Books

Yves Engler is the author of twelve books, including his latest Stand on Guard for Whom?: A People’s History of the Canadian Military. All are available in bookstores and all but but one is available as an eBook on Amazon. Yves encourages readers to purchase his books at local independent retailers or to order them through Turning The Tide bookstore. Bookstore and academic orders must be placed through Black Rose Books or Fernwood Publishing.

Stand on Guard for Whom?: A People’s History of the Canadian Military – 2021

Thousands of books detail different aspects of the Canadian military and warfare. Stand on Guard For Whom? — A People’s History of the Canadian Military is the first general overview to tackle the subject from the perspective of those harmed or disenfranchised by Canadian wars, repression and military culture.

Rooted in a British force that brutally dispossessed First Nations, the Canadian Forces regularly quelled labour unrest in the decades after Confederation. Stand on Guard For Whom? also discusses wars in Sudan, South Africa, Europe, Korea, Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan and Libya, as well as Canadian gunboat diplomacy and UN deployments that ousted elected governments. The book details the military’s role in chemical and biological weapons development and nuclear weapons proliferation. It also outlines the CF’s immense ecological footprint, patriarchy, racism and anti-democratic culture.  

Far and away the largest federal government department, there are approximately 125,000 active soldiers, reservists and DND employees spread across 20,000 square kilometres of land. DND has the country’s largest PR machine and intelligence-gathering capacities. The military’s vast operations are linked to a large weapons industry as well as technology sector that’s benefited from arms procurement. Despite its substantial power, Stand on Guard For Whom? shows that militarism has always been contested.

 

House of Mirrors — Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy – 2020

Justin Trudeau presents himself as “progressive” on foreign affairs and to have brought Canada “back” after the disastrous Stephen Harper Conservative government. House of Mirrors — Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy demonstrates the opposite is true.

In his latest book Yves Engler outlines how Trudeau’s government has expanded the military while ignoring international efforts to restrict nuclear weapons proliferation. In the Western Hemisphere the Liberals have launched an unprecedented, multipronged, effort to overthrow Venezuela’s government while siding with an assortment of reactionary governments. They continued to enable Israeli violence against Palestinians, cozied up to repressive Middle East monarchies and emboldened far-right militarists in Ukraine. Flouting their climate commitments, the Trudeau government also failed to follow through on its promise to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector.

The Liberals have tried to sell their pro corporate/empire policies with progressive slogans. As they violated international law and spurned efforts to overcome pressing global issues, the Liberals crowed about the “international rules-based order”. Notwithstanding the rhetoric, the House of Mirrors shows that Trudeau largely continued Harper’s foreign policy.

 

Left, Right — Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada – 2018
Left, Right details the Canadian Left’s promotion of colonial policies and nationalist myths. Yves Engler’s latest book outlines the NDP’s and labour unions’ role in confusing Canadians; from Korea to Libya, Canada’s major left-wing political party has backed unjust wars; Canadian unions supported the creation of NATO, the Korean War, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the coup in Haiti. Left, Right also shows how prominent Left commentators concede a great deal to the dominant ideology. Whether it’s Linda McQuaig turning Lester Pearson into an anti-US peacenik, Stephen Lewis praising Canada’s role in Africa, or others mindlessly demanding more so-called peacekeeping, Left intellectuals regularly undermine the building of a just foreign policy. Left nationalist ideology, both Canadian and Quebecois, has warped the foreign policy discussion; viewing their country as a semi-colony struggling for its independence has blinded progressives to a long history of supporting empire and advancing corporate interests abroad. Even many victims of Canadian colonialism among indigenous communities have succumbed to the siren song of supporting imperialism. Finally, Left, Right suggests some ways to get the Left working for an ecologically sound, peace-promoting, non-exploitative foreign policy that does no harm and treats others the way we wish to be treated.

 

A Propaganda System — How Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation – 2016Propaganda_cover_v8
A Propaganda System reveals why most Canadians believe their country is a force for good in the world, despite a long history of supporting empire, racism and exploitation. The book details the vast sums Global Affairs Canada, Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence spend articulating a one-sided version of Canada’s foreign policy. With the largest PR machine in the country, the Canadian Forces promotes its worldview through a history department, university, journals, war commemorations, think tanks, academic programs and hundreds of public relations officers. A Propaganda System traces the long history of government information control during war, including formal censorship, as well as extreme media bias on topics ranging from Haiti to Palestine, investment agreements to the mining industry. The book also details the corporate elite’s funding for university programs and think tanks. Written for ordinary Canadians interested in the structures impeding understanding of this country’s role in the world, the book should be of interest to journalists curious about the institutions seeking to “spin” them, development workers dependent on government funds and academics interested in the foreign-policy establishment’s influence on campus.

 

Canada In Africa — 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation – 2015

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Canada in Africa documents Canadian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, the “scramble for Africa” and European colonialism. The book reveals Ottawa’s opposition to anticolonial struggles, its support for apartheid South Africa and Idi Amin’s coup, and its role in ousting independence leaders Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah. Based on an exhaustive look at the public record as well as on-the-ground research, Canada in Africa shows how the federal government pressed African countries to follow neoliberal economic prescriptions and sheds light on Canada’s part in the violence that has engulfed Somalia, Rwanda and the Congo, as well as how Canada’s indifference to climate change means a death sentence to ever-growing numbers of Africans.

The Ugly Canadian — Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy— 2012

Ugly Canadian coverStephen Harper’s foreign policy documents the sordid story of the Canadian government’s sabotage of international environmental efforts, a government totally committed to tar sands producers and a mining industry widely criticized for abuses. Furthermore, this sweeping critique details Harper’s opposition to the “Arab Spring” democracy movement and his backing of repressive Middle East monarchies, as well as his support for a military coup in Honduras and indifference to suffering of Haitians following the earthquake that devastated their country.

Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt— 2012

Lester Pearson is one of Canada’s most important political figures. A Nobel Peace laureate, he is considered a great peacekeeper and ‘honest broker.’ But in this critical examination of his work, Pearson is exposed as an ardent cold warrior who backed colonialism and apartheid in Africa, Zionism, coups in Guatemala, Iran and Brazil and the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic. A beneficiary of U.S. intervention in Canadian political affairs, he also provided important support to the U.S. in Vietnam and pushed to send troops to the American war in Korea. Written in the form of a submission to an imagined “Truth and Reconciliation” commission about Canada’s foreign policy past Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt challenges one of the most important Canadian foreign policy myths.

 

Stop Signs —Cars and Capitalism
on the Road to Economic,
Social and Ecological Decay— 2011 Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay

In North America, human beings have become enthralled by the automobile: A quarter of our working lives are spent paying for them; communities fight each other for the right to build more of them; our cities have been torn down, remade and planned with their needs as the overriding concern; wars are fought to keep their fuel tanks filled; songs are written to praise them; cathedrals are built to worship them. In Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay, authors Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi argue that the automobile’s ascendance is inextricably linked to capitalism and involved corporate malfeasance, political intrigue, backroom payoffs, media manipulation, racism, academic corruption, third world coups, secret armies, environmental destruction and war. When we challenge the domination of cars, we also challenge capitalism. An anti-car, road-trip story, Stop Signs is a unique must-read for all those who wish to escape the clutches of auto insanity.

Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid — 2010

This book is the first critical primer about Canada’s ties to Israel. It is a devastating account of Canadian complicity in 20th and 21st century colonialism, dispossession and war crimes. The book documents the history of Canadian Christian Zionism, Lester Pearson’s important role in the United Nations negotiations to create a Jewish state on Palestinian land, the millions of dollars in tax-deductible donations used to expand Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service ties to Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (Mossad).

 

Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy — 2009Playing Left Wing

Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction in the Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards, this book could change how you see Canada.  Most of us believe this country’s primary role has been as peacekeeper or honest broker in difficult-to-solve disputes. But, contrary to the mythology of Canada as a force for good in the world, The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy sheds light on many dark corners: from troops that joined the British in Sudan in 1885 to gunboat diplomacy in the Caribbean and aspirations of Central American empire, to participation in the U.N. mission that killed Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, to important support for apartheid South Africa, Zionism and the U.S. war in Vietnam, to helping overthrow Salvador Allende and supporting the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, to Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority
(With Anthony Fenton) — 2005

While western leaders make speeches about building democracy, their actions speak louder than words. Based upon documents gathered using Access to Information requests, human rights investigations and in-country interviews, Canada in Haiti tells how Canada, the USA and France undermined the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government. In a country already the poorest in the western hemisphere, this has led to thousands of deaths, unimaginable suffering and further impoverishment. Canada in Haiti is a cry to the citizens of rich countries to understand what is being done in our name to the descendants of the world’s only successful slave rebellion.

Playing Left Wing: From Rink Rat to Student Radical — 2005

What makes a student radical? Can students in the 21st century play a part in changing the world? What were those troublemakers thinking when they blocked former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking at Concordia University in Montreal? Playing Left Wing answers these and other questions by telling the story of how a former junior hockey player became media spokesperson for the “most radical” university students in Canada. An entertaining read, Playing Left Wing is also an informative inside look at the thinking, motivation and politics of the latest generation of student activists.

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