Politics was always Brian Mulroney’s real love. As an undergraduate in Nova Scotia he amazed his friends by getting Prime Minister Diefenbaker on the phone, and he rose fast in the Tory ranks in Quebec as a young Montreal lawyer. He tried for the leadership of the party in 1976, losing to Joe Clark, then returned to win a rematch in 1983. The next year, he ran the most successful election campaign in Canadian history, winning 211 seats, and taking office in September 1984.
His first term in office was a stormy one, marked by the launch of the Meech Lake Accord and the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. In 1988, however, he was re-elected after a rollercoaster campaign, and his second term in office was just as controversial, featuring the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords — still a source of bitter regret for him, as opportunities missed.
This book falls into two main sections: first, his rise out of a working-class family in Baie-Comeau. Second, his immersion into the world of Ottawa politics, in opposition and then in power.
The years in power are dealt with in fascinating detail, and we receive his candid accounts of backstage dealings with Trudeau, Clark, and other Canadian leaders and on the international scene with Reagan, Thatcher, Mitterrand, Kohl, Gorbachev, Mandela, Clinton, and many more. This big book has a huge cast of major players.
Brian Mulroney is determined to make this the best prime minister’s memoirs this country has ever seen, and a full-time researcher has been helping him for three years. This account of his career is colourful and forthright, and a number of opponents will be sorry that they caught his attention.
The manuscript is full of personal touches and reflects the fact that he wrote it by hand, reading it aloud for rhythm and impact. Studded with entries from his private journal, this book — by a son, brother, husband, and father — is deeply personal, and includes some surprisingly frank admissions.
The book establishes the scale of his achievements, and reveals him as a man of great charm. Memoirs will allow that little-known Brian Mulroney to engage directly with the reader. This book is full of surprises, as we fall under the spell of a great storyteller.
From the Hardcover edition.
- McClelland & Stewart, July 2011
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