'My Dear Legs...': Letters to a Young Social Democrat


187 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919573-38-X





Reviewed by James G. Snell

James G. Snell is a history professor at the University of Guelph,
author of In the Shadow of the Law: Divorce in Canada, 1900-1939, and
co-author of The Supreme Court of Canada: History of the Institution.


‘My Dear Legs’ is not really a book but a collection of letters written to a young friend by Alex Macdonald. The author, a long-time British Columbia member of the CCF-NDP party, has sat in the provincial legislature since 1960; he was an influential cabinet minister in the Barrett Government. The much-respected MLA has significant credentials to write about his party.

The letters, few in number and usually fairly lengthy, deal with predictable issues: health care, industrial relations, civil liberties, private vs. public enterprise, NDP political strategy. As well, there are many anecdotes and all this is presented in a leisurely, readable, somewhat rambling fashion.

The problem with this book is very basic. Is the material really significant enough to warrant publication? The format is somewhat disjointed; the content not well integrated. The ideas are sensible but not very surprising; most literate people will already have confronted many of the issues in various forums.


Macdonald, Alex, “'My Dear Legs...': Letters to a Young Social Democrat,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 10, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35627.