Canada Glorious and Free: A Love Letter to a Marvellous Nation

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To be Canadian is to be humble and self-effacing. It is to be responsible, and loyal, and trustworthy, and honest, and courageous. It is to go about our day-to-day lives knowing that there is a job to do -- and that it must be done well and without fanfare and without expectation of praise or acknowledgment.

To be Canada -- on the world stage -- is much the same. It is to be there when the world needs a defender, or a peace-maker, or a negotiator, or a warrior, or a visionary. It is to be there when the planet is in crisis, as it was in World War I, or World War II, or, currently, in Afghanistan. It is to be the voice of fairness and reason and hope -- and it is to be all of those things without expectation of reward or a simple pat on the back for a job well done.

Author Walter Cooke is a proud Canadian. He loves Canada and what it stands for. He is conscious of the nation's past and aware of the promise it holds for the future. And that's what makes his latest book, Canada: Glorious and Free, such a treasure.

Over the course of nearly 400 information-packed pages, Cooke traces Canada's history, from ancient times straight through to the present day. He reminds his readers that Canada once had -- after World War II -- the third-largest navy fleet in the world; that the nation is the world's top per-capita contributor to United Nations peace-keeping missions; that the first snowmobile was developed in Canada in 1922; that the 1962 football Grey Cup match between Hamilton and Winnipeg took two days to complete because of heavy fog on Day 1.

In Canada: Glorious and Free, Cooke recalls the Trudeau years and the public mania that brought him to power in 1968. He re-constructs the horror of 1970 and the FLQ crisis and the murder of Pierre Laporte.

On a much lighter and happier note, he recalls Paul Henderson's winning goal in the final game of the 1972 hockey Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union. Cooke reminds readers -- and most will have forgotten this -- that Henderson actually scored the winning goal in each of the final three games of that landmark hockey series.

Canada: Glorious and Free presents this nation at its finest. It's a love letter to a wonderful country -- and Walter Cooke has captured Canada's spirit perfectly.

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JENNIFER SALLANS
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Walter Cooke
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