A book about tax history that’s a real page-turner? Give and Take is full of surprises. A Canadian millionaire who embraced the new federal income tax in 1917. A socialist hero who deplored the burden of big government. Most surprising, twentieth-century taxes have made us richer, in political engagement and more. Taxes make the power of the state obvious, and Canadians often resisted that power. But this is not simply a tale of tax rebels. Tillotson argues that Canadians also made real contributions to democracy when they taxed wisely and paid willingly.
Shirley Tillotson has taken a leading role in the writing of Canada’s new political history. Through her many books and articles, she has shown how electoral politics and social politics intersect and influence each other. Her first book, The Public at Play: Gender and the Politics of Recreation in Post-War Ontario, was recognized for its excellence in regional history. Her second book, Contributing Citizens: Modern Charitable Fundraising and the Making of the Welfare State, 1920–66, was shortlisted for national prizes in the social sciences and in Canadian history.
She is an Inglis Professor at the University of King’s College and an adjunct member of the History Department at Dalhousie University.
…this is a path-breaking work that hopefully will lead to other investigations of Canadians’ love/hate relationship with the state, a relationship where taxes generally land in the hate department.
[Tillotson] writes in a light, accessible manner … [she] is skilful in using historical analysis to explain the past through a modern lens.