Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly6:4 (Fall 1986). Copyright © 1986 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Both of these books address regionalism in Western Canada. Prairie Politics and Society, written by a political scientist from the University of Calgary, emphasizes the socio-economic development of the prairie provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, providing an integrated examination of prairie politics throughout the twentieth century. The Making of the Modern West, with its mid-century focus, provides a collection of varied descriptive and analytic essays about all aspects of economic, social, and political life in the prairie provinces. Both books are well worth reading. Canadian readers will benefit from the scholarly attention that details the realities of those vital provinces. Statesiders will be even more rewarded as readers, although their interests may not be as keen as those of their

Canadian counterparts, because reading about another political system, especially that of a nation so close to the United States in culture and location, brings one's own into relief. These books implicitly bring forth similarities and differences between Canadian and United States prairie/plains. For example, agriculture is troubled in both countries but the abundance of oil in the prairies changes the economic meaning and the political responses to this trouble in Canada. After reading these books, an American can better understand the much discussed and current Canadian selfdescription of their "branch plant economic status" relative to the U.S., at least for Western Canada. Finally, for all those North Americans grappling with the methodological difficulties of defining or operating regional entities, these two books become required reading.