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Blue Thunder: The Truth About Conservatives From Macdonald to Harper [Hardcover]

Bob Plamondon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 7 2009 1552639614 978-1552639610 1st Edition

IT`S TIME CANADIANS UNDERSTOOD THE TRUTH ABOUT THEIR CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL HISTORY.

Although Tories have held power for only fifty-seven of the 142 years since Confederation, they have given Canada some of its most fascinating and colourful leaders and prime ministers. Nonetheless, their contributions to Canada while in and out of office, good and bad, are rarely recognized let alone understood. With Conservatives back in form?and in national favour?the time is right for their remarkable and
sometimes maddening story to be brought to life for the first time in a single volume.

Blue Thunder:The Truth about Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper is an epic, page-turning work of history. But Blue Thunder is no work of shallow hagiography. It is a warts-and-all portrait that examines in compelling and revealing detail the lows as well as the highs. In covering 142 years of shame and glory, Blue Thunder reveals the best quotes, funniest stories and biggest blunders; along with the bizarre episodes, clever strategies, shocking scandals, spectacular victories and dishonorable defeats.

Moving beyond the staid and conventional portraits, Blue Thunder gives the Tory record a fair-minded hearing. Indeed, while leading the country through some of its more tumultuous times, Conservatives have initiated many of the transformative changes that define the nation today. They did much of the tough slogging by implementing necessary and often unpopular measures, frequently to their short-term political detriment.

They would do more for Canada, however, if they learned from their political blunders. Plamondon reveals what Conservatives have done right and where they have missed the mark. Along the way myths are exposed, blame is assessed, and heroes are chosen. He concludes by boldly sifting from the record what today?s Conservatives need to learn from the past to be successful in the future.


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Quill & Quire

Conservative Party insider Bob Plamondon’s new book, Blue Thunder, promises to tell “the truth” about all the leaders throughout the Tories’ various incarnations. The truth, according to Plamondon, is that party leaders who managed to win elections and hold power (sorry, Joe Clark) made for great Conservative leaders, while the rest were either not tough enough, incompetent, or died shortly after taking over as leader. Plamondon lays out a framework for determining the most successful Conservative leaders. His criteria include: “Do they offer a vision that inspires the nation?” and “Are they absolutely committed to winning?” The book would have benefited from more of an explanation about why these criteria were so important to Plamondon or why they should matter to anyone who isn’t either a die-hard Conservative or an aspiring Conservative insider. As it is, this book is unlikely to appeal to anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories, and those that do may well find that there isn’t much new here. Plamondon’s analysis and conclusions are predictable: Sir John A. Macdonald good, Kim Campbell bad. For non-Conservatives, the book will, not surprisingly, come across as a little too partisan in places. For example, in 35 pages on Brian Mulroney, there is just one dismissive reference to the Karlheinz Schreiber scandal. To his credit, however, Plamondon offers a balanced assessment of the current prime minister. Blue Thunder probably works best as a reference text of sorts for political history junkies. The workmanlike and humourless prose will definitely not reward a casual reader, or anyone who spends long stretches reading the book. Almost by default, the book’s cleverest line belongs to convicted felon Conrad Black, who writes in the introduction that former prime minister John Diefenbaker’s “strengths are indisputable but often hard to identify precisely.” The footnotes for this research-heavy, 504-page book are posted on the book’s website and are not included in the book itself. I don’t know if this is a common practice, but it is unquestionably an annoying one. It’s a little like watching a movie and instead of simply showing the credits at the end, you are invited to go to a website to find out who was in the cast. In some ways, then, Blue Thunder is similar to the Tories themselves: a few strong moments separated by long stretches of relative insignificance.

About the Author

BOB PLAMONDON, FCA, is one of Canada's leading public policy specialists. A full and part time professor at three Canadian universities over twenty years, Bob was an insider to conservative politics over the past twenty years. This included: a run for Parliament in 1988; a stint in the Tory war room in 1993; and, a leading backroom figure in the Tory 2003 leadership contest.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Thunder: Conservatives March 18 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book about Conservative Canadian prime ministers, from the start of Canada right up to this day. It helps to explain the way things happen today because of what happened in the past.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Leaders-Great Canadians...for the most part April 13 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is the best nonfiction book I have read in years. Once completed, the reader will have new found respect for most of the past Conservative leaders and, confirmation that some others were simply poor.
Every Canadian should read this book and it should be available in every school library.
Every new Canadian should read this so they have a better understanding of our domestic issues and the passionate heart that beats within each Canadian.
A Super Read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Insightful Aug. 16 2010
By Winston Stairs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Well researched, written and informative read. There were many elements of past Canadian and Conservative party history of which I was unaware (even having lived 43 of my past 53 years in this country). I feel the author achieved what he set out to do in presenting a fair, honest and balanced perspective on current and past `Tory' leadership in this country - personal leanings aside. This text is weighty enough to use as a stepping stone to more involved research and would be a valuable asset in any political studies course. It provides a much needed insight on the Canadian political landscape and conservative politics and ideology in particular. A highly recommended read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of Canada from a Conservative perspective. Sept. 10 2009
By J. Guild - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Anyone who is interested in the history of Canada,particularly it's politics,will find this both an interesting read and a valuable resource.First of all,when reading this book you have to realize it mainly deals with Conservative politicians and issues;and is definitely biased in that direction.While it necessarily has to address the Liberal and Socialist parties;the book concentrates on Conservatives.It is a long book of 504 pages but it is not nearly as"heavy" reading as one would expect. While it deals with Canada's history since 1867,a relatively short historical period of only 142 years,it has to be brief on any topic or period.
While you may not be familiar with the author,you will be surprised to see that Conrad Black wrote the Introduction.
I can't stress enough that this book is about Conservatives;so don't expect to find much in it about Liberal Politicians and issues,and only in so much as to show competing personalities and issues.Maybe someone,or even the author should write a companion book to present the"Truth about Liberals".
I read a lot of history and politics of both Canada and The United States and the history of these two countries ,while having close ties and so closely intermingled,the politics is very different.
This book shows that Quebec,even though only one quarter of Canada in population,impacts everything to a much greater extent than its weight and all in an effort of accomodation.Every issue from culture,language,politics,religion,and unity ,particularly during wartime,becomes problematic between Quebec and the rest of Canada.This difference is even greater than with the Deep South and the rest of the United States.The difference is so profound that in Canada it could be considered an "accomodation" whereas in the US a "union" is a much more applicable term.
Another great difference is that Canada never did come to terms with nationhood as did the US by Revolution and the Civil War,but instead retained its associations with Britain and other european "mother country" allegiances.
Another thing that comes through in the book is associations with the US.At times the cultural,trade, fear of domination,common cultural interests,and on an on, often become formost in the politics of both Conservatives and Liberals.While there are many who would like to see the abolishment of connections with the British Monarchy,particularly Quebec,many are pro-Monarchy;there are many who are also anti-American,while many would have no problem with a union with the US.All this flows back and forth at different times,with some leaders or others and with one political party or another.
Another great difference that comes through is that Canada is a much more Socialist country than the US.It tends to favor big government and central control.The term of "States Rights" in the US is a much greater and important concept than Provincial Rights.Canada has a Parliamentary form of government,given it by Britain,the Prime Minister is chosen by the party in power,and not elected like America's President. A Vote of Confidence in Parliament can result in a new election being called at any time,as in many european countries ,but not so in the US. As a result,because no one party has a majority of elected members,Canada is facing its 4th National Election in 5 years.
If you think politicians are numerous in the US,consider this;
With a population of 300 million ,the US has 550 (a fixed number)Members of Congress;while Canada has 308 Members of Parliament (an unfixed number that continually grows and has grown from 264 in 1980);all for a population of 35 million ,no less. Think about it!that's nearly 5 times as many on a per capita basis.Canada's Senate (appointed ,not elected,and without any venting process)has 100 members,also not a fixed number)the same number as the US for almost one-tenth the population.
This book is filled with data and other information that is intregal to the political history of Canada,and if it had a companion covering the Liberals and Socialist politicians,they would make a great texts for High Sshool History;rather than the texts I remember "History of England and Europe" and "Ancient History".
Americans ,who think they are overgoverned,would also find reading this book interesting.Be thankful that your founding principles are;

Life,Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

as opposed to Canada's

Peace,Order and Good Government

Which,by the way,came from England,to govern the Colonies.

Another thought in passing,I recently heard that the three largest employers in the world are the Chinese Army,The Indian Railways,and the British National Health System.Sorry,I can't tell you about the Canadian Health System,I've never seen the numbers,if even available. With the population of the US far exceeding Britain,be careful of what you ask for---you may be surprised at what you get.
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