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Izzy: The Passionate Life and Turbulent Times of Izzy Asper, Canada's Media Mogul Hardcover – Oct 29 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554680891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554680894
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #336,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Peter Newman is a biographer I have always loved. I grew up in Winnipeg so I know a little bit about Izzy. My strongest memories are related to his unsuccessful political career as leader of the Manitoba Liberal party. That was a tuff gig, to say the least.

I knew he was a heavy drinker. I once was on a flight from Toronto to Winnipeg with Izzy and Izzy was not feeling any pain when we finally landed, let me tell you. Of course many of us where not as well, as drinks where free in business class. in those days.

Of course, Izzy is a Canadian icon and Newman does a magnificant job here telling Izzy's story.

There is so much I identify with in Izzy especially his love of jazz, man!

He must be rolling over in his grave about now with the state of affairs Can West finds itself in these days.

I miss you Izzy very much!
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Format: Hardcover
When anyone mixes journalism, the most fractious and introspective of all professions, with the ego of business and the freedom of jazz, the result is a superb and always surprising story.

In Canada, where deference defines the national character in politics and business -- just as brashness defines American attitudes -- anyone with the ego of Izzy Asper is as rare as a humble Yank. Add Newman to this equation and the result is an insightful story about a remarkable media baron in the mold of Citizen Kane. Ho hum, so it's a biography of success? No, it's much more. Newman has an intense sense of Canadian nationalism, based on pride in what Canadians accomplish without fear, antagonism or deference to others.

Any book about Asper would be interesting; this one is superb because it adds the perpetual introspection of good journalists who criticize politicians, business leaders and quidnuncs. Newman blends personal experience with his story of Asper to illustrate and question the loyalties to objectivity versus a publisher with different goals.

For example: Antigone by Sophocles is a classic Greek play questioning loyalty to family versus the laws of society. Likewise, Newman examines divided loyalty between a publisher and an editor's conscience. In a time when the media is often criticized for much of what it does and everything it doesn't do, these elements of Asper's life are some of the most interesting reading.

A most revealing section covers the firing of Ottawa Citizen editor Russell Mills after he called on Prime Minister Jean Chretien to resign. It's an example of how two men -- in this case an editor and the newspaper owner -- with opposing viewpoints can both be absolutely right even though poles apart in their conclusions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
A gem of jazz, journalism and politics Dec 14 2008
By Theodore A. Rushton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When anyone mixes journalism, the most fractious and introspective of all professions, with the ego of business and the freedom of jazz, the result is a superb and always surprising story.

In Canada, where deference defines the national character in politics and business -- just as brashness defines American attitudes -- anyone with the ego of Izzy Asper is as rare as a humble Yank. Add Newman to this equation and the result is an insightful story about a remarkable media baron in the mold of Citizen Kane. Ho hum, so it's a biography of success? No, it's much more. Newman has an intense sense of Canadian nationalism, based on pride in what Canadians accomplish without fear, antagonism or deference to others.

Any book about Asper would be interesting; this one is superb because it adds the perpetual introspection of good journalists who criticize politicians, business leaders and quidnuncs. Newman blends personal experience with his story of Asper to illustrate and question the loyalties to objectivity versus a publisher with different goals.

For example: Antigone by Sophocles is a classic Greek play questioning loyalty to family versus the laws of society. Likewise, Newman examines divided loyalty between a publisher and an editor's conscience. In a time when the media is often criticized for much of what it does and everything it doesn't do, these elements of Asper's life are some of the most interesting reading.

A most revealing section covers the firing of Ottawa Citizen editor Russell Mills after he called on Prime Minister Jean Chretien to resign. It's an example of how two men -- in this case an editor and the newspaper owner -- with opposing viewpoints can both be absolutely right even though poles apart in their conclusions.

"Proprietors do have rights," writes Newman, citing his time as editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star. Any journalist who denies this needs to get a job flipping hamburgers and learn the "rights" of what it takes to make a good burger, let alone a good editor or publisher.

It makes this a gem for every journalist, politician and business leader who feels offended by something in the paper, and for readers who want to understand the media. Anyone who combines jazz, journalism, politics and Canadian nationalism into a paragraph, let alone a book, deserves to be read, remembered and quoted.

A good book is more than an interesting story; it is also a learning experience which gives the reader a new insight. As a former journalist who now looks after several hundred thousand discarded books, it's a pleasure to find, read and recommend books of this quality.

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