Few would have believed that Jean Chrétien—given all his encumbrances—would have become prime minister of Canada, let alone stay at the helm for a decade. But Chrétien defied the odds, becoming one of the most powerful figures in Canadian history.
During his ten-year reign, Chrétien beat back Quebec separatism and eliminated the deficit. He amassed dictatorial powers, manhandled his opposition, repudiated the neo-conservatives, and said no to American pressures. He triumphed in every election, but his own party pushed him out.
In Iron Man: The Defiant Reign of Jean Chrétien, the PM's unique story is consummately told by Lawrence Martin, the nation's foremost journalistic authority on Chrétien. Martin, the author of the critically acclaimed account of his rise to the top Chrétien: The Will to Win, surpasses that achievement with this incisive assessment of Chrétien's years in power. Martin was given exclusive interviews with Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, key players in the Cabinet and the PMO, and more than one hundred other officials and politicians. He weighs Chrétien's strengths and weaknesses while revealing how his governance changed Canada.
The "little guy from Shawinigan" began life with disadvantages that would have given many an inferiority complex, Martin states, and even as prime minister he still faced legions of naysayers who claimed he was too unsophisticated to lead the country. Chrétien's mission was to prove them wrong and show that the values of average Canadians were as worthy as those from society's upper strata. It was all about the masses versus the classes. In his own words, Jean Chrétien was the Iron Man. He was not about to rest until his side had triumphed.
Thorough, engrossing, and sweeping in scope, Iron Man is a political page-turner.