such a gifted complainer that he is great fun to read whether you agree with a given point or not.” - Maclean’s
“The social anthropologist of the tribe Canuck.”
- Winnipeg Free Press
“Gutsy and thought-provoking … a sparky and engaging contribution to the canon of works.”
- Edmonton Journal
“A splendid new book.”
- Toronto Star
“Andrew Cohen ... gazes anew at the national navel. His observations make for irresistible reading for the same reason that people enjoy looking into the mirror.”
- Vancouver Sun
- Literary Review of Canada
Praise for While Canada Slept:
“Cohen’s contribution is invaluable. A book full of . . . rich detail, written with passion and engaging prose. . . . A must read for all of those who wish to understand the roots of Canada’s global outlook.”
- Globe and Mail
“A trenchant critique of modern Canadian foreign policy.”