This is not an academic look at the BC election of 2017, but a dramatic look, and it reads like a crime novel - complete with all the requisite good guys and bad guys. There's Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark, John Horgan (of course) and many others. There are also lots of great, behind-the-scenes details. This read was a real page turner; I couldn't put it down, and just fascinating for this political neophyte. I highly recommend it.
I was looking forward to reading a well-written, well-researched book on the fall of the B.C. Liberal Government. And I still am. This isn't it.
Even before I started reading, I had my doubts about this attempt: there is no bibliography; no notes on sources. This is critical to the work's credibility, because the author's quote many people directly, in private conversation. IE in "one meeting at the time" (where? when?) in answer to someone (Who, exactly?) wondering about the political wisdom of the proposed HST: "That's your fucking job," retorted the premier. "figure it out." Fiction or fact? The reader will never know. Next line: "Those who worked for Campbell guessed the HST could be the end of their boss's career. And they thought the premier might have known that, too." Exactly who were "They"? Was Campbell interviewed for this book? (His name does not appear in the long, long list of those who "participated"--participated how, exactly?)
All this on page 12.
Badly written, too. Initial evidence comes in the very first paragraph of the Acknowledgements page: "The stories in this book are captured as a moment in time. They are a reflection of the essential moments, and key characters in an extraordinary period in British Columbia's political history." I hunched I was in for a rough read. Note: Stories are usually related, told, recalled, but "captured"? The book's "stories" are merely a "reflection" of "Essential" moments? Try this: This book revisits critical moments as experienced by B.C. politicians in an extraordinary period..." etc.
The writing gets worse: "But [Energy Minister Bill] Lekstrom wasn't the kind of guy you yelled at, unless you wanted the burly biker to knock you on your ass." That's cheap and nasty pub-talk. It has no place here. Neither does the cosy nudge-and-wink style that allows, "[Lekstrom's] first vote was against his own party for ripping up labour contracts. You can imagine how Campbell frowned upon that gesture." Well, maybe the reader can, but shouldn't have to. It's the responsibility of authors to SHOW or DEMONSTRATE the premier's reaction, or at least, provide a quote from source to verify the writers' claim. None supplied.
I've been frustrated many times by B.C.'s "key characters." I've decided to avoid the further frustration of reading a bad book about them.
It wouldn't be for everyone, but for a political junkie, the "inside story" is riveting.
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