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The hour is late and the clock is ticking for rural and small town communities in Nova Scotia. School closures capture the news headlines, but they signal a more profound development: the gradual, yet relentless, decline in rural populations and a demographic shift that threatens to extinguish what remains of rural communities in Nova Scotia. In The Last Stand, Paul W. Bennett responds to the looming crisis with a new, more accountable, efficient and sustainable model of public schooling. It is time to revitalize rural Nova Scotian communities by reversing the dominant trend toward centralized, bureaucratic school systems. As Bennett argues, schools must be transformed, once again, into vital community hubs. Suspending the divisive school review process will accomplish little, as Bennett demonstrates, unless it leads to building smaller community schools, supporting innovative local enterprises, modelling sustainable living practices and providing community-based education on a more human scale.