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Summer Readings List

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Recommendations from CGAI’s Fellows and members of the Advisory Council

During these COVID times, reading has become a diversion from the pandemic and a pleasurable activity you can do without peril. We have asked our Fellows and the members of our Advisory Council to share their non-fiction and fiction recommendations, which you can explore here.


John Barrett

Jean-Christophe Boucher 

Brett Boudreau 

Andrew Caddell

Jean Charest

Note: “The history of France, Europe and the world was in part determined by these two leaders. The book reflects upon the influence of a single person in the shaping of events and history. It offers an interesting perspective for Canadians on how single country can make its voice heard and continue to be relevant.”

Andrea Charron

Mike Cleland

Note: “Montaigne as many people know was a minor French aristocrat who lived through the turbulence of the reformation in France. He wrote extensively and auto-biographically but aimed to see the world through the eyes of people all around him –great and small, of all ideological stripes. To quote from the introduction: “This idea–writing about oneself to create a mirror in which other people recognize their own humanity– has not existed forever.” Bakewell’s book is drawn from his writings which are full of simple wisdom. But she renders what I gather are often somewhat rambling pieces (I have not read Montaigne in the original, translated or otherwise) into advice on how to live (e.g., Don’t worry about death, Pay attention, Survive love and loss, Be ordinary and imperfect). All of this is set in a rich recounting of the times and the sociological and political context of Renaissance France. The structure of the book (twenty distinct questions) allow for casual browsing – perfect for summer reading. And she is a truly wonderful writer. At the end the reader cannot help but say: well I probably knew that; I just didn’t think to articulate it and I wish I had. A hopeful book for rather less hopeful times.”

Jocelyn Coulon

Kristen Csenkey

Francisco Suárez Dávila

Glenn Davidson

Judit Fabian

Note: "I learned a lot from it, and in my opinion it's a fine book. I was rediscovering it in May, while the pandemic was hitting Europe very hard. I actually had a quick thread about it on Twitter, pictures included, because I was asked what I was reading at the time. The thread can be found here."

Ross Fetterly

Note: “At a time of a strategic global change exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our closest neighbour taking an “America First” approach to other nations, China and Russia with hostile rules ensconced for life, and the United Kingdom turning inward– this book provides a first hand look by the authors on the shaping on American defence policy, and how it evolved with changing times. This book will be of interest to the defence and security, as well as the diplomatic, communities.”

Note: “While published in 1968, this book really resonated with the challenging times that we are going through now – the Cancer Ward is an allegory that follows cancer patients in the ward that reflect on their personal circumstances and cannot rely solely on the hospital or medical staff for survival. The protagonist learns what he needs to find his own way to survive. Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for literature two years after the publication of this book.”

Adam Frost

Allison Gifford

Benjamin Hautecouverture 

David Higgins 

Deanna Horton

Rob Huebert

Joseph Ingram

Elizabeth Kingston

Eugene Lang

Adam Lajeunesse

Dennis McConaghy

Randolph Mank

Barbara Martin

Note: “It is a “must read” to understand the extent to which Canada needs to recalibrate its relations with China. China is not a benign trading partner, as many in Canada would have it be. Its reaction to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, its efforts to dominate in the South China Sea and its behaviour regarding Hong Kong are just a few examples of its aggressive international posture and disregard for [the] rule of law, human rights and democracy. Against that backdrop, Manthrope probes deeply into how China is operating inside Canada in ways to project its power and advance its interests. Canadians need to beware.”

Eric Miller

Note: "The story of the emerging U.S.-China Cold War as told by two world-class journalists from both Beijing and Washington." 

Note: "Happy are the painters for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day."

  • Fiction: Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Note: "One of the best ways to understand colonialism, its functioning and its legacy is to read some of the notable literary works of the era. Kim is an interesting story set against the backdrop of the British-Russia "Great Game" in Central and South Asia."

Note: "One of the most beautiful novels ever produced by a Canadian (or otherwise)."

Robert Muggah

Stephen Nagy 

Beat Nobs

Roy Norton

George Petrolekas

Note: "It looks at the entire campaign, not just the battle... and is written in a style that is reminiscent of Schaara's Killer Angels"

Andrew P. Rasiulis

Chris W. J. Roberts

Kari Roberts 

Colin Robertson

Stephen Saideman

Bill Sigler

Note: “It was published nearly 20 years ago, and looks closely at a rising China against the backdrop of the established power – the U.S. It’s all the more relevant because of the time lapse, as the rivalry has played out very similarly to what Mearsheimer predicted. I hope that he’s wrong, as the trajectory of relations he predicts does not get better from here. All the more reason to revisit this seminal work.”

Jeffrey Simpson

Note: “[This book] will not replace the Sidelsky three-volume biography but it is a readable and rather long survey of Keynes’ fascinating life and influence and the long intellectual and political struggle between what we might all Keynesian thought and its enemies, the latter largely triumphed in the United States (sic.).”

Denis Thompson 

Heidi Tworek


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