Canada's Strategies for the Pacific Rim: Brian MacDonald


145 pages
ISBN 0-919769-19-5




Reviewed by Barry M. Gough

Barry M. Gough is a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and
author of The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and
Discoveries to 1812.


From conference proceedings often come the great books of the future, and if not great books then great ideas. This little volume is no exception; it reflects what must have been an extremely interesting and informative meeting of minds. The gathering was at the rim of the Pacific at Royal Roads, British Columbia, and from that splendid vantage point the minds of the assembled went outwards to different spots bordering on the ocean. Contrary to what is believed, the Pacific is not a new ocean to man’s activities. But it continues to reflect the shifts of strategic and economic power that dominate the globe.

All of the contributions are useful. They fall into three clusters: the Superpowers and the Pacific; the Regional Great Powers; and the New Economic Strategic Environment of the Pacific. From such a fine stable the reviewer hesitates to select the best thoroughbreds, yet the papers of James Boutilier, Michael Martin, and Jan Walls seem the best, especially Boutilier’s first-hand report on the Pacific Islands in historical perspective, a tour de force of past and present. Why the editor forgot a “Who’s who” is beyond this reviewer, but such a slip is subject to charity and is a slight blemish on an otherwise superb book. Let us hope that the contributors will go beyond these papers and write more generally, and more generously, on the Pacific. An under-informed public will be the great beneficiary.


“Canada's Strategies for the Pacific Rim: Brian MacDonald,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,