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Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau: 1968-2000 Hardcover – Oct 13 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; First Edition edition (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676975232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676975239
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 16.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vlad Thelad TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
Canada first caught my attention when, from far away, at a young age and in the early stages of becoming the political-junkie I am, I heard of its flamboyant Prime Minister. Little did I know that decades later I would chose this country to be my own. This book is an essential building block in understanding the contemporary history of Canada. Bring on your preconceptions, - from whichever your viewpoint regarding Trudeau the man, the politician, his actions and legacy - here you will find an accurate factual assessment that, without aiming to change your opinions, contextualizes the subject in its time and space, domestically and internationally, as it narrates a compelling personal and political story. A must read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 25 2009
Format: Hardcover
John English, noted Canadian historian and biographer, has produced a very insightful and definitive second installment on the colorful and controversial political career of Pierre Trudeau, Canada's 15th prime minister. Like its predecessor, "Citizen of the World", "Just Watch Me" offers readers plenty to consider as to the man's many strengths and weaknesses. While English elaborately describes the charismatic ushering in of the Trudeau era in the late 60s, he pulls no punches in exposing Trudeau's inability to convince the Canadian public, especially Quebec, that his Federalist vision was sufficient to save the country from constitutional collapse. Trudeau, often portayed back then as the consummate leader in charge, saw himself as a strong-willed rationalist whose belief in the power of a strong central government would be enough to snap the provinces into line with the aid of a few political and economic crumbs. As he was about to learn, the provinces with Quebec leading the charge, wanted so much more than he was willing to give during these tumultuous times. English spends a lot time examining how Trudeau managed the country through a series of unfolding national and personal crises: October 1970; the Victoria Charter, a couple of major recessions; the Arab Oil Embargo; ongoing constitutional reform; and his marital problems with Margaret. At all times, in assessing these situations, English provides a great array of archival information that allows the reader to reach his or her own assessment of Trudeau's leadership qualities.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Fenn on Jan. 5 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book shows how Trudeau's dilemmas and contradictions as a public figure, which on the surface made him a somewhat mysterious and fascinating character, deeply inform the wider complexities of Canada's historical and communitarian situations internally and of Canada's place in the world.

In other words, if the reader senses at some level the complexities and dilemmas facing Canada's leaders, then at least some of the animus felt against the admittedly often controversial Pierre Elliott Trudeau can be seen to be ill informed.

This book scores highly when it comes to chronicling the blow by blow events in Trudeau's governments. It also copiously describes the at least partial disintegration of Trudeau's private life, which was sometimes as colourful as his public, political showmanship.

Professor English warms to his subject; but in a rather different way from Denis Smith's treatment of Diefenbaker, for example; where the biographer seems to relish impaling a previous colourful and sometimes bizarre Prime Minister of Canada with a detailed account of his subject's own foibles and failures. In this biography, the writer is as engaged and sympathetic as Professor Smith is cynical and distant.

Trudeau loved poetry, and in this second biographical volume the reader sees the challenges of Canada's internal and foreign policy governance through the sometimes poetic veneer of its Bohemian and often flamboyant, long term Prime Minister. But is this to say that there is less than meets the eye when one delves deeper than Trudeau's undoubted flair? I leave the question open.

(I expected more about Trudeau's years after he left office, since an entire first volume builds the picture of Trudeau's character seen through his earlier years before he became Prime Minister. 16 years in retirement might be thought to merit longer treatment than is given.)

An excellent book, certainly.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gerald L. Dore on Nov. 30 2009
Format: Hardcover
Thorough and very definitive information. Long and dry in some sections. If you are a history buff or are fascinated by Trudeau's legacy it is a must read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By iceman on June 1 2010
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this extremely well researched and well written biography of Trudeau although he was never a favourite of mine until after he had left office. Nor did I like his cabinet ministers. His National Energy Program was responsible for me having lost several thousand dollars on the TSE. He and his wife handled their marital problem in a civil manner that few other couples could ever do.
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