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204 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW I934-57 Horn chastizes mefor not attempting an answer, althoughI notethat hedoesn't either.Actually,bothbooks wereintendedto posequestions, allowing thereaders, especially students, toformtheirownconclusions. I raised thispoint later with the lateR.K. Finlayson, who thoughtthat Bennetthad beengreatly influenced. He added,however, that it wasonethingto sendmoneyfromyour own largepersonal fortuneand quite anotherto alter permanently the economicsystem that madethat fortunepossible. My ownimpression is that these letterstouched Bennett's compassion and his ego: the formerpromptedthe dispatch of $5 bills;the latter confirmed hisbeliefin hissuperiorabilitiesto succeed in thecapitalist system. Throughout hisbridging commentary, editorHornfrequently reminds usthat the legacyof the Depression (or isit the system)isstillwith us.In the section entitled'BetterIdeasAnyone,'he includes proposals by C.L. Burton,president of Simpson's, whoastutely predicted in I935 thatfortheforeseeable futuresome youngmenshouldbe keptout of the laborforcein someway or other.Horn observed thatWorldWar n provided away,'thoughnottheonetheretailexecutive had in mind.Todaywe keepyoungpeoplein school.' In thefinal section, 'SomeRecollections,' Horn notesa tendency amongall of the writers,notably Hazen Sise,GrahamSpry,Hugh Garner,JamesGray, Max Braithwaite, and HughMacLennan,to'shudder in looking backbutnearlyall areableto rejoice' that theysurvived andgained.Horn quiterightlyasks:'I wonderhowmany Canadians havefound anythingof real value in their experiences? For how manyweretheThirtiessimply dirty,a decade offrustrated hopes whichperhaps were never fulfilled at all?' BothThe Wretched of CanadaandThe Dirty Thirtiesbringouttheglaring inequities thatsocharacterized thedecade andarestillpresent. The formercollection poignantly tellsof thetrialsof thetemporarily dispossessed middleclass; the latterstudyattempts muchmoreand is largelysuccessful: its documents rangeover the broad field of depression literatureand commentaries. Both worksarevaluableadditions to Canadiansocial history. RIC•AR• WI•.•U• Sir GeorgeWilliamsUniversity GREAT BRITAIN AND THE COMMONWEALTH English History:A Survey.SiRGEORGE CLARK. Oxford,At the ClarendonPress [Toronto, Oxford University Press], i97i. Pp.xx,567,maps. $7.• 5. In this book a fine historian at the summit of his wisdom describesthe flow of Englishhistory asit appears to him.The resultisneitheran abstract nor a summarybuta complete study marked byprecision andeconomy. It stands apart fromthatkindof narrativeencyclopaedia whichissooftenhackedoutwith a hapless student audience in mind.From hisfirstchapter,'Elements,' Clarkis writingabouta subject andnotfor an audience, though some of hisremarks pertainmostto theAnglo-Saxon reader.Englandis conceived asan historical REVIEWS 205 community,containingsmallerurban or country communities,which came to embraceother communities in the BritishIslesand eventuallyimpinged upon more distantpeoples. Throughout,in seeking to expose the nature of this community,the author asksquestions, but he eschews the 'moderateracialism 'foundin somanyworks.'The nationaltypesof menare moreat home in romantic fictionthanin sociological thought'(p. 8). The difficulties facingthe professional historianwho embarksupon sucha taskareenormous, notleastwhenthewell-tramped world of Englishhistoryis underreview.The chapters dealingwith earlymodernsocietyare a little disappointing - one recallsthe analyticalfabric of someprevious worksfrom Clark'spen- but perhapsthisis alwaysthe casewhen writersgive a general pictureof theirownareaof specialisation. Certainly,he isfamiliar with mostof theproblems implicitin writinga single volumeassessment. One of theseisthat considered statements, behindwhichlie disputes or technicalities, may convey little to theuninitiated.It ishardto conceive precisely what thebeginner would obtainfromthedescription of JohnandMagna Carta,comments on 'puritans,' or the assessment of eighteenth-century politics.The brief treatmentof ship moneyillustrates the author'smethod.The romanceof constitutional myth is absent whenit isstatedthat thejudges decided rightlyagainstHampden,firmly labelledasa veryrichlandlord.It isacknowledged that hewas'lookeduponas a publicbenefactor,' but that isall. Yet thereisalwaysthe dangerthat readers may digestall this in the light of their own preconceived assumptions. Sir Georgeisclearlyawareof thisdifficultyand he handles it betterthan most.In exposing thestoryof England,heappreciates that differentpersons, evenbeginnersreadingthisbook ,will inevitably obtaina diverse picture.'Everyhuman being, eventhemostinsignificant, isa historical character, andsoknows history from the inside.He hasa country,a language, socialhabitsand beliefs,all of whichcarryalongwith themthelivingpast.We all knowmoreabouthistory thanwe areconscious of knowing,andwe canall learnby connecting together thisfragmentary and unappreciated knowledge. The surest way to acquirea graspofhistory istobeginwith whatweknowbest'(pp. 537-8). With chapters on 'AbortiveReconstruction' and 'Total War,' the bookends on a faint noteof pessimism, the authorleavinguswith a question mark over theloosened cements of society at theendof the x939-46 war.The littleselection of outlinemapsmightnot beadequate for all North Americanreaders - there are no illustrations - but otherwise thisclearlypresented work can be recommended tolayreaders andbeginning students, andthepriceisveryfair. w.J. JONES University o[Alberta The ReignofRichardII: Essays in Honourof May McKisack.Editedby Du•OULAY andC•tOLX•E •a.•m•ROta. London,AthlonePress, x97•. Pp.xvi, 335, illus.œ5.00. This volume is a warm and richly deservedtribute to an eminenthistorian. Thoughit iswrittenexclusively byEnglish scholars, it reflects an international ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 204-205
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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