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Book Reviews 417 have read the sermons, political speeches, and convocation addresses of Canada's leaders, who were forever reminding their audiences of the need to temper ambition with restraint, experience with order, materialism with civility. Whether anyone was listening to these homilies is a question that merits more investigation, including by Lanning. Thus, while the methodology ofthe book is unusual, its findings are familiar, and historians will uncover few new insights into the social and cultural life ofthe late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Given the author's heavy reliance on the work of several social theorists - Philip Abrams, Leo Lowenthal, Georg Simmel, Anthony Giddens - sociologists may find the book more inspiring, and it could well provide a route to their own explorations of Canadian history. All readers are likely to agree on one thing: The National Album should not have been published without an index. PAUL AXELROD York University For a Working-Class Culture in Canada: A Selection of Colin McKay's Writings on Sociology and Political Economy, 1897-1939. Edited by IAN MCKAY. St John's: Canadian Committee on Labour History 1996. Pp. lii, 615. $29.95 Ian McKay is a history professor at Queen's University in Ontario who, with the help of Lewis Jackson, has already published a book on Colin McKay's sea stories. According to the book's jacket, Colin McKay (no relation) was a Nova Scotia-born 'seafarer, poet, labour activist, short story writer, Christian, philosopher, journalist, political economist, cultural critic, and socialist' who lived mainly in Canada from 1876 to 1939. In this book, Ian McKay and Lewis Jackson have again collaborated - to produce a compilation of McKay's most interesting articles on economics, sociology, and the Canadian labour movement. Although 'only' 134 of the 952 articles by McKay so far uncovered are presented, that is more than enough to convince anyone that he was one of the most prolific and well-read socialists in Canadian history. The book is divided into several major parts. It begins with a fortytwo -page introduction by Jackson and McKay, which serves as a biography of Colin McKay's working life, first as a sailor, then as a labour journalist. It is followed by a five-part compendium of McKay's various writings, each of them introduced with a lengthy analysis of their contents by Ian McKay. Thus, for the next 488 pages, we are treated to a total of 158 pages of analysis interspersed with 330 pages of Colin 418 The Canadian Historical Review McKay's collected articles. Dozens of those pages are also footnoted, providing us with further information about Colin McKay's source references. Ian McKay has written a Marxist afterword in the form of a ninetyfive -page 'open letter to Colin McKay,' which includes thirty-two more pages of footnotes. finally, we are also treated to a fifteen-page selected bibliography, a name index, and a subject index. What we have here is nothing less than a labour of love, but Colin McKay certainly seems to deserve it. Here was a genuine, self-taught, mostly working-class intellectual, living and writing in Canada while remaining outside the usual attachment to either the CCF or the Communist Party of Canada. McKay wrote hundreds of articles and letters, long and short, which were published between 1897 and 1939 in such newspapers and union journals as the Montreal Herald, the Shelburne Gazette and Coast Guard (Nova Scotia), the Eastern Labor News (Moncton), the Canadian Railway Employees' Monthly, Labor World/Le Monde Ouvrier, The One Big Union Bulletin, and the Canadian Unionist. He started out as a left-Liberal supporter of the American Federation of Labor in Canada and evolved into an independent Marxist promoting the All-Canadian Congress of Labour. As Ian McKay points out, Colin McKay's importance to late twentieth -century historians comes from his obstinate refusal to conform to our 'dichotomous categorizations' concerning the history of Canadian socialism or the Canadian labour movement. McKay is not classifiable as either a democratic or a revolutionary socialist, and his Marxism was always mixed up with a great deal of Christian idealism, Spencerian sociology, and even occasional support (such as during the First World...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 417-419
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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