Conrad Black's latest book, Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present, is now in stores. I haven't read it, but I did read Black's commentary in this past weekend's National Post, in which he explained the rationale behind the book. As he argues, the history of Canada is rarely situated within the broader international context of "European and Anglo-American relations, and the complexities of international events skilfully navigated by the statesmen who built the country." There is some truth to this. Aside from a few select events that took place at Westminster and a number of wars that are considered fundamental in the shaping of the Canadian state, international affairs are often overlooked. While this may make it sound as if the book is offering something new, the last part of the above quote reveals Black's enduring interest in the Great Man theory of history, which purports that the world is shaped by charismatic leaders. (Conrad Black may be many things, but a social historian he is not.) For more evidence of this, see the quote below, also from his National Post commentary:
You can read the Globe and Mail's review of Rise to Greatness here.