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Honderich, John.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1987. 258pp. cloth. $24.95. ISBN 0-8020-5763-2. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Howard Hurt

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

A lawyer and journalist of long experience, John Honderich has the technical expertise to sift through countless documents and interviews to distil complex and conflicting ideas into comprehensible arguments. This is a thesis written by an enthusiast, but it is also painstakingly careful to present all plausible alternatives. That is not to say, however, that Arctic imperative is a footnote-packed academic work or one with a pretentious style. It is straightforward, clear journalism devoid of jargon and it is extremely readable. The words and sentences are plain enough. It is the concepts that take a little time to digest.

In a distressingly persuasive fashion, the author presents Canadians with evidence indicating that we have come dangerously close to losing effective sovereignty over the most extensive natural region in our nation. Although Arctic Imperative covers such matters as pollution, scientific co-operation, bureaucratic organization and relations with other northern countries, the primary focus is most often on the security needs of the north and the relationship with the obsolete roles we maintain in NORAD and NATO.

If it does nothing else, this book should convince readers that Canada does in fact have a "northern problem." I believe most readers will also agree that a good number of Honderich's proposals are practical and timely. He has marshalled a vast amount of information to support a concept of northern administration that should challenge policy-makers. Arctic Imperative is essential reading for anyone who is seriously interested in the strengthening of Canadian nationalism and independence.

Howard Hurt, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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