“Judging by the first half, his two-volume biography will no doubt be ranked with Donald Creighton’s two-book landmark from the 1950s…Gwyn provides a more dispassionate analysis of this complicated man and his times…A welcome addition to the national library.” -The National Post
“Gwyn has performed a service to 21st-century Canadians by recreating a man of the 19th so well…This is a book that [Donald] Creighton, and perhaps even Sir John A. himself, could pick up and learn something.” -Winnipeg Free Press
“A vivid, multi-dimensional portrait of a fascinating character and his times…Gwyn, his trademark wry wit enlivening his text, brings a lifetime of political punditry to bear on his subject, surely one of the most intriguing political figures Canada even produced” -Montreal Gazette
“Gwyn’s book is also a hymn of praise to what he sees as a miraculous country, miraculous in its peacefulness, its diversity, its tolerance and its determined un-Americanness…Those positive national qualities can be traced back unmistakably to its first leader. This is the personal and contemporary insight that distinguishes this biography.”- Toronto Star
“Through historical documents, Gwyn gives great insight into this complicated character and his turbulent life… John A comes alive in these pages on many levels, including his most fallible.”HaH - Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“In a lively but thorough biography of John A. Macdonald up to the day of Confederation in 1867, Richard Gwyn brings to life the young Scottish-born lawyer who found himself unexpectedly entering politics in Kingston in 1844. Gwyn writes from a twenty-first century perspective while painting for his readers a vivid image of nineteenth century Canada: its society, customs, characters and politics. Gwyn helps us understand Macdonald’s genius and vision, which would shape the nation that grew to the north of the United States."
- Charles Taylor Prize JuryFrom the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Richard Gwyn is an award-winning author and political columnist. He is widely known as a commentator for the Toronto Star
on national and international affairs and as a frequent contributor to television and radio programs. His books include two highly praised biographies, The Unlikely Revolutionary
on Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood, and The Northern Magus
on Pierre Elliot Trudeau. His most recent book, Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Canadian
, was selected by The Literary Review of Canada
as one of the 100 most important books published in Canada. Volume two of Gwyn’s biography of Macdonald will be published in 2009.From the Hardcover edition.