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Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper's New Conservatism [Hardcover]

Paul Wells
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2006
The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper’s New Conservatism.

Shakespeare isn’t around to write it — so we have Paul Wells!

Think of it. Two men on an opposite yet parallel trajectory. In the space of only three years, one man, a huge success as the Minister of Finance, goes from his new role as the leader of an all-powerful party with a huge majority all the way down to a retired also-ran. The other one reluctantly steps in to salvage a dying party, links it to another dying party, “unites the right,” becomes its leader, goes through trying times, and inside three years rises to become prime minister, against all odds.

It’s an amazing drama, told here in three acts. First, Paul Wells takes us through all of the events (from Martin’s assassination of Chrétien onward) that led up to the election campaign of January 2006.

The second act deals with the campaign itself, where the Harper armies conquered, with the assistance of an RCMP cavalry raid, and less-than-brilliant opposing campaigns: “We’re not allowed to make this stuff up.” Full of new, amazing inside details.

The final part answers the What now? that so many Canadians are asking about Stephen Harper’s "new conservatism." Nobody can answer that question better than Paul Wells. Witty, irreverent, opinionated, personal, and very, very funny, this book launches Wells’s career as an author.

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“Wells tells both sides of the story in his trademark style — bright, breezy, accessible, irreverent and insightful.”
Montreal Gazette

“This is a most readable book by one of the country’s most original journalists.”
Globe and Mail

“A feast for the politically inclined.”
London Free Press

“Wells is lucid, funny, revealing, opinionated and sometimes wickedly snarky.”
National Post

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born in Sarnia, Paul Wells has worked for the Montreal Gazette, and as a columnist for the National Post. He is now Maclean’s chief Ottawa correspondent, and a frequent panelist and speaker.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many ups, but also has many downs... Dec 31 2006
By Mike514
For those familiar with Paul Wells' articles and addicted to his blog (myself included), you will enjoy this book. His style of sharp, funny, and insightful comments has translated fairly well into book form. For anyone else, it can go either way...

There are down sides to this book: His section on "groupthink" reads too much like a rushed college essay and seems out of place. His interviews with Liberal leadership hopefuls are dry. I was also hoping for more discussion on Paul Martin the prime minister, and not just Paul Martin the election campaigner.

My biggest problem with this book: His trademark negative sarcasm gets a little tiresome around halfway through the book. This attitude is fine for a short blog posting or a one-page article, but it's harder to tolerate throughout an entire book.

Nonetheless, despite all the downs, Wells does a fair job at summarizing the change from a Liberal government to a Tory one.

Finally, please don't call Wells a liberal/left-winger. He treats both sides with equal scorn and praise when it's merited. This book is not unfairly biased.
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I considered the extensive magazine article in Macleans to be very informative and was delighted to hear that a book was coming out. I've always had a fascination for Canadian politics, but the past dozen years have been particularly interesting. Perhaps there isn't much of a market for books on politics in Canada, but I for one want to encourage more. Paul Wells is a splendid writer, and I believe he is unfailingly fair. I'm know he has his own take on everything, sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. But I've learnt something every time I read him, and I hope he keeps writing books.

If you are interested in Canadian politics, definitely pick up a copy of this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not disappoint June 13 2013
By Dennis
For my money, this is one of the best books I've read on Canadian politics (and I've read quite a few). I always enjoy reading Wells' columns, and I was not disappointed by this book. One reviewer took stars away because of Wells' "trademark negative sarcasm" being maintained (and becoming tiresome) throughout the entire book. This is certainly a fair point, but personally I enjoyed his barbs. His criticisms are sharp and insightful, and made this a page-turner for me. I'm anxiously awaiting the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Right Side Two Thumbs Up Nov. 18 2006
Informative, humorous and very engaging. This book provides a fantastic narrative of Canadian federal politics in the young 21st century, through the lens of two competitors: Paul Martin and Stephen Harper. Wells offers a detailed, behind-the-scenes story laced with his unique brand of insight and wit.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Right side up..bitter for the left Nov. 3 2006
I thought this was a great read. For those of you who want to share in a direct observers notes of the past few years of transition you will appreciate the insight. For those of you who wish a filtered press and muzzled commentary I understand your reviews...
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