The numbers are stark: there are about four and a half million Canadians over the age of 65 right now, but by 2030 there will be almost eight million, accounting for 24% of the total population. How are those of us who are reaching at or past that marker going to deal with our personal journeys through the final chapters? And how is our society as a whole going to cope with the economic, social and medical stresses and strains of an aging citizenry? These are the questions Sandra Martin addresses in our feature review/essay this month. As The Globe and Mail‘s chief obituaries writer for the past several years, she has done more thinking about these issues than many, and so have the authors of the four Canadian books she considers.
Canadian troops (except for a handful of training staff) have now left Afghanistan, and what has been gained, lost and learned in the process of this intractable war? Graeme Smith, who worked as – again – the Globe and Mail‘s correspondent in Kabul and mostly Kandahar from 2005 to 2009, has just published his personal memoir of those harrowing years, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now. Our reviewer for this important title is Terry Glavin, whose own book on Afghanistan, Come From the Shadows, was published in 2011.
Living a “normal” life as a deaf person is full of frustrations and a deep sense of isolation, according to Joanne Weber, whose book, The Deaf House, is analysed this month by James Roots, a frequent book reviewer for the LRC who is also, in his day job, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf, and the middle of three generations of deaf men in his family.
Coming to terms with the story of settler-aboriginal relations in Canada is a long, slow and often agonizing process, but there are serious historians who continue to chip away at a past that many Canadians prefer to forget. One such is James Daschuk, whose Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Homeland is reviewed for us by Andrew Woolford, a sociologist based at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Clear and eloquent writing on a handful of important subjects in this month’s LRC.