Reviews

A sister act worth the wait
Juno award winning jazz composer Christine Jensen, BMus’94, MMus’06, partners with a familiar collaborator on her new CD – her sister Ingrid, an acclaimed jazz musician in her own right.
A storyteller emerges from the storm
Though uneasy in the spotlight, Monia Mazigh, PhD’01, became a public figure when she campaigned for her husband’s release from a Syrian prison 15 years ago. She found solace in writing.
The education of a political candidate
In his most recent book, author Noah Richler, BA'83, chronicles his experiences as a political candidate in the 2015 federal election. It was an inspiring and humbling experience he won't soon forget.
The case for “messy” parenting
Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, BA’75, has some advice for parents in her latest book: Worry less about signing your kids up for a zillion activities and focus more on providing a nurturing environment.
The wizard of wireless
McGill professor Marc Raboy’s new biography of Guglielmo Marconi shines a light on the compelling and controversial inventor who paved the way for the wireless world we live in today.
In defence of psychiatry
While many regard the The New Yorker 's famously clever cartoons as a treat, the way they portray people with mental illnesses often irks David Goldbloom, MDCM’81, DipPsych’85.
A different take on inequality
While William Watson, BA’74, doesn’t deny that income inequality is real, in The Inequality Trap, the associate professor of economics says it is “the obsession of the age.”


Recommended reading and listening

Mysteries of the Mall, Call Me Giambattista, The China Model, and more....

The Age of Clinton: Bill, Hillary and the nineties
History professor Gil Troy examines how Bill Clinton’s presidency helped shape the nineties and how the nineties affected the Clintons.
The extraordinary tale of Stalin's daughter
What could it have been like to be the daughter of one of the most notorious figures of the 20th century? Rosemary Sullivan, BA’68, found out for her award-winning book.
Murder on his mind
As a lawyer, Peter Kirby, BCL’83, LLB’85, is one of Canada’s top international trade specialists. As a crime fiction writer, he specializes in examining some of Montreal’s darker corners.
For the love of dogs
Best-known for her celebrated books about the history of human relationships, Elizabeth Abbott, MA’66, PhD’71, turns to the shared world of dogs and humans.
A fresh look at a Canadian icon
A new art exhibition and book, both co-produced by Sarah Milroy, BA’69, are shining a spotlight on Emily Carr, one of the most influential artists that Canada has ever produced.
Recommended Reading and Listening
The Carbon Bubble, Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours That Made History, Ravenscrag, and more...
The man behind the scares
Novelist Andrew Pyper, BA'90, MA'91, says he is in "the insomnia business" and there are few writers out there who are more skilled at causing sleepless nights.
The professor provocateur
Iconoclastic management professor Henry Mintzberg, BEng’61, has always raised thorny questions about corporate culture. In his latest book, he is questioning the excesses of capitalism itself.
Venturing beyond the Bud Light
Mirella Amato, BMus’98, is Canada’s first and only Master Cicerone. That makes her the woman to turn to if you want to get adventurous with your beer.
Reviews roundup
The Betrayers, The Comeback, My October, and more...
Ambitious novel nets grad a Giller
Sean Michaels, BA’04, wasn’t always a big fan of the theremin, viewing the instrument as “a sci-fi soundtrack cliché.” His change of heart led to a remarkable novel and the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
In the running for the Giller
Three McGill graduates are among the finalists for the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Find out what they admire the most about their respective books’ protagonists and who their favourite professors were.
Tasty trends: Why some foods sizzle and others fizzle
Why are we crazy about cupcakes, but blasé about fondues? In his latest book, author David Sax, BA’02, examines food trends.
Why face-to-face beats Facebook
It isn’t enough to reach out to people through your iPad screen, says author Susan Pinker, BA’79. Interacting with others in person offers a host of benefits — a longer life among them.
The Main is her muse
Best-selling author Heather O’Neill, BA’94, has a new novel out. Once again, the colourful characters that populated St. Laurent Boulevard in the nineties figure prominently.
Recommended reading and listening – Spring-Summer 2014
Shovel Ready, Wonder, This One Summer, and more...
Born bad? Exploring the morality of babies
Author and Yale child psychology expert Paul Bloom, BA’85, explores the surprisingly complex moral universe of babies in his recent book.
The year that broke Expos’ fans’ hearts
If you’re a Montreal Expos fan, says author Bill Young, BA’61, thoughts of the magical, but short-lived 1994 baseball season provide plenty of memories – some of them joyful and some of them painful.
Exploring the world of water
Jennifer Baichwal, BA’90, MA’96, co-directed Watermark, an epic examination of our relationship to water, which recently won the $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.
Why politics matter
One of the most influential political commentators in the U.S., Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer, BA’70, DLitt’93, is one of the few contributors to Fox News who earns grudging respect from those on the political left.
Taking the scenic route to Mr. Right
They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. In her recent memoir, comedian Ophira Eisenberg, BA’95, recounts how she did a whole lot more than just kissing.
Recommended reading and listening – Fall-Winter 2013
Infidelity, Heir to the Empire City, Road Ends, and more...
Up in his attic, scaring us silly
Andrew Pyper, BA’91, MA’92, cheerfully admits that he wants his readers to lose sleep over the spooky tales he crafts. There are plenty of Pyper fans out there willing to risk the insomnia.
Recommended Reading and Listening: Spring-Summer 2013
A Beautiful Truth, Image du Futur, and many more...
Good news in the battle for women's rights
Author Sally Armstrong, BEd’66, DLitt’02, has shone a light on the horrors inflicted on women throughout the world. Her new book offers an optimistic update on how women are spurring global change.
A unique perspective on power
John Ralston Saul, BA’69, DLitt’97, says his latest novel, a dark comedy about dictators and aristocrats, is a throwback to the oldest literary genre of them all — “the road movie.”
Her majesty and her would-be assassins
It’s 19th century London and excited crowds are lining the street, cheering loudly as the royal carriage carrying their queen makes its way past them. [...]
Recommended Reading and Listening - Fall-Winter 2012
The Western Light, Solo Piano II, and many more...
Her bout with the blues
She might be known as one of the country’s toughest journalists, but Jan Wong, BA’74, discovered that didn’t afford her any protection from a devastating bout of depression.
An education to remember
Building on the Principal’s Task Force on Student Life and Learning, McGill is committed to finding ways to enrich 
the undergraduate student experience.
The Brighter Side of Recessions
Is economic growth sustainable in an era of rocketing fuel prices? Economist Jeff Rubin, MA’82, says no. But that might not be so bad, he adds. The environment could certainly use the break.
Keeping track of every bit of you
Who cares about you? Who cares about what you eat, what you wear, what you buy, what you do and how often you do it? Besides your mom, lots of people, it turns out.
Recommended reading and listening – Spring-Summer 2012
What We Talk About When We Talk About War, Halbman Steals Home, and many more...
Recounting a Royal Metamorphosis
Novelist Eva Stachniak, PhD’88, offers up her own best-selling take on how an unhappily married young foreign-born princess became Russia’s transformative Catherine the Great.
Not such a violent world after all
Pick up a newspaper and you can be forgiven for thinking that acts of violence are on the rise. Celebrated psychologist Steven Pinker, BA’76, DSc’99, says it just isn’t so.
Recommended reading and listening – Fall-Winter 2011
The Big Dream, Space Cadet, and many more...
Out to change the world? Think it through first
Youthful idealists traveling abroad to improve the lives of others should carefully evaluate what they can realistically accomplish, caution a pair of seasoned vets.
A doctor for the dying
Dr. Balfour Mount is widely considered the father of palliative medicine in Canada.
Kid Koala Keeps Turning the Tables
Kid Koala (aka Eric San, BEd’96) has made a name for himself by creating offbeat music and art that defy expectations.
Rock steady Sam Roberts
As he works to balance his roles as a music star and dad, Sam Roberts, BA’98, is pleasantly surprised that he’s able to do what he loves for a living.
Crass Struggle: Greed, Glitz and Gluttony in a Wanna-Have World
In Crass Struggle, McGill economics professor Tom Naylor shatters any illusion that really, really rich people are smarter than the rest of us, or have lifestyles to be envied
A Gentleman of Pleasure: One Life of John Glassco, Poet, Memoirist, Translator, and Pornographer
John “Buffy” Glassco (1909-1981) left the well-feathered family nest to flit around Europe, where he rubbed shoulders (and possibly more) with a who’s-who of the ex-pat arts scene.
Soundcheck: Montebello
Patrick Watson, Socalled and Plants and Animals are among the prominent Montreal musical acts that have recruited Katie Moore for their own albums, confident that her rich, earthy vocals will add just the right je ne sais quoi to their releases.
The Last Act
Thirty years ago, Canada took a last, long-delayed step towards national adulthood. Although it had shed British rule, Canada was still unable to change its laws without approval from Westminster—a situation then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau vowed to change.
The case against media empires
Let’s say you published a well-received book that dealt with the issues that concerned you, and then somebody in a position of power tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Don’t you want to do more than just write about it?”
Looking Back On Laurier
Was Wilfrid Laurier, BCL1864, Canada’s Barack Obama? Author André Pratte discusses the enduring legacy of the charismatic compromiser who became our first French-Canadian prime minister.
The unexpected terrorists
An increasing number of women are becoming involved in terrorist activities. According to expert Mia Bloom, BA’89, these women can be just as hard-core as their male counterparts.
Braids are bracing for the big time
McGill students form three-quarters of Braids, an indie band that’s earning rave reviews. The former Calgarians recently moved to Montreal and McGill was one of the biggest reasons why.
Turning a profit by going green
Author Andrew Heintzman, BA’89, MA’92, argues that smart entrepreneurs can make plenty of money by being environmentally responsible.
On the Proper Use of Stars
On the Proper Use of Stars by Dominique Fortier Dominique Fortier, PhD’93, is a bright new light on the literary scene, as dazzling as any constellation described in her debut novel.
Gentlemen, start your engines
How to Be a Bush Pilot author Claudia Dey, BA’95, has taken a break from her more literary pursuits to advise men on how to give the women in their lives intense pleasure. Hint #1: Do the dishes.
Being a good boss is good business
Jody Heymann‘s latest book, Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder, argues that companies can raise productivity and profitability by creating better working conditions for their lowest level employees.
Light Lifting
Following a highly successful parent into the same line of work can be tricky business. That’s the risk Alexander MacLeod, PhD'03, faced with the publication of his first collection of short stories, Light Lifting.
Picturing her pain
Sarah Levitt’s graphic novel Tangles captures the wrenching complications that Alzheimer’s brings to a family’s life together.
Remembering the “Love Queen”
Montreal author Merrily Weisbord, BEd’64, is in the running for a national book award, all thanks to an unlikely friendship with famous Indian writer Kamala Das.
The importance of place
Architecture professor Avi Friedman worries that we’re so focused on making our surroundings purposeful, we’re forgetting how to infuse them with the charm required to make them livable.
Sowing their wild (Hall and) Oates
Montreal’s Chromeo draws musical inspiration from the eighties.
From management to music, NEeMA charts her course
Singer-songwriter NEeMA, BCom’96, blends practicality and spirituality in her philosophy, which she pours into her new album, Watching You Think.
Conversion: Ben’s Version
Benjamin Errett, BSc’01, converted his year-long journey of becoming Jewish into his first book, Jew and Improved: How Choosing to Be Chosen Made Me a Better Man.
Soundcheck: Heavy Falls The Night by Elizabeth Shepherd, BMus’04
A two-time Juno nominee for her jazz-infused albums, Elizabeth Shepherd decided to take a different approach on her latest CD, Heavy Falls The Night.
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
In Spin, Kate Sandford faces a dilemma that has been a trusty plot point of literature from Doctor Faustus to Harry Potter—how far are you willing to go to get what you desire, and how much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to do it?
A History of Marriage by Elizabeth Abbott
Anybody longing for the good old days, when marriages were supposedly built to last, should read Elizabeth Abbott’s A History of Marriage.
Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic and Political Crises will Redraw the World Map
While countries fret about climate change, squabbling over whether scientists are dissembling and balking at mustering the political will to find real solutions, events are overtaking us.
From park ranger to poet
The unique, award-winning poetry of Lucia Peril, BSc’79, is informed by the wildlife biology studies she once pursued at Macdonald Campus.
Shepherding her flock to a different tune
With the release of her latest album, jazz musician Elizabeth Shepherd, BMus’04, has earned herself some of the best reviews of her young career.
The six-month spaceman
Robert Thirsk, MDCM’82, has boldly gone where precious few Canadians have gone before and he stayed there far longer than any other Canuck in history.
Nice and jazzy
Three recent albums find McGill graduates using jazz as a means to explore everything from human rights to Canada’s natural wonders.
The enormity of little brains
In her recent bestseller, Allison Gopnik, BA’75 argues that we can learn a lot from crying, giggling, crawling babies – maybe even the meaning of life.
Saving the deli, one sandwich at a time
Is the delicatessen doomed? Author David Sax, BA’02, contemplates a life without pastrami – and it isn’t to his liking.
Good things come in small packages
She knows she’ll always only get second billing for her efforts— her collaborators will always be the star attractions—but Heidi Pitlor, BA’92, still thinks she has one of the best gigs in publishing.
Soundcheck: Infernal Machines
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society isn’t such a secret anymore.
Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller
When Jeff Rubin, the former chief economist at CIBC World Markets, predicted that the price of oil was going to top $50 a barrel, there were skeptics aplenty—and then it happened.
Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue
In her first day on the wards at Bellevue Hospital, medical student Danielle Ofri’s main contribution when a patient had a cardiac crisis was to get out of the way—and she didn’t do that very well.
The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History
John Ortved makes clear in his new book, a lively oral history that traces the Simpsons from its origins to its current standing as a cultural colossus, is that Matt Groening didn’t do it alone.
Explaining the Extraordinary
John Ralston Saul, BA’69, DLitt’97, agreed to edit Penguin Canada’s Extraordinary Canadians, a new series of biographies about particularly significant Canucks, because he had something bigger in mind than simply telling a few life stories.
Reviews Fall 2008
The Spy Within: Larry Chin and China's Penetration of the CIA, Stunt, and more...
Reviews Spring-Summer 2008
Rocke Robertson: Surgeon and Shepherd of Change, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar, and many more...
Reviews Winter 2007-2008
Beijing Confidential, Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crises of American Superpower, Intent for a Nation: What is Canada for? and many more...
Reviews Summer 2007
Garcia's Heart, One Child At A Time: The Global Fight to Rescue Children From Online Predators, Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady, and many more...
Reviews Winter 2007
Satanic Purses: Money, Myth and Misinformation in the War on Terror, Hollywood and Me, The Story of Modern Skiing, and many more...
Reviews Summer 2006
The King in the Window, How Happy to Be, The Freedom to SmokeL Tobacco Consumption and Identity, and many more...
Reviews Winter 2005-2006
A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society and Ostinatocious, FMJ Records, 2005, McGill Jazz Orchestra
Reviews Fall 2005
Ten Thousand Roses:The Making of a Feminist Revolution, The Wildfire Season, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror and many more...
Reviews Summer 2005
The Thames, Nellcott Is My Darling, Love as a Foreign Language, Volumes 1 and 2 and many more...
Reviews Winter 2004-2005
In his new book, Fortress America, Matthew Brzezinski manages to scare readers from two completely opposite directions. [...]
Reviews Fall 2004
Some Great Thing, Tool of the Trade for Canadian Genealogy: A Guide for Family Historians in Canada, From Telegrapher to Titan: The Life of William C. Van Horne and many more...
Reviews Summer 2004
Dr. Joe and What You Didn't Know: 177 Fascinating Questions & Answers about the Chemistry of Everyday Life, Stan Lee and The Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, and many more...
Reviews Spring 2004
Fuelling the Future, Drive I-95: Exit by Exit Info, Maps, History and Trivia, Who Said That?, and many more...
Reviews Winter 2003-2004
The Leaky Condo Boondoggle, Eternal Conversations: Remembering Louis Dudek, and many more...
Reviews Fall 2003
Tilting, Help! I've Inherited an Attic Full of History, Early Evening Pieces, and many more...