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Canada vs United States: How Canada is So Much Better than America    by Jeff Pearce order for
Canada vs United States
by Jeff Pearce
Order:  USA  Can
Lone Pine, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Canada vs United States: How Canada is So Much Better than America, Jeff Pearce offers a pro-Canadian (but not anti-American) 'page-turning Pez dispenser of useful information', helpful for situations, such as when A Canadian and an American walk into a bar ... and beaver and eagle start comparing countries and lifestyles.

Chapters address Quality of Life; Business; Multiculturalism, Immigration, Passports and Travel; Environment and Natural Resources; Government; History; Religion; Sports; Military; Culture; Crime and Punishment; International Reputation; Education; Science and Technology; Cool Spy Stuff; Security; Relations; Let's Swap; and An Epilogue of Compliments.

There are all kinds of tasty tidbits in here. There's the fact that, though of course Canadian beer is superior, it's mostly (Moosehead aside) not Canadian owned any more. About 54% of Canadians hold passports compared to 30% of Americans. 'Canada has a staggering 20 percent of the world's freshwater reserves'. Readers learn about Isaac Brock, 'Canada's first military badass'. And did you know that 'Both America and Canada drew up plans to invade each other' soon after fighting side by side in World War I? I sure didn't.

I especially enjoyed the section on Canadian authors, including Peter Robinson, A. E. Van Vogt, Robert J. Sawyer, and Guy Gavriel Kay. And also the discussion of the larger than life Dr. Norman Bethune, whose name is still a household word in China. Then there's how recruitment was handled for the formation of a Canadian national spy agency independent of the Mounties - through want ads in the newspapers! That just about says it all. Pearce doesn't only bash the eagle (gun ubiquity aside), but also admits to some of the beaver's more embarrassing moments, as in a chapter on Imperialist Canada: Mahdi, Boers and Turks (the Caribbean Kind).

Before opening this volume, I'd hoped for something more funny than informative but, though a light read, the book is actually more informative than funny as it talks about 'two interconnected heritages'. Canadian or American, if you ever do head into a bar with someone from across the border, take Canada vs United States along - it will give you tons to talk about.

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