SBD/November 5, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper's New Book Looks At Rise of Pro Hockey

Canada Prime Minister STEPHEN HARPER's first book, "A GREAT GAME: THE FORGOTTEN LEAFS & THE RISE OF PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY," hits shelves today and is "billed as a look at the early history of the sport" and "marketed as a tale for hockey obsessives," according to a review by Tony Keller of the GLOBE & MAIL. The book "reads a bit like a PhD thesis, which is to say that it is well researched, and sometimes heavy going." Harper seems "to be aiming to write the definitive take on these events, so minor details aren’t left out" and as a result, "the pacing of the narrative sometimes suffers." But the Harper "does a good job of taking you back to the country, and the time, that gave birth to the national game" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/5). In N.Y., Jeff Klein writes it is as if PRESIDENT OBAMA "published a densely researched study of early basketball in Chicago," and notes the book "took Harper nine years to research, write and publish." It could also be "seen as an illustration of hockey’s special place in the Canadian heart and mind" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/5). The NATIONAL POST's Chris Selley writes under the header, "Stephen Harper’s Long-Awaited Hockey History Is Exhaustive, Exhausting." There is "precious little analysis here of anything, and not much 'perspective' either, and so one pines for it." There is "evidence of 'passion,' certainly: Only a true love of the subject matter could sustain the creative force necessary to create such a savagely dull tome." Selley: "But that’s about it" (NATIONAL POST, 11/5). However, in Toronto, Rosie DiManno writes the book is a "surprisingly readable and entertaining historical exposition on the early organizational days of Canada’s most beloved sport" (TORONTO STAR, 11/5).
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