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The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  59 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The award-winning, bestselling author of While Canada Slept gives his view of a country wasted on Canadians.

What is national character? What makes the Americans, the British, the French, the Russians, and the Chinese who they are? In this homogenized world, where globalization is a byword for a deadening sameness, why do peoples who live in the same region, use the same mo
Paperback, 280 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Emblem Editions (first published May 8th 2007)
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Jan 09, 2012 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada-eh
Cohen examines the Canadian Identity circa 2006 and finds much that is wanting: our widespread ignorance regarding our Canadian past; our petty, reflexive and inferiority-complex fueled antipathy to our American neighbors; our casual indifference to the responsibilities of Canadian citizenship and how this impacts our remarkably lax immigration policy; the penny-pinching, concrete ugly, lacking-all-rhyme-and-reason urban gulag that we call our national capital, Ottawa, and how this dreary blecho ...more
Shonna Froebel
This is one of the shortlisted books for the Evergreen award. Cohen is a well-known journalist and he has researched his topic well. He looks at the Canadian identity: historical, mythical and realistic and makes suggestions for the future.
He draws on the writing of many others who have looked at this perpetual question, both Canadians and observers of Canada. He discusses our dismaying lack of knowledge of our own history, and how little we are required to learn of it.
He talks about our relatio
Dec 26, 2015 Emma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be critical of Canadian-ness in that it is often based on an exclusionary, fictional narrative. Instead, Cohen seems to seek a lovely little Canadian identity that we can all fit into. He barely mentions First Nations, and does not even address the on-going process of colonization. How can we even begin to discuss Canada without mention of these things?
Jan 21, 2016 Itisme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a library find. I found it well written and the subject matter of great interest and importance. I do recommend this book with one condition... I support many of his ideas/suggestions but one that stands on my last nerve is his position on immigration. White privilege and racism reared its ugly and for that shame on Andrew Cohen.
Oct 21, 2007 jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in history, culture and society in Canada
Andrew Cohen tackles the quintessential Canadian question, "what is a Canadian?" in his latest book. He makes the case that Canadians ask this question because they have lost a sense history, and because ambiguity is in fact, a cultural characteristic. Cohen believes that if Canadians paid more attention to the nation's history, honored those who built and continue to build the country (political and social leaders), developed and nurtured national institutions, understood more fully the nature ...more
Alejandra Paula
Mar 01, 2014 Alejandra Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a first generation immigrant to Canada, I found this book very interesting and at the same time a bit worrisome. Andrew Cohen's book offers an overview of important aspects of the Canadian society and highlights issues that if left unaddressed may negatively impact the course of Canada (e.g. Asking little of our citizenship). Canadians should be more involved in shaping the future of their beautiful country. Learning about it from different perspectives, such as the one presented by Cohen, is ...more
If I were the author of fiction, and wanted to use all my creativity to describe an early-afternoon visit to a right-wing think tank, I would avoid certain flourishes that might make me seem like an agitprop-writing leftist hack.

My characters, for instance, wouldn't have to walk through a Lexus dealership to get to their offices. There would also be no wholesomely pretty interns in tight, perky...
Judy Budd wood
Feb 09, 2016 Judy Budd wood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea but I am sure if it interested you it would be good.
Sep 16, 2010 Minli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
Cohen brings up a lot of really interesting ideas; his flaw is that he whines far too much, and places too much expectation on government without closely examining a people's culture. His treatise is prescriptive, and he treats many things (like the lack of nationalism) as bad, and Canada should do X or Y.
Dylan Blanchard
Not as good as I thought it was going to be...
Read like an academic paper, and it's tough to have a good flow, or consistent voice, when the whole thing is basically quotes.
Abandoned, yo.
Jan 13, 2009 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Andrew Cohen has a passionate attachement to Canada and this book demonstrates his fervour in arguing that Canada is better in potential than in practive.
Stephen Wong
Just finished listening to the author on TVO's Big Ideas podcast. I will try to go through the book next.
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