Wade Rowland - Canadian author biography

Wade Rowland - Canadian author

Wade Rowland

"a wise and passoniate
commentator on our times"

Bronwyn Drainie, Author and critic

"In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould and John Ralston Saul, Rowland's reasoned observations are a much-needed tonic."

"...he's a mental force field beaming in new questions and lessons on every hand."
Quill & Quire,

Praise for Ockham's Razor:

"delightful travel book-cum-philosophical exploration that will remind the reader of Robert Pirsig's eccentric 1970s classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
Bronwyn Drainie, Author and critic

"Bold and incisive, full of smarts, wit, and self-awareness, it's an erudite and entertaining inquiry into nothing less than what is in the modern, millenial world and what should be."
Quill & Quire, April 1999 - Full Review

"Ockham's Razor sticks pins in the smug assumption that our modern civilization is the pinnacle of human development. Indeed, this book makes us question the values at the very heart of contemporary thought."
Norm bolen, Vice-President of Programming, History Television

Praise for Spirit of the Web:

"...remarkable...poetic...(a) renaissance sweep of imagination...SPIRIT OF THE WEB is an engaging hybrid of popular scholarship: part archive, part science textbook, part philosophy, part polemic about the nature of authority and the control of information in all ages."
Globe and Mail review

"...thoroughly and trenchantly chronicles the vagaries of information technology ...a spirited, stimulating and sophisticated network of stories...philosophical and original."
Winnipeg Free Press

"...colourful and compelling...enlightening new history...Without hype or hyperbole, SPIRIT OF THE WEB provides its readers with an informed context with which to understand the implications of their actions in the Age of Information."
Quill & Quire, Nov. 1997

"Spirit of the Web is an excellent examination, not just of the invention of these technologies, but of their economic, social and cultural impact...fascinating...definitive
...highly recommended."

The Leader Post

Praise for Galileo's Mistake:

"...fresh and compelling."
Vancouver Sun

"Rowland's triumph is in examining Galileo's method over his facts and winning an argument that was lost more than 350 years ago. His book provides a fascinating contribution to a debate that is particularly germane today and is likely to be equally important 300 years from now."
Montreal Gazette

"Galileo's Mistake is a lofty and ambitious philosophical exploration, and Rowland's considerable gifts as a writer make the book pleasurable and captivating. Rowland skilfully weaves history, biography, science writing, and philosophical overviews into the comfortable familiarity of a travel narrative."

"Galileo's Mistake has the lazy ease of a multi-course Italian dinner, at once relaxing and enriching".
Robert Wiersema, Quill & Quire

"...a superb work...an ambitious, even heroic, interpretation of the Galileo-Church controversy. Rowland has included a wonderfully accurate, exquisitely painted presentation of the political, cultural, and historical setting in which the Galileo-Church debate finds a clearly natural location."
B. J. Hodgson, PhD, Trent University Faculty of Philosophy

Buy Galileo's Mistake online

Buy Ockham's Razor online at:
Chapters or Indigo Books

Buy Spirit of the Web online

Wade Rowland - Author Biography

Ranked among Canada's leading literary journalists, Wade Rowland has had produced more than a dozen books on subjects ranging from television journalism, organized crime and international environmental law to his current concerns, which include communications technology, the philosophy of science and the sources of human values.

Rowland was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1944 where his father was posted for wireless training in the RCAF the closing months of World War 2. He grew up in Regina, not far from the RCMP barracks where Louis Riel was hanged, and moved to Winnipeg as that city was digging out from the disastrous 1954 flood. His prairie roots run deep: grandparents on both sides were pioneering farmers in the North Battleford area of Saskatchewan. His maternal grandfather, Charles Davies, was a Progressive Member of Parliament for North Battleford; his brother Douglas was an NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North.

Rowland's life-long interests in writing and in communications technologies developed in parallel: he passed the examination which qualified him for his amateur radio operator's licence on his fifteenth birthday (the earliest permissible date) and in the same year made his first attempt at a full-length work of fiction.

Five years at the University of Manitoba diverted him until he quit half way through the semester of an Honours Economics program to accept a job with the Winnipeg Free Press. At the Free Press he quickly showed a flair for what would come to be called investigative journalism. During an investigation of a Winnipeg police department goon squad assigned to terrorize young "hippies" Rowland himself was attacked and he launched a high-profile lawsuit which led to reforms in the department. The notoriety he achieved in this episode landed him a job at the Toronto Telegram, where he became the newspaper's specialist in organized crime and environmental issues.

It was during his first trip to Europe (12,000 miles, London to Crete and back by Lambretta scooter) that the Toronto Telegram ceased publication, and on his return Rowland launched the freelance writing career that he has pursued intermittently for nearly thirty years. His first books (The Pollution Guide, The Plot to Save the World, Fuelling Canada's Future) dealt with environmental issues and are recognized as having been instrumental in raising public awareness of the then-novel subject of environmentalism.

In the mid-1970's Rowland was recruited by CTV television news, where he worked initially as assignment editor and later as lineup editor for the network's flagship evening newscast. The association with CTV would continue for fifteen years, during which time he continued writing books ( Making Connections, Nobody Calls Me Mr. Kirck, Polar Passage). He was eventually made Director of Policy and Development at CTV, in which position he wrote and produced the network's policy and style manuals, and managed strategic planning for the news division.

It was at CTV that Rowland met his wife-to-be Christine Collie, who was art director for television news. They were married in 1978 and have two children, Hilary and Simon. Since their marriage, Christine has played an active role in Rowland's writing career, providing professional photography for his travel writing, and design consultation on his books. After a brief attempt at living aboard an ocean-going sailboat, they cleared land and built a house on a wooded property in Hope Township near the historic town of Port Hope, Ontario, where Christine operates an internationally-known Web site development firm, Blue Cat Design.

Rowland has also worked for Canada's public television network, CBC, where he has been Senior Producer of the consumer affairs program Marketplace, and a senior executive in the network's television news division, charged with strategic planning.

In 1996 Rowland returned to writing full time with Spirit of the Web: The Age of Information from Telegraph to Internet, an ambitious project to chronicle the development of communications technologies and their impact on society. The Globe and Mail newspaper called it "remarkable" and "required reading" and credited Rowland with "a renaissance sweep of imagination".

In the course of researching Spirit of the Web, Rowland became involved with the McLuhan Program on Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto and would later edit and write the introduction to program director Derrick De Kerckhove's book, Connected Intelligence.

The longstanding interest in the history and philosophy of technology which saw fruition in Spirit of the Web, combined with his experience as an executive in large corporations (CTV and CBC) led Rowland to further explore the relationship of humans and human values to technology in what would become the ground-breaking travel/philosophy book Ockham's Razor, published in 1999.

Author and critic Bronwyn Drainie said of Ockham's Razor: "A Canadian family piles into a rental car in France and goes off in search of great cuisine, inspiring architecture and the meaning of life. Amazingly, they find all three in this delightful travel book-cum-philosophical exploration that will remind the reader of Robert Pirsig's eccentric 1970s classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

Contributing Editor Stephen Smith said in Quill and Quire: "It's a book soaring with ideas and arguments, but it's grounded in the comings and goings, sightings and seeings of a family vacation...Bold and incisive, full of smarts, wit, and self-awareness, it's an erudite and entertaining inquiry into nothing less than what is in the modern, millennial world and what should be."

Rowland's latest book is entitled Galileo's Mistake: The Archaeology of a Myth (Thomas Allen Publishers, October, 2001). In his new book, Rowland examines Galileo's confrontation with the Church of Rome from the perspective of late-twentieth-century scientific and philosophical insights into the nature of reality, in a narrative which includes stories of journeying through Tuscany and life in Rome.

Rowland's current projects include PhD studies in the faculty of Communication and Culture at York University (Toronto) and a new book tentatively entitled Darwin Meets Socrates (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2003). In his new book, Rowland will extend his examination of the relationship between moral and scientific knowledge into the 19th and 20th centuries, including social Darwinism, the social sciences and the rise of the corporation. He is current holder of the Maclean-Hunter Chair of Ethics in Communication at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Listen to author interviews online.

To arrange author interviews or author readings, contact via e-mailor phone 905-753-2405.

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