In this two-book bundle, Alan Bowker sheds new light on two subjects with a surprising connection: the great Canadian writer Stephen Leacock and the rise of Canada on the world stage, which Leacock profiled with keen wit and observational skill. With Bowker as your guide, explore what it was really like to live through the great upheaval that pushed Canada to come into its own on the world stage.
A Time Such as There Never Was Before
Ottawa Book Award 2015 — Shortlisted
The years after World War I were among the most tumultuous in Canadian history: a period of unremitting change, drama, and conflict. They were, in the words of Stephen Leacock, “a time such as there never was before.” The war had been a great crusade, and its end was supposed to bring a world made new. But the conflict had cost sixty thousand Canadian lives, with many more wounded, and had stirred up divisions in the young, diverse country. With Canada struggling to define itself, labour, farmers, business, the church, social reformers, and minorities all held extravagant hopes, irrational fears, and contradictory demands. Whose hopes would be realized, and whose dreams would end in disillusionment? Which changes would prove permanent and which would be transitory? A Time Such As There Never Was Before describes how this exciting period laid the foundation of the Canada we know today.
On the Front Line of Life
In the last decade of his life, Stephen Leacock turned to writing informal essays that blended humour with a conversational style and ripened wisdom to address issues he cared about most — education, literature, economics, Canada and its place in the world — and to confront the joys and sorrows of his own life. With an introduction that sets them in the context of his life, thoughts and times, these essays reveal a passionate, intelligent, personal Leacock, against a backdrop of Depression and war, finding hope and conveying the timeless message that only the human spirit can bring social justice, peace, and progress.