Your Country, My Country

Your Country, My Country

A Unified History of the United States and Canada

Book - 2015
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"Canada: land of hockey, terrible weather, unfailing politeness-and little else, as far as many Americans are aware. For Canadians, the United States is seen as a land of unparalleled opportunity and unparalleled failure, a country of heights and abysses. The straitlaced country in the north could hardly have much to tell about its powerhouse of a neighbor to the south, eh? Not so, according to historian Robert Bothwell. In this witty and accessible book, Bothwell argues that the shared history of the United States and Canada reveals more about each country than most would suspect. Your Country, My Country takes readers back to the seventeenth century, when a shared British colonial heritage set the two lands on paths that would remain intertwined to the present day. Tracing Canadian-American relations, shared values, and differences through the centuries, Bothwell suggests that Americans are neither unique nor exceptional, in terms of both their good characteristics and their bad ones. He brings this contention down to the present day by examining Canadian and American differences over such questions as universal health care in domestic policy and the Iraq war in foreign policy. What happens in Canada often reflects what has happened in the United States, but by the same token, what happens in Canada signals what could happen in its American neighbor. From whatever direction, this innovative volume contends, Canada's story illuminates America's-and vice-versa"--Front and back flaps of jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780195448801
Branch Call Number: 970 BOT 2015
Characteristics: 420 pages ; 25 cm


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Sep 24, 2017

Don't be misled by the title. I came into this book expecting a bold new history of North America between the Rio Grande and Baffin Bay released from the silos of "Canadian" and "American" history. Instead, what I got was a fairly conventional history of Canadian-American diplomatic relations coloured by occasional references to domestic politics. To give an example of his narrow focus, Bothwell never once mentions the names of Louis Riel or Martin Luther King, Jr., but he does provide short biographies for several of the United States' ambassadors to Canada.

If you come into the book knowing what to expect, though, you may get something out of it. Bothwell does marshal a decent catalogue of historical facts and anecdotes to support his thesis that Canada and the United States are more similar than is often assumed. The last few chapters are particularly interesting as they bring the story up to the present day and examine Canada's place in the framework of American hegemony as both a handmaiden of empire (as in Lloyd Axworthy's promotion of the "Responsibility to Protect") and an outlet for political currents struggling to find expression in the American government (e.g. skepticism of the Iraq War).

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