December 2013

When US economist Jeffrey Sachs announced his Millennium Villages Project in 2005 to try to eradicate poverty in a set of rural African communities, Canadian journalist Nina Munk began tracking his overly optimistic goals and their disappointing results. In her book The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, our reviewer Mark Fried, recently retired director of policy for Oxfam Canada, finds that Sachs repeatedly pinned his hopes on technology instead of on essential social and political development strategies.

Who pays attention to news services or even knows what they mean? We see the names Reuters, AP, AFP, Xinhua, TASS, attached to many of the  stories we read, but their identity is blurry for most readers. Journalism professor Gene Allen has now produced the first academic history of our own national news service, Canadian Press. His book, Making National News, is reviewed for us by Beth Haddon, former broadcast executive for CBC News and TVOntario.

Also this month, welcome to Gullibility Central! Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero have produced an eye-opening account of all those creatures, imagined or real, that appear to haunt the world’s woodlands and wildernesses. Our reviewer Arno Kopecky takes all the tales discussed in Abominable Science: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie and Other Famous Cryptids with an appropriate grain of salt.

Watch out. There’s Big Foot behind you!

Bronwyn Drainie