CARP-age writers tell it as it was
Members of the CARP generation write books as well as read them. Two of them — Alex N. McLeod, 86, and Robert Collins, 72 — phoned me about their new volumes. If you are addicted to nostalgia with a bite, they’re for you. McLeod is a Canadian monetary economist with a distinguished international career. But don’t let the title of his book put you off. Hunting a Paradigm: An Economist’s Quest is a provocative autobiography of professional and personal high-adventures in Canada, the U.S., Latin America and the Middle East.
Always seeking, he moves through his meticulous prose with facility and authority. You accompany him into rarefied levels of international finance and share with him, his wife Rosalind, and their four sons, the challenges of family-rearing wherever the quest took them.
You’ll cheer his spicy conclusion: "We badly need a new leader now, a charismatic figure with a new vision… not some crackpot funny-money guru, or a resurrection of Marxist-Lenin rhetoric, or other such nonsense." Order your copy from a bookseller or direct by calling 1-800-565-9523, or fax 1-800-221-9985.
Collins is a noted Canadian author, newspap and magazine writer and editor. His You Had To Be There (McClelland & Stewart Inc.) is not only his autobiography — it’s also that of we few fellow-survivors of depression and wars, left behind to cope with the generation gap. Our lives flash back with vivid nostalgia through the 181 women and men he interviews, using hard news clips to lace their stories together. He puts the whole package into focus with the following: "We are the last, as a group, to have entered our teens with virginity intact. The last who believe widely in the sanctity of marriage, in the invulnerability of family, in mannerly children and courteous adults. We place high value on hard work, loyalty and self-sufficiency." Amen!
Toronto writers David Cruise and Alison Griffiths rooted through 13 forgotten diaries of our first Mountie to write The Great Adventure 1874 (Viking/Penguin Books Canada). It’s a hitherto unwritten epic which, we discover at this late date, infant Canada’s survival hinged.
Having been taught Canadian history properly in pre-teachers’ union prairie schools, I considered myself steeped in the lore of my ancestors’ Great West. But I’d not heard of the 300 untrained young men who trekked 900 miles from Fort Dufferin, near today’s Winnipeg, to Fort Whoop-up, near modern Lethbridge.
But for those RCMP originals, "Riel would certainly have triumphed in the 1885 Rebellion," the authors write…"it would have taken decades longer for the Canadian Pacific Railway to be built and British Columbia, already impatient with Ottawa’s foot-dragging on the railroad, would probably have left Confederation."
William Buckley Jr. is raising hell again, this time about religion. Buckley, the renaissance U.S. writer, publisher, scholar and commentator, is also a devout Roman Catholic. His Nearer My God (Doubleday) is explosive. But, he assures you, "no believing Christian who reads this book is likely to lose his faith."
You want Buckley’s views on religion in schools, papal infallibility, eternal punishment, the unbaptized, indulgences, Biblical inspirations, meat on Friday? They’re here if you can decipher some of his convoluted syntaxes.
Finally, having completed his dissection, he delivers his comforting confession…"I am a senior citizen and my faith has never left me.." It’s something for us to think about, no matter our church.
Mid-winter’s best novel? Try Larry McMurtry’s Comanche Moon (Simon & Schuster). This is Lonesome Dove stuff given teeth with monstrous savagery by whites and natives. Plus a U.S. Southwest setting only McMurtry can re-create. If you plan to retire there in that part of the world, or just tour through, read up on this new classic by a superb story-teller.