You Can’t Say That in Canada Secondary Title

In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.

But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.

Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.

Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.

The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.

Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.

The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.


Margaret Wente has enjoyed a successful career in Canadian journalism as both a writer and editor. Since 1992 she has been a leading columnist for The Globe and Mail and has twice won the National Newspaper Award for her writing. Born in Chicago, she moved to Toronto in her teens, and holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Toronto. Margaret Wente lives in Toronto with her husband, television documentary producer, Ian McLeod. Her first book, An Accidental Canadian, was a national bestseller in 2004.

HarperCollins Canada 2009

You Can’t Say That in Canada

“In Canada, you don’t have to go out of your way to offend someone.  It just happens naturally.”  –– Margaret Wente

Margaret Wente knows what enrages Canadians the most. It’s having their most cherished beliefs attacked in the pages of The Globe and Mail.  For this sin she has been picketed outside the building, shouted down by protestors, and targeted on a Facebook site called ‘Fire Margaret Wente.’

But even when they disagree with her conclusions and fire off angry letters in response, most Globe and Mail readers still report that her column is the first thing they turn to in the newspaper. When The Economist chose the most influential newspaper columnists in twenty countries, Margaret Wente was the only Canadian journalist to make the list.

As she did so successfully in her bestselling first book,  An Accidental Canadian, Margaret Wente here weaves the story of her own life through her observations of the current scene. Wente takes us from the newsroom (where she conveys just what it’s like to have a regular newspaper column) to the mailroom (describing how people react to what she writes). In her opening chapter she recounts the biggest uproars her columns have caused –– from the one that compared Newfoundland to a deadbeat brother-in-law to another that questioned the notion that First Nations cultures were once as advanced as European societies.  Less controversial are her more personal articles, the ones that get put on fridge doors or pinned to bulletin boards. In these she tries to make sense of life as a woman, a boomer/mid-lifer dealing with husbands, kids, or aging parents. 

But You Can’t SAY That in Canada is largely comprised of new and previously unpublished material, carefully crafted into an original, engaging narrative.  As she notes in the introduction, part of the pleasure of creating this book has been revisiting issues she cares about with the wisdom of hindsight, and discovering “I don’t always agree with me either.” 

Here is Margaret Wente at her very best, bringing her trademark candour, warmth and wit to a book with sure-fire appeal for both her existing fans and new readers alike.


Each week, more than one million people make Margaret Wente’s column in the Globe and Mail their first read of the day. Even more regularly seek her out on the Internet, placing her name on Google’s Top Ten search list of Canadian Women. Robert Fulford calls her “a voice all her own, quite possibly the best newspaper columnist in the country.”

Mixed with her sharp-eyed columns on national and global affairs are her witty essays on the way we live now. Whether she is writing about marriage or menopause, hockey or home-owning, country life or urban angst, Margaret Wente makes readers feel that, finally, someone is able to articulate—candidly and with humour—the nature of everday life.

But this book is a more personal narrative in which Margaret Wente tells her own story—from her girlhood in “a wonderbread suburb of Chicago,” through her early careers and marriage, to her life today as a chronicler of Canada and Canadians.

It is a time-span that hits the highlights from the sexual revolution to the information revolution. With grace and humour, she crafts an absorbing tale that is richly textured in detail on the small pleasures and big questions of our life and times.

MARGARET WENTE has enjoyed a successful career in Canadian journalism as both writer and editor. She has been editor of Canadian Business and ROB magazines and editor of The Globe and Mail’s business section. She has been columnist for The Globe since 1992 and has twice won the National Newspaper Award for her writing. Born in Chicago, she moved to Toronto in her teens, and holds a B.A. from the university of Michigan and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto. Margaret Wente lives in Toronto with her husband.

Posted in