10th annual Donner Prize shorlist announced



    $35,000 Winner to be chosen from shortlist of five

    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Street crime. Gun culture. Energy and the
environment. The House of Commons. Canada's war in Afghanistan. All hot button
issues, as well as the subjects for the five finalists competing for the
2007/2008 Donner Prize, the award for best book on Canadian public policy,
announced today by Allan Gotlieb, Chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation.
"This year will be remarkable for a number of reasons," Mr. Gotlieb said. "We
are celebrating the Donner Prize's 10th anniversary, and we have five
exceptional shortlisted books that grapple with some of Canada's most pressing
public policy challenges. Donner-winning books of the past have sparked and
informed discussion about issues that are important to Canadians. The Donner
Canadian Foundation is pleased to support this Prize and, through it, the best
public policy writing in the country."
    Jury Chairman Grant Reuber succinctly summarized this year's shortlist:
"As always, it is our responsibility as a jury to find great books about
issues that Canadians think about, talk about and care about. We feel this
year's Donner Prize Shortlist meets those criteria, with the writers venturing
into public policy issues that are both relevant and somewhat controversial."
    The Donner Prize was established in 1998 to recognize and reward the best
public policy thinking, writing and research in Canada. The 2007/2008
Shortlist books were chosen from an impressive field of 69 submissions. The
winner of this year's Donner Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony at
The Carlu in downtown Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2008. The winner will
receive $35,000, with $5,000 awarded to the other finalists.

    The 2007/2008 Donner Prize Finalists are:
    -----------------------------------------
    Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to
    50 Cent by Rodrigo Bascunan and Christian Pearce (Random House Canada)

    Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs
    by Michael C. Chettleburgh (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.)

    Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy
    by Robert L. Evans (Cambridge University Press)

    The People's House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention
    by David E. Smith (University of Toronto Press)

    The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar
    by Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang (Viking Canada)

    
                     The 2007/2008 Donner Prize Shortlist
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to
    50 Cent by Rodrigo Bascunan and Christian Pearce (Random House)

    Enter the Babylon System is a hard-hitting history of a multi-billion
dollar industry and its impact on our popular culture. From the factory floor
where firearms are manufactured to the halls of government where laws take
shape, to the offices of corporate media where decisions are made to take
financial advantage of our enduring fascination with the image of the gun,
this book explores the various forms of entertainment that bombard our senses
with the seductive allure of violence. The book is an eye-opener and highly
informative, providing a rich insight into the nature of gun subculture.
    Rodrigo Bascunan is the publisher and co-owner of Pound magazine.
Although he has never been shot at, he comes from a long line of Chileans who
have. Christian Pearce is the editor and co-owner of Pound magazine. He
studies law in Vancouver.

    Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs
    by Michael C. Chettleburgh (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.)

    When 15-year-old Jane Creba was caught in the crossfire of a gang battle
in downtown Toronto in December 2005, the headlines were filled with the story
of how an "American" problem had come to Toronto. The truth is that gangs have
been around for many years, and not just in Toronto. They are a homegrown
problem infesting cities and towns across the country. Young Thugs exposes how
gangs work and what attracts thousands of young Canadians to them each year,
from Halifax to Winnipeg to Vancouver, dealing clearly and informatively with
a largely ignored issue of importance. Michael C. Chettleburgh writes in an
accessible and non-condescending style exploring a range of policy options.
    Michael C. Chettleburgh is one of Canada's foremost authorities on youth
gangs. He has developed street-gang awareness training programs for law
enforcement agencies, is a keynote speaker at many youth crime conferences,
and a frequent media commentator on criminal justice issues.

    Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy
    by Robert L. Evans (Cambridge University Press)

    Informing the important debate about climate change and energy use,
Fueling Our Future provides a concise overview of current energy demands and
supply patterns. It presents a balanced view of how our reliance on fossil
fuels can be changed over time so that we have a much more sustainable energy
system in the near future. Written in a non-technical and accessible style,
the book appeals to a wide range of readers without scientific backgrounds.
Robert L. Evans reviews policy options in a balanced, analytical style, and he
is careful to avoid the trap of assigning the problem's resolution to only
one, or a handful, of remedies.
    Robert L. Evans is the Director of the Clean Energy Research Centre at
the University of British Columbia. He is the author of over 140 publications
and holds four U.S. patents.

    The People's House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention
    by David E. Smith (University of Toronto Press)

    Through an examination of academic, judicial, political and legal
commentary, David E. Smith, one of Canada's foremost experts in the field of
political science, explores the ramifications of many of the changes currently
being proposed to Canada's political system. The People's House of Commons is
a solid study of the House and considers the competing political models and
inherent tensions and their affect on public understanding. Smith's analysis
is detailed, reminding readers of the historical foundations of Canadian
parliamentary, constitutional and electoral democracy - a must read for
political leaders, political aficionados, and members of the public interested
in the future of Canada's parliamentary system.
    David E. Smith is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political
Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and Senior Policy Fellow at the
Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy.

    The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar by Janice Gross Stein and
    Eugene Lang (Viking Canada)

    As Canadian soldiers continue to fight an insurgency unlike any they have
encountered before and the country struggles to understand its role both in
the war and within the international community's effort to aid Afghanistan,
The Unexpected War provides not only a revelatory narrative but an informed
assessment of Canada's descent into the war. Using gripping language, the book
confronts the boiling debate over the appropriate role for Canada, its
military and its foreign policy in global security measures. This is a book
that is hard to put down: clearly written, fast-paced and enormously
informative.
    Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in
the Department of Political Science and the Director of the Munk Centre for
International Studies at the University of Toronto. Eugene Lang is a public
policy consultant and writer, and served as chief of staff to two ministers of
national defense from 2002 to 2006.





For further information:

For further information: Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager, Meisner, de Groot
& Associates (Toronto), Phone: (416) 368-8253, E-mail:
sherry@mdgassociates.com, www.donnerbookprize.com


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