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By Gordon Aiken. 2010
Canadians took politics seriously in the years following Confederation and Gordon Aiken’s novel about pioneer Muskoka and the fledgling nation’s… capital shows why. Unique events in the Dominion’s second election, in 1872, inspired Aiken to write about Muskoka’s returning officer, Richard Bell, who refused to declare Liberal candidate A.P. Cockburn elected, even though he got the most votes. Consequent ground-breaking events included Bell’s summons to give an accounting of himself to the House of Commons, the first and only time an MP would be elected to parliament by members of the Commons itself, and reforms in Canadian election law including introduction of the secret ballot. Privately published as Returning Officer in 1982, and long since out of print, this Blue Butterfly edition is re-titled No Return. Completely reset and redesigned, with added maps and period photographs, this new edition also features J. Patrick Boyer’s afterword, "Gordon Aiken’s Quest and the Genesis of No Return." The political intrigues woven into Gordon Aiken’s rich tale of local and national affairs from 140 years ago will resonate with readers today, if its essential plots and human ambitions were simply updated by new technology and a fresh cast of characters to re-enact timeless dramas of mismatched lovers, a local judge fighting the newspaper editor, lumber barons playing both sides to keep their timber licences, and contractors changing political sides to win road jobs (or what today are termed "infrastructure projects"). Aiken, Member of Parliament for the same district a century later, wrote with deep understanding about Muskoka and its people and acute knowledge of parliamentary politics. No Return tells of one man’s struggle to support his chosen party, maintain his independence, confound his enemies, and hold his family together under duress.
By Robert Barr, Douglas Lochhead. 1973
By Zoë Wicomb, Dorothy Driver. 2001
Unfolding in 1991 South Africa, at the moment of Nelson Mandela's release, this novel explores the underground world of activists,… spies, and saboteurs in the liberation movement--a world seldom revealed to outsiders. It also journeys back in time to find the forgotten history of "coloured" people, whose mixed-race heritage is embedded in four centuries of wrenching South African history. The effect is a bold and revisionary work--a moving exploration of the meaning of history, memory, and truth.
By Niccolò Machiavelli, Christopher Celenza. 2018
Packaged in handsome, affordable trade editions, Clydesdale Classics is a new series of essential works. From the musings of intellectuals… such as Thomas Paine in Common Sense to the striking personal narrative of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, this new series is a comprehensive collection of our intellectual history through the words of the exceptional few.Widely acknowledged as Machiavelli’s defining work, The Prince is an innovative and rich treatise marked by his political theories and the principles of leadership. Based upon his own experiences witnessing “the actions of great men” and the often immoral aspects that come with power, Machiavelli encouraged ambition amongst leaders—which was a break from the philosophy of other contemporary thinkers. The Prince identifies the aims of powerful leaders, which can help to justify the use of largely immoral means in their methods.With a new foreword by scholar Christopher Celenza, this essential work on politics contemplates leadership in a manner still relevant today. This lesson in autocratic rule will provide the reader with the author’s rational approach to control and the contextualization for the term “Machiavellian.”
By Eliza Factor. 2012
"Eliza Factor's first novel, The Mercury Fountain, explores what happens when a life driven by ideology confronts implacable truths of… science and human nature. It also shows how leaders can inflict damage by neglecting the real needs of real people. Though the action takes place between 1900 and 1923, the resonance feel alarmingly contemporary. . . Factor counters convention with a sharp sense of character, evocative subplots and the dangerous allure of mercury itself."--New York Times Book Review"Factor develops her characters in entertaining ways while building a novel of social realism."--Kirkus ReviewsSet in a remote stretch of desert near the border of west Texas and Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century, this story follows the pursuits of Owen Scraperton as he struggles to establish Pristina, a utopian community based on mercury mining that aims to resolve the great questions of labor and race. As age, love, and experience cause Owen to modify his original vision, his fiercely idealistic daughter Victoria remains true to Pristina's founding principles-setting them up for a major conflict that captures the imagination of the entire town. The Mercury Fountain combines realistic modern writing with elements from American and Greco-Roman mythology, taking its cue from Mercury, the most slippery and mischievous of gods, who rules over science, commerce, eloquence, and thievery.Eliza Factor was born in 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. The Mercury Fountain is her debut novel.