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“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“Through historical documents, Gwyn gives great insight into this complicated character and his turbulent life… John A comes alive in these pages on many levels, including his most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 Jury
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
I need this volume to do some research that I am doing on Sir John A., and this is exactly what I needed. aejPublished 13 months ago by Allan E. Jones
An excellent book that brings John A to life, warts and brilliance combined. We need more books to celebrate and illuminate our Canadian history. Read morePublished 16 months ago by discriminating consumer
This biography of John A, Macdonald, our first Canadian prime minister is truly inspiring. Every Canadian ought to read it. Sir John A. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gerrit Bilkes
Found this a most enlightening book as an immigrant with little to no knowledge of Canadian History. I look forward to reading Volume 2. Read morePublished 21 months ago by McTwachle
Good picture of the man but sometimes difficult to fit the time and events into this picture. Still, very much worth the price.Published on July 29 2013 by Gordon
I highly recommend getting the 2-part biography for all who want to know more about this Scotsman and how he shaped our country. Very well written and very interesting.Published on March 24 2013 by Cattieluver
Richard Gwyn has done a great service to Canadians by providing a new biography of John A Macdonald for the general public. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2013 by Rodge
If you like Canadian history and like reading books, you will like this book. Simple to understand and very helpful to get an understanding of who John A. really is.Published on Oct. 17 2012 by jwatt
This is a great up-to-date biography of John A Macdonald. It follows Macdonald from when his family first moved to Upper Canada to when Canada achieved Confederation in 1867. Read morePublished on June 26 2012 by Foxtrot