DAWSON'S THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, 6TH EDITION.
Edited by Norman Ward. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1987. 373pp, paper, ISBN 0-8020-5731-4 (cloth) $45.00, 0-8020-6644-5 (paper) $19.95. CIP
Volume 16 Number 3
How can a reviewer pass judgement on a book that has enjoyed a consistent demand for forty years? Clearly, such long-term popularity demonstrates that it is either unique or very well executed.
This is the third edition of Dawson's work to be revised by Norman Ward, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Saskatchewan. Like all previous ones it retains the essential goals and spirit of the original while bringing material up to date and incorporating many recent incidents from public life. This time, however, there was a major reorganization of chapters motivated by the fact that television has become the window through which nearly all of us observe the process of politics. This convinced the author that he should first describe the functions of parties before dealing with institutions such as Parliament, the Governor General and the Public Service of Canada.
Each of the sixteen chapters is in the form of an essay twenty to twenty-five pages in length that could stand by itself. Together, these essays form a beautifully comprehensive account of how we are governed. Because of space limitations the essays cannot by any means be considered definitive studies, but the sophisticated reader will use the sixteen pages of notes, a key to virtually all noteworthy references on the subject, as an extension of the text. Indeed, the author mentions in his preface that he has shortened some subjects where he could suggest more comprehensive works.
The style is academic without being pedantic, polished without being difficult. Although it is aimed at undergraduate university students of political science, it would certainly be useful in senior high school and public libraries. In fact, it is a title every intelligent voter should consider for the private bookshelf.
Howard Hurt, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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