Other books byThomas Flanagan
Riel and the Rebellion
When, in 1983, the first edition of Riel and the Rebellion was published, the scholarly controversy concerning Thomas Flanagan's interpretation of the Rebellion of 1885 escalated to one of national significance. One of the few books that presents a countervailing view to the traditional interpretation of the events of 1885, Riel and the Rebellion contends that the Metis were, to some extent, responsible for the alienation of their lands, and that Riel himself was a more destructive than constructive force in the history of western Canada. After over fifteen years, issues such as land claims and native rights have in fact moved beyond the level of academic debate; Flanagan's work remains timely and the additions to the book in this new edition reflect the continued currency of its content. In the second edition, the author addresses a number of issues, including the cultural mythology surrounding Riel, the recent campaign to pardon Riel (with some discussion of a theory that contends that Riel's trial was unfair), the Manitoba lands question, and new primary research conducted by Flanagan concerning Metis land claims at Laurent. Undoubtedly, this unique work will continue to spark controversy and garner attention because of its relevance to many larger contemporary political debates concerning native rights and land claims.
Game Theory and Canadian Politics
This is the first book-length application of game theory to Canadian politics. It uses a series of case studies to illustrate fundamental concepts of game theory such as two-person and n-person games; solution in mixed strategies; ordinal games; Nash equilibrium; coordination, Assurance, Chicken and Prisoner's Dilemma models; Schelling curves; coalition theory and Riker's size principle; voting rules, cycles, and the Condorcet winner; the Banzhaf power index; structure-induced equilibrium; and spatial models of political conflict. No mathematics more complex than simple algebra is required to follow the exposition. The case studies are not just contrived illustrations of abstract models but intensively researched studies of important episodes in Canadian politics. Topics include the Lubicon Lake stalemate, metrification and vaccination; the size of winning coalitions; formulas for amending the Canadian constitution; the mechanics of choosing party leaders; Parliament's failure to legislate on abortion after the Morgentaler decision; and the entry of the Reform Party into the political system. In each case, utilization of game-theory models produces new and sometimes surprising conclusions. Game theory, and the rational-choice paradigm of which it is a part, are an increasingly important addition to the conventional modes of political analysis. This book is intended to show what game theory can add to the philosophical, institutional, and behavioural approaches that have dominated previous works on Canadian politics.
Louis 'David' Riel
Prophet of the New World
Louis Riel believed that on 8 December 1875 he received a divine commission authorizing him to save the mTtis and reform the Catholic Church. He was a prophet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the mTtis were the new chosen people. A new branch of the Catholic Church would be founded in North America, with its first Holy See in Montreal, and its second in Riel's birthplace of St. Vital. When Riel expressed these views in 1876, he was committed to a lunatic asylum. After his release, he suppressed his ideas for several years, only to reveal them again to his mTtis followers during the North-West Rebellion. The Rebellion thus became as much a religious as a political movement; Riel believed himself a prophet to the end of his life, and he went to his death thinking that he, like Christ, would be resurrected on the third day. Earlier writers about Louis Riel have noted his religious beliefs but have not taken them seriously. They have usually dismissed Riel's attempt to found a new religion as the symptom of a deranged mind. Thomas Flanagan takes Riel's religion seriously and analyses it using categories developed in the literature about millenarian movements. He shows that Riel's religion, far from being simply individual madness, is typical of the nativistic and millenarian movements described by one author as the 'religions of the oppressed.' This is also a biography, tracing Riel's thinking on religious subjects from his childhood to the end of his life and paying particular attention to events in his life that influenced his thinking. This developmental approach is necessary because Riel's ideas changed frequently; he never arrived at a fixed 'system.' The research is based on primary sources throughout. Much new documentation has become available over the past thirty years and in the sixteen years since this volume was initially published. In particular, new information is presented about Riel's youth in Montreal, his time in insane asylums, his years in Montana, and the North-West Rebellion. Flanagan also re-interprets well-known documents. While this revised edition does not alter the fundamentals of his interpretation, it improves the historical backdrop against which it is presented through use of a wealth of new primary sources. Flanagan has updated his citings of Riel's manuscripts to current sources.
Year of the French
Flanagan made an astonishing debut with this landmark novel, which was named the most distinguished work of fiction in 1979 by the National Book Critics Circle. The year is 1798, when a band of determined, romantic Irishmen rise up in County Mayo against their English rulers. The French, secure in the success of their own revolution, come to the aid of the Irish.