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Memoirs Paperback – Apr 15 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; Trade pbk. ed edition (April 15 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771085877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771085871
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 798 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #576,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Will Canada ever see another leader like Pierre Elliott Trudeau? Unlikely. Trudeau was very much a product of his time and place. At the time of his rise in the ranks of the Liberal party, the country was in dire need of a leader with a vision. Too, the political machine wasn't yet so well ordered and set in its ways that there was no room for a maverick like the Montreal-born politician. Memoirs is Trudeau's quite readable account of his life from his humble beginnings in "a neighbourhood of modest means" until his retirement from the prime minister's office in 1984, with a brief chapter touching on his life after politics. Those hoping for gossipy details about bedroom dalliances with classical guitarist Liona Boyd or the party years of wife Margaret will come away disappointed. Of his marriage, Trudeau writes only, "1970 was also the year I fell in love with a beautiful girl, Margaret Sinclair. ... The romance took the press by surprise, which is how we wanted it." The divorce is also barely touched upon. Instead, Trudeau spills much ink on his triumphs, failures, and machinations while in office. Occasionally this results in some breast-beating that is almost charming in its shamelessness, especially in captions for some of the book's many photographs. In text accompanying a picture with several high-ranking Russians, he quotes Andrei Gromyko, from the Russian foreign secretary's own memoirs. "'Nevertheless, in international affairs, he [Trudeau] stood head and shoulders above statesmen of other NATO countries who are blinded by their hostility to socialism and either cannot or will not recognize the situation as it is.'" At times, such as his invoking of the War Measures Act during the October Crisis, Trudeau is understandably quite defensive. He is almost always gracious, however, and has few unkind things to say about anyone, even staunch opponents like René Lévesque. He does get in a jab at Ronald Reagan, though, who at an economic summit meeting relates a story about his days as president of Actors' Equity that has little to do with matters at hand.

Memoirs is not an exceptionally well-written piece of work, and large chunks of it might be dull to those uninterested in, say, the political manoeuvrings behind the Charter of Rights and the Charlottetown Accord. But what makes the book fascinating isn't the prose but the life revealed. World traveller, enthusiastic kayaker, cunning politician, and charismatic leader—it's no wonder "Trudeaumania" swept Canada when he first ran for office. --Shawn Conner

Review

“A highly readable and entertaining book. Vintage Trudeau indeed.”
–Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

“Pure Trudeau – witty, arrogant, intelligent and partisan…a must read for anyone interested in this country.”
Calgary Sun

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 18 2005
Format: Hardcover
I used to really like Trudeau when I was a student, and I eagerly waited for this book to arrive on the shelves. I was sorely disappointed, even for a former fan. Its all self-congratulatory chapters, and very little on details or anaylysis. We never really get an idea of what Trudeau thought - just the standard lines one would read in any newspaper. So save your money and watch the CBC television documentary for the propaganda. The CBC is good at this stuff and Trudeau is their hero.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Nixon on July 21 2002
Format: Paperback
This is as fine a memoir as one could expect from a man who kept his secret self so distant from others that one suspects he sometimes found the line difficult to cross himself. Trudeau was not only the most intelligent prime minister Canada ever had, but probably the most brilliant statesman any nation ever had. However, his mind went to places that were not always to do with the ebb & flow of politics. It is unfortunate that this memoire does not tell us more about the man's secret self. I don't mean just gossip column things, I refer to his thoughts on life, literature, & art: topics on which anyone who knew him recognized his mastery. The book is brilliant too, but I suggest that it requires some reading between the lines to catch at what Monsieur Trudeau only hints. It's his truth from the inside, after all, so he shouldn't be expected to see himself "objectively" & account for the way he was seen by others. This can be uncomfortable sometimes. For example, when he was nearly defeated in the first election after "Trudeaumania" in 1972 because he attempted to be straight, true, & honest with the Canadian public, he roared back playing the "promise'em the world" consumate politician in 1974 to a majority government. I would have wished for more third person objectivity here. Still Trudeau was a giant mind & giant will amongst mental idiots & usual politicoes during his tenure. I believe he has the right to do just what he did in this magnificent memoire: Speak from the heights & tell it as he alone saw it. Bravo! We'll not see his like again.
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By Gordon Carruth on Oct. 11 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
excellent It suited my needs perfectly
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bourrie on Aug. 17 2011
Format: Hardcover
Obviously ghost-written, the book treats the reader like a simpleton. It is an awful failure of a book. It's too bad Trudeau was too lazy to write a proper autobiography.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 27 2004
Format: Hardcover
No doubt a real memoir from Pierre Trudeau would have been greatly interesting. All he left was a sloppy collection of miscellaneous writings. Richard Gwyn's biography, "The Prince", provides a better portrait.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 10 1997
It has been said of Pierre Trudeau that he was Canada's most influential Prime Minister. After reading his Memoirs, it is fair to say that he certainly thinks so. This book was little more than Trudeau deciding to tell his readers how great he was and continues to be. Mr. Trudeau did not add any significant information to his already credible biographies that had been written, such as Trudeau and His Times Volume One and Two. It is also striking that Mr. Trudeau avoided discussion of his years of marriage with Margaret Trudeau in any great detail. When one writes memoirs, it seems reasonable to expect that more than just a review of public life would be put on display. Pierre Trudeau certainly was an interesting character in a country that has had too few interesting characters in its history. Overall, however, Memoirs failed to provide any material of substance, except perhaps those readers who wanted glossy photographs of Pierre Trudeau
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