March 14 Register for Referendum about Metro Bellemare

On March 14, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., 249 citizens living close to the  Bellemare grocery store development in Verdun asked for a referendum about the project. Now the borough has to hold a referendum that they are likely to lose or the developer has to pull the project and perhaps submit a revised version for consideration again.

The process wasn’t easy and if Quebec Bill 122 goes through, this will be among the last times it happens.

This was a great example in which local government officials set up a city development project that went beyond what local citizens can stand. Locals are always concerned that a project fits in with its neighbours. They care that unit costs within a development aren’t too high, that parking remains available, and that traffic isn’t worsened. Developers and city officials are concerned with increasing the density in a region, building higher-priced units that generate more tax dollars and “beautifying” neighbourhoods, which almost always means gentrification.

With this project, the borough of Verdun was very happy with the project they negotiated, which expands a beloved grocery story and creates rental units rather than condos. Several proposed units are large enough to accommodate families, a big need in Verdun. The developer has also offered to contribute $150,000 to build social housing.

Neighbours were not happy at all. The worried about the potential traffic and parking headaches that the four-storey 67-unit mixed use building will generate. They know that the grocery store parking lot will be frequently used, but the major street next to it is one-way, so anyone who visits the store will have to leave by the smaller residential streets. There’s also a school right across the street from Metro Bellemare, so it will be children negotiating passage through the traffic. Parking is already difficult.

To try to lessen the project’s impact, residents living on  Claude, de l’Eglise, Evelyn, Galt, Gertrude, Gordon, Hickson, Joseph and Verdun had to negotiate a byzantine process that included verifying via a formal legal notice whether they had the right to participate. If they did, they went to Verdun borough hall, 4555, rue de Verdun, Salle du conseil, local 205, to sign a register for a referendum about the project. If they didn’t, they’re still annoyed.

Developer Robert Bellemare had things even tougher. He faced criticism, graffitti and hate while trying to present the positive sides of his project. He’s already spent a year negotiating with the borough’s local development committee. Then he spent several months trying to win over critics. His latest attempt occurred the morning of the register according to Radio Canada. That move was to create a citizen consultation committee to ensure his grocery store expansion is done in such a way that they will approve. There were other changes too, but according to my colleague’s story, they weren’t sufficient to keep residents from signing the register.

The borough also faced lots of criticism during the project, especially after the Mayor told the developer which zones they opened, allowing him to open additional spots and raise the number of residents who had to sign the register. (See this story in the Metro and this one on Radio-Canada).

In the end, 249 people of the 2,294 who live near the project signed the register. This was just a few more than the 243 people that were required . The borough can now hold a referendum about the project or the developer can pull the project, make the changes citizens demand and resubmit the project to the city again.

As tough as the process is for everyone involved, its advantage is that it keeps neighbourhood development in the hands of the citizens who live there. Everyone would prefer something easier. On the ground, citizens say they should be involved earlier in the process, when a project developer is beginning to present his project to the borough.

Quebec’s provincial government has a different idea. They prefer to remove all citizen clout entirely with Bill 122. If it goes through, citizens will have no say over what happens in their neighbourhoods.

Verdun’s First Seedy Saturday Lots of Fun

Yesterday, the temperature dipped to minus 15, a real shocker after Thursdays two degrees above zero and Friday’s minus five. So imagine our surprise when tons of people began streaming into the Verdun municipal greenhouses for the borough’s first ever Seedy Saturday.

In the end, we counted 357 visitors to Seedy Saturday, though probably more came given that busy volunteers used the click counter.

What a great day! The sun and conversations with amazing people kept us toasty and comfortable all day.

Tons of conversations took place throughout the day. Typical topics revolved around practical tips to grow healthy food, ensuring food security and entrepreneurship and jobs.

Seedy Saturday asks: can you grow healthy food in the city?

Many of the tips emphasized how to take advantage of small spaces and combating wildlife. How can you keep the squirrels from damaging and eating all your crops? Use small and large caging to keep them out.

Which seeds provide the best-tasting fruits and vegetables? Heritage seeds for sure, although getting people to give up nicer-looking fruit and vegetables for better taste can be a challenge.

How do you plant them to make sure they produce? Choose the right time and the right medium for each variety.

Proper planting time

Lots of workshops took place at Seedy Saturday, but one-on-one conversations contained the best tips.

Which seeds should I plant now? Tomatoes, cucumbers and basil.Which ones go direct in the garden? Beans, carrots and peas.  When? Peas go in as soon as the ground can be worked, while beans get planted after last frost at the end of May. Kale and carrots benefit from either treatment, although they should be staggered over the summer.

There were some diverging opinions on all points, and since I had the worst growing summer ever last year, I tried to listen more than I spoke. Not sure that worked though. I talked a lot.

Food Security

Food security and using local entrepreneurship to build abundance formed the backbone of many conversations. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given that yesterday’s Seedy Saturday was organized by Grand Potager. Grand Potager is a nonprofit organization that includes many of the Verdun-based organizations who are trying to use urban agriculture to ensure that no one in Verdun goes hungry.

Verdun Farmers’ Markets

Our urban agriculture solidarity coop CAUS is a member of Grand Potager, and our main focus remains building a local economy via markets. We now have spring markets, our farmers’ markets from July until October, and our winter markets.

Our next market takes place Saturday, April 8 at the Church of the Epiphany, 4322 Rue Wellington, Verdun from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Four Generations Grow up in Weston

Granny, nanny and my mom on the porch in Weston

Granny, nanny and my mom on the porch in Weston

One of my earliest memories has me travelling by bus to the Weston library with my mother, grandmother and great grandmother. For some reason, the Carnegie Foundation in New York provided a grant to build the stunning structure in 1914 despite its Ontario location along the Humber River.[1]

I’ll always be grateful.

Recent visits to the location feel peaceful somehow, as if several generations of residence in that spot left traces in my DNA.

Our family moved to Weston sometime between the 1871[2]  and 1881[3] censuses and stayed there until the late nineteen sixties.

An Irish ancestor at last!

The 1871 census shows great granny’s mom Kezia Charlotte McMaster, who was then 12 years-old, living with her family in 130 Mono Cardwell. Her mother was a 54-year-old Irish immigrant named Ann McMaster. Other family members included 24-year-old Andrew, 20-year-old Alexander, 16-year-old James and 14-year-old Ann Eliza.

Summer wedding

Seven years later, at the age of 22, Kezia married 38-year-old John Paul Charboneau on a summer day in August. The marriage licence describes him as a Francophone Church of England man working as a cooper building barrels and utensils out of wood.

Their son Paul, my great great great uncle, came along on March 13, 1888.[4]

His sister Charlotte, my direct ancestor, was born in Orangeville seven years later.

Charlotte and Arthur

I don’t know how they met, but great grandma Charlotte married British Immigrant Arthur Johnson in Weston on February 9, 1917.[5] Before the wedding took place, they had to sign a “degrees of affinity” document to confirm that they were not blood relatives.

Like her mother, she was 22 years old at the time.

The wedding took place close to her home on Cross Street. His parents, William Johnson and Mary Young attended, as did hers. Their witnesses were Albert and Aimie Johnson who lived nearby on Fife Avenue.

Given their last names, it’s likely these witnesses were also ancestors.

Charlotte and Arthur remained in Weston from then on. Their daughter, her daughter and I all grew up in the village.

The couple only left Weston in their nineties to move in with their daughter in Midland during the last decade of their lives.

 

Sources:

[1] http://welcometoweston.ca/about-weston/history-of-weston, accessed February 22, 2017.

[2] Canada Census, 1871,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M47F-Q6P : 13 November 2014), Kezia Mc Master in household of Ann Mc Master, Mono, Cardwell, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 40, line 10; Library and Archives Canada film number C-9959, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 4,396,686.

[3] Canada Census, 1881,” database, Library and Archives Canada film number C-13249, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm Reference: RG31 – Statistics Canada, Item Number: 3601574.

[4] Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F2F8-X6G : 27 November 2014), Keziah Macmaster in entry for Paul Charbonneau, 13 Mar 1888; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, 13 Mar 1888, reference cn 901245; FHL microfilm 1,872,230.

[5] Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with ages, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:278P-XTC : 10 April 2015), Keziah Mcmaster in entry for Arthur Johnson and Charlotte Charboneau, 09 Feb 1917; citing registration , Weston, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 2,130,929.

My Yolande James cover story in the Montrealer this month!

My feature on Yolande James is the cover story in The Montrealer this month!


Just as we were going to print, Mme. James announced that she is indeed going to seek the Liberal nomination in St. Laurent, as announced by the CBC.

Here are the quotes from the story:

 

“When things are not going the way that you think that they should, that’s when your voice should be heard. It’s not a time to step away. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, it’s time to step in, whether that’s marching or whatever. Of course, you should vote. Your voice needs to be heard.”

“A lot of who I am is because of Montreal. Growing up in the community where I grew up in and being French and English at the same time. I don’t know anywhere else where that’s possible. It’s really the privilege of diversity. I understand that it is a privilege to live in a place that’s diverse in so many levels, not just in colour but in culture and language and everything. That’s a privilege to live that. You realize that when you have a chance to connect with someone who hasn’t had that privilege.”

“I remember setting up this program to help get young immigrants work experience. This was something that hadn’t existed before and I remember seeing them afterwards and hearing how much it meant to them. Those are the moments that really count.”

“What I try to do is to make issues as clear as possible so that people can make up their own minds. It’s a constant effort on my part to connect whatever is going on in Quebec City and communicate about whatever it is that affects you.”

“I’m no longer the youngest of anything. I will be 40 in November. It’s a big year. This last year was a lot about reflecting where I am and where I want to go. I like that because it forces me to do the inner work about what works and what doesn’t. In my continual work, I keep thinking that I have so much to be grateful for. When I turned 30, if I had fast-forwarded to my life now, I couldn’t have.

Yolande James Montrealer Story page 2

Want to change the world by writing? Ten Writers show you how.

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Have people improved the world by writing? Of course.

Every great movement towards freedom, responsibility, economic viability and health has begun with a thinking person who decides to share his or her ideas in compelling ways that last for generations. In the past 200 years, ideas have been more readily available via the written word shared in articles, essays, novels and speeches that inspire action.

Successful writers not only produced work that changed the world in irreparable ways in their time, but they also communicated their ideas so well that succeeding generations re-read their work to get inspired about taking action in modern situations.

In my life, I’ve been particularly interested in pursuing freedom, promoting Canada’s role in the world, strengthening communities, participating as a responsible citizen to improve democracy, expressing creativity through nonfiction, learning how environmental sustainability promotes health, equality and justice, and lessening the gap between rich and poor. So for me, ten people who improved the world by writing are: Victor Hugo, Harriet Beecher Stowe, H. G. Wells, Stephen Leacock,  Louise Beebe Wilder, Martha Gellhorn, Marshall McLuhan, E. F. Schumacher, Bill Mollison and Neil Sheehan.

A description of who these writers were, which works I find inspiring, and how each writers’ work remains current follows. Please share some of your writing heroes in the comments below.

Improving the world by protecting heritage

Victor Marie Hugo

February 26, 1802 – May 22, 1885

Victor Marie Hugo is most known for Les Miserables, his ground-breaking play about love and redemption despite poverty, prostitution, slavery and theft, but I fell in love with him after reading his 1831 novel, Notre Dame de Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris centres on non-literary characters in Paris prior to 1500. Hugo wrote the story to protect the cathedral that gives the book its name by emphasizing how many important stories are encased in gothic architecture. In one section (p182), Hugo pits writing against architecture to show the vulnerability of great buildings in a modern age. He wrote:

To destroy the written word, you need only a torch and a Turk. To demolish the constructed word, you need a social revolution or an earthquake. Barbarism swept over the Colosseum; a deluge, perhaps, over the pyramids.

In the fifteenth century everything changed.

Human intelligence discovered a way of perpetuating itself, one not only more durable and more resistant than architecture, but also simpler and easier. Architecture was dethroned. The stone letters of Orpheus gave way to the lead letters of Gutenberg.”

The book was extremely successful when first published in that a full-scale restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral began in 1845. It continued serving its purpose long after Hugo’s death too; architects behind the modern day restoration that began in 1991 also used the novel as inspiration when renovating the building.

Hugo’s speeches about ending capital punishment, freedom of the press and copyright are also thought-provoking.

Another work worth reading is Claude Gueux, a true-crime story that describes how a man became a murderer due to injustice in 1834.

An organization founded by Hugo in 1878 remains active to this day. The International Literary and Artistic Association (ALAI) holds their next annual congress in Copenhagen on May 18 and 19th, 2017. A Canadian chapter also exists, with active membership in Quebec.

Improving the world by promoting social justice

Harriet Beecher Stowe

June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896

Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as a series of articles in an anti-slavery newspaper called The National Era. The first story appeared on June 5, 1851 and ended on April 1, 1852.

Times were tense. The U.S. Congress had passed five bills known as “the Compromise” the previous autumn. These laws outlawed the slave trade but allowed individuals to remain slave-holders, required citizens to help catch fugitives, and set up appointed commissioners who determined who was free and who remained a slave. Commissioners were paid twice as much for slaves as they were for those released.

Stowe responded with a story designed to inspire people to join the abolitionist movement. She based each chapter on first-hand accounts, research, and her own efforts to aid runaways trying to get to Canada, where the British-passed Slavery Abolition Act had been in force since August 1, 1834. Among her sources were the memoirs of Reverand Josiah Henson, who used the Underground Railroad to bring his wife and four children to Ontario, Canada in 1830. The site of the community he established houses the Uncle Tom’s Historic Site.

A month before the newspaper series ended, Boston publisher John P. Jewett published the story as a two-edition book that sold 300,000 copies in the United States and a million copies in Great Britain within a year.

Stowe’s one-time home in Hartford Connecticut now houses The Harriet Beecher Stowe Centre. The centre is just finishing a $3.3 million restoration due to be completed later this spring.

Herbert George Wells

September 21, 1866 – August 13, 1946

Although Wells is known for his science fiction, it’s his non-fiction that inspires me. From his 1901 book, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought about the year 2,000, to his 1920 work entitled The Outline of History, which is still in print, to his 1933 The Shape of Things to Come, Well’s overview of history and how it repeats itself is extremely comprehensive. I admire the second work even more since learning that it was partly based on an unpublished work by Canadian Florence Deeks.

I don’t agree with his idea for a World State as argued in his 1940 book, A New World Order but the ideas encompassed in the 1940 booklet The Rights of Man and incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights eight years later are very sound.

Well’s letters and manuscripts are located in the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, which purchased them in 1954.

Stephen P. H. Butler Leacock

December 30, 1869 – March 28, 1944

Stephen Leacock is best known for humour, primarily because of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, which was published in 1912 and Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich, published two years later. That legacy remains with the annual Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, a prize that is now worth $15,000 to the winner.

Leacock also published many non-fiction works in politics and history, however, and many make for enlightened reading today.

Of these, Elements of Political Science, which came out in 1906 and then again in 1913, sold best in his lifetime.  This basic textbook outlines the classical background to political science and would have been a helpful primer when I began university. It’s one of the few volumes linking Hobbes, Aristotle, international law, economics, history and the evolution of the definition of the state together in a clear insightful way.

I have two other books Leacock wrote. One, Canada, The Foundations of its Future, was published by the House of Seagram in October 1941. Montreal, Seaport and City was published by Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc. in 1942. Both supply very traditional views of history with a fun dollop of humour. The chapter entitled American Occupation of Montreal, for example, includes a section that reads:

As the Revolution drifted into the past the march became a legend, and heroic accounts were written such as Judge Henry’s ‘Hardships and Sufferings of the Band of Heroes,’ dictated in extreme old age. Such stories tell how the men upset the food in the river, ate their mocccasins, and how a great number deserted. If so, they must have managed very badly. The venerable Canadian historian, Professor Kingsford, who wrote his voluminous pages with the detachment of a mathematician, says that Arnold’s expedition ‘through the wilderness’ was much the same as what Canadians now regard as a camping holiday. The season was just right, too late for flies, too early for winter. The route had all been marked out some years before as a blazed trail by an English military officer. There were no enemies and no casualties. They left friendly people on one side of the divide and found friendly people on the other. Kennebec and Chaudière are still there, and anyone can go and make the portage. If he upsets his canoe and eats his boots he is scarcely a hero.”

Leacock has been criticized for sexism and racism, and his work does include traces of both, but he makes for very entertaining reading nonetheless. He also took on several important issues in his time, including social justice, in which he argued for “adequate food, clothing, education and an opportunity in life” for every child, and conservative economics, in which he argued in favour of the gold standard. I can’t help but agree with him on both counts.

A free audio version of the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice is available from Librivox.

For nonfiction writers, Leacock is a prime example of how one can ensure that every work includes a very definable voice. I highly recommend him.

Improving the world through positive action

Louise Beebe Wilder

January 30, 1878 – April 20, 1938

How can a prominent journalist and author remain so personally hidden from view while her work continues to inspire gardeners around the world?

That’s the question I ask when confronted with the life of Louise Beebe Wilder, whose ten books about gardening are extremely down-to-earth and practical. She also wrote for Horticulture, House & Garden, and the New York Times, although I haven’t read any of her articles in those outlets. Her founding of the Bronxville Working Gardeners Club in 1925 and the fact she helped run it until her death is the only hint at her activities, and no photos or other personal information is available.

If you’re trying to create a specific flowering garden in, or close to, the Northeast United States, however, her advice will definitely help as long as you’re looking for precise instructions and little story or narrative of any kind.

Consider a passage in What Happens in My Garden that’s typical of her prose:

The phlox masses usually require to be broken up with plants of other forms, such as Globe thistles (echinops), eryngiums, artemesia ‘Silver King’ and A. lactiflora, lyme grass (leymuse), Veronicastrum virginicum (Veronic virginica) and V. subsessilis, sea lavender, the funkias (hostas) and the white gooseneck-flower, Lysmachia cletbroides.”

Such information works very well for individuals looking for specific plants, but isn’t in the least bit revealing about the time or place in which the garden stood, or the people who built it. Still, if you’re a gardener like me, you’ll appreciate Beebe Wilder.

Improving the world by exposing evil

Martha Ellis Gellhorn

November 8, 1908 – February 15, 1998

If you want to learn just a little about the suffering evil causes, read Martha Gellhorn’s article entitled Dachau Experimental Evil, which appeared in Collier’s Magazine on June 23, 1945.

Behind the barbed wire and the electric fence, the skeletons sat in the sun and searched themselves for lice. They have no age and no faces; and like nothing you will ever see if you are lucky. We crossed the wide crowded dusty compound between the prison barracks and went to the hospital. In the hall sat more of the skeletons and from them came the smell of disease and death. They watched us but did not move: No expression shows on a face that is only yellowish stubbly skin stretched across bone.”

Gellhorn covered the depression in the thirties, the rise of fascism in Europe and wars in Spain, Vietnam, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

She also penned several books, including one I own called Travels with Myself and Another that serves as a sort of breathless memoir of the world. The book’s title refers to Ernest Hemingway, who appears in the book as UC or unwilling companion, although I only know that via Wikepedia. He’s not at all important to the story except as a place-marker to time. In this memoir, China became a very odd place thanks to Gellhorn’s description of discussions with a man named Mr. Ma. She reduced Africa to five encounters in an unforgettable landscape, making readers join her in feeling sorry for the animals. Moscow’s complications became evident via conversations with people she didn’t like. In many ways, the book reads like a compendium of blog posts and reminds nonfiction writers how voice and content combine to make lots of complex information easily digestible.

A Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism used to exist in the United Kingdom, but it wasn’t funded in 2015 or 2016. I hope they revive it for 2017.

Improving the world by explaining patterns

Herbert Marshall McLuhan

July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980

Herbert Marshall McLuhan has become famous as the key academic who explained the Age of Information despite dying prior to the existance of the World Wide Web.

For me, his key work is Understanding Media, a book published in 1964. He makes several points about how the-then electronic technology changed not only how people think, but who they can be and how such a process will continue throughout time as more and more new technologies extend of human capacities.

On page 128, he writes:

Lighting as an extension of our powers affords the clearest-cut example of how such extensions alter our perceptions. If people are inclined to doubt whether the wheel or typography or the plane could change our habits of sense perception, their doubts end with electric lighting. In this domain, the medium is the message, and when the light is on there is a world of sense that disappears when the light is off.”

Understanding Media forecasts gamification, issues with student drop-outs and the destruction of conventional forms of the press. It remains a very worthwhile read.

McLuhan’s estate runs a webpage with an almost-daily blog post that ensures that his work remains relevant.

Ernst Friedrich Schumacher

August 19, 1911 – September 4, 1977

E. F. Schumacher lived in Britain, New York and Germany prior to World War II, but moved back to Britain from Germany before war broke out.  He then spent twenty years promoting the coal industry, thirty years as president of the soil association (an organic gardening movement) and wrote.

His most popular work was a 1973 treatise called Small is Beautiful. Subtitled “A study of economics as if people mattered,” the work argues against globalization, rampant chemical use, colonial-style development and nationalism in ways that designed for modern consumption. Consider his anti-development argument on page 163, for instance.

Anyone who has taken the trouble to look systematically at actual ‘development’ projects – instead of merely studying development plans and econometric models – knows of countless such cases: soap factories producing luxury soap by such sensitive processes that only highly refined materials can be used, which must be imported at high prices while the local raw materials are exported at low prices; food-processing plants; packing stations; motorisation, and so on – all on the rich man’s pattern. In many cases, local fruit goes to waste because the consumer allegedly demands quality standards which relate solely to eye-appeal and can be met only by fruit imported from Australia or California where the application of an immense science and a fantastic technology ensures that every apple is of the same size and without the slightest visible blemish. The examples could be multiplied without end. Poor countries slip – and are pushed – into the adoption of production methods and consumption standards which destroy the possibilities of self-reliance and self-help. The results are unintentional neocolonialism and hopelessness for the poor.”

Today, we are at the point where even developed countries striving for self-sufficiency are challenged, not by the governments of richer countries, but instead by multi-national corporations that benefit from rights that supersede government regulation.

Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison

May 4, 1928 – September 24, 2016

As a certified permaculture designer, I was sorry to read about Bill Mollison’s death last September. The principles that inspire me were developed by Mollison and David Holmgren in 1974. Their principals insist that one work with nature, observe before acting and consider how systematic functions evolve before coming up with a design for a space or a life.

My favourite work by Mollison is his 1988 Permaculture, A Designers’ Manual.  His preface begins:

To many of us who experienced the ferment of the late 1960’s, there seemed to be no positive direction forward, although almost everybody could define those aspects of the global society that they rejected, and these include military adventurism, the bomb, ruthless land exploitation, the arrogance of polluters, and a general insensitivity to human and environmental needs…Great changes are taking place. These are not as a result of any one group or teaching, but as a result of millions of people defining one or more ways in which they can conserve energy, aid local self-reliance, or provide for themselves. All of us would acknowledge our own work as modest; it is the totality of such modest work that is impressive.”

Joining in the work of Mollison feels like a sacred trust.

Cornelius Mahoney “Neil” Sheehan

Born: Oct 27, 1936

I first learned about Neil Sheehan, the reporter who received the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsburg and made sure they were published by the New York Times, from the book Without Fear or Favor, a history of the New York Times by Harrison E. Salisbury. He was the key focus of a chapter called “A Question of Trust.”

It was these characteristics of devotion to detail, bulldog tenacity, of an almost perfect nose for news coupled with that fire in the belly which for centuries kept the Irish cause aglow in which was rooted  Sheehan’s great project.”

Sheehan specializes in telling complicated stories about intrigue and politics. He is co-credited with helping expose a South Vietnamese cover-up in 1963. He also earned a Pulitzer for his book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, in 1986. His story about the Cold War, called A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, came out in 2009. Both of these books are impressive models for how one can use a single narrative to make complicated points about a specific war.

Do you know of others who improved the world by writing?

I hope that you have a chance to check out the work of each of these writers and that they will also inspire you. If you have other notable non-fiction mentors, let me know in the comments below.

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