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Trudeau Transformed: The Shaping of a Statesman 1944-1965 [Hardcover]

Max Nemni , Monique Nemni
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 17 2011 Trudeau, Son of Quebec, Father of Canada
This groundbreaking biography continues the story begun in Young Trudeau, taking Canada's legendary Prime Minister from his pro-fascist youth all the way to his entry into federal politics as a crusading Liberal democrat.

When he went to Harvard in 1944, Pierre Trudeau was twenty-five, a recent graduate of the University of Montreal Law School; true to his elite Catholic-French education, he had been till recently pro-fascist, and he disliked democracy. Years of graduate study at Harvard, then the Sorbonne, then the London School of Economics exposed him to new ideas, as did his hitchhiking travels around the world. Returned to Quebec as a new man, he engaged in educating workers and other jobs that made him a famous defender of federal democracy. He entered Parliament in 1965, within three years of rocketing, Obama-like, to the very top.

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Trudeau Transformed: The Shaping of a Statesman 1944-1965 + Young Trudeau: 1919-1944: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada
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Review

Praise for Young Trudeau: 1919-1944:
"I was extremely shocked." 
— Lysiane Gagnon, Globe and Mail

"Stunning. . . . The book offers a counterpoint to Mr. Trudeau's image as the federalist bulwark of liberal values." 
— Ingrid Peretz, Globe and Mail

"Mesmerizing fun to read. . . . The Nemnis' book is one of the truly great contributions to Canadian political history." 
— Terence Corcoran, National Post

"What a different Pierre Trudeau, a dangerous, narrow Pierre Trudeau. . . . Now we know in vivid, painful detail courtesy of the Nemnis' arresting book, that the young Pierre Trudeau was no Talbot Papineau."
— Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail

About the Author

MAX and MONIQUE NEMNI are former university professors who in the 1990s acted as editors of the famous magazine Cité Libre that was founded by intellectuals including Trudeau. When they asked their friend if they could write an "intellectual biography" of him, he agreed, throwing open all of his voluminous papers (he kept notes on everything he read). This second volume of their biography has taken five years to research and write. Although the husband and wife team are bilingual and live in Toronto, they write in French. The translation is provided by GEORGE TOMBS, a well-regarded translator based in Montreal.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a very good book. May 9 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is not very good, too much and not very engaging. Read about 100 pages and couldn't take it anymore, if you are a fan of this politician please get this book but if you are just interested in politics in general don't get this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. Aug. 17 2013
By scribe
Format:Hardcover
Just finished this book, and I found it very interesting. The Nemnis do an excellent job detailing Trudeau's evolution from the narrow Quebec nationalism and clericalism of his youth into the Trudeau we came to know later, and illustrate the strong influence that several educators had on him. The stories of his battles against the church and the Duplessis regime are fascinating. Some readers may find it a bit too detailed, but the book is a good complement to John English's biography as well as Trudeau's own writings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Intellectual Making of the Man Feb. 11 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
While I like English's "Citizen of the World" with respect to what it says about Trudeau becoming a genuine cosmopolitan throughout his life, I don't think it effectively addresses how he intellectually acquired those ideas that made him sensitive and aware to life outside his early privileged existence. That task is left to the Nemnis, a well-qualified husband-and-wife academic partnership, to research, analyse, and compile in "Trudeau Transformed". This book, as a sequel to "Young Trudeau", strives to look at how Trudeau of the 1940s suddenly became an individual who gradually acquired a well-tested body of thought and theory that would eventually help transform his homeland of Quebec from a parochial backwater into a modern democratic state. In those early days, he is viewed as a person of many conflicting views that arise from an inner struggle to find what actually works for the greater good of society: law and order, personal freedom, or both. It is through this greening process that we see Trudeau become a nimble thinker, a keen observer, an acerbic writer, and a formidable political activist. By being granted full access to the extensive Trudeau archives, the Nemnis have provided their readers with a clearer picture of who this enigmatic and often paradoxical character in Canadian history really was. A stint at Harvard exposed him to the more liberal dynamics of Keynesian economic theory that challenged his earlier safe reliance on the traditional authority of the state to lead and direct. Out of this learning experience came a Trudeau who was hungry to extend his political and social learning curve in other world cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Delhi. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN BOOK ONE Aug. 25 2010
Format:Hardcover
more complete and more dense than volume one we see the birth of cite libre the time spent by trudeau at harvard . his masters laski and mounier . his friendship with therese gouin and pelletier and more . et la greve de l amiante en 1949 and the book that he wrote about it . still a lot to say . a grand read and one of the best books of 2011 . IMO.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Detailed Dec 29 2012
By Mike B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very detailed study of Pierre Trudeau during these 21 years. The emphasis throughout is on the political developments and changes within Trudeau and of his surrounding world.

I wish to emphasize the word "detailed". John English wrote two volumes on Trudeau's life; the first volume of about five hundred pages covered 1919 thru 1968. The first two volumes of Max and Monique Nemni go up to 1965 and combined together they amount to over eight hundred pages. In some ways the books of Nemni and English are complimentary. The English biography has more on Trudeau's friendships, particularly with women. In the Nemni volumes we get a much closer picture of Quebec life with its inward political stagnation during the 1940's and 1950's.

The Nemni's write with a great deal of enthusiasm and do an excellent work on making one feel the transitions that Trudeau underwent in his political-philosophical thought processes - first at Harvard, then Paris and in London under the tutelage of Harold Laski at the London School of Economics. When Trudeau studied at Harvard amid the tumult of the final months of the Second World War he began to realize how cloistered his upbringing had been in Quebec. His thinking began to take on a more democratic perspective and moved completely away from his previous nationalist-corporatist philosophy.

The book gives us a first-hand look at the theocratic Quebec state of the era with both Duplessis and the Roman Catholic Church at the helm. They controlled the province as their own fiefdom - there was censorship, education of French Canadians was dominated by the Church, elections were rigged and Duplessis intimidated, psychologically and physically, opponents, particularly unions. Quebec had never embraced democracy like the rest of English Canada.

Trudeau during the 1950's was severely reprimanded by both the clergy and political figures for articles he wrote in "Cite Libre". His journalism lacerated the infringement of the Church on the educational system. It was heretical of him to question the role of the Church in Quebec. Trudeau attacked Quebec's insularity, which was preventing it from becoming a liberal democracy. Only in the 1960's with the death of Duplessis and the ousting of his Union Nationale party did change begin in the province.

The effects of Harvard, Paris and London transformed Trudeau's thinking to the primacy of the individual in society. The role of the state is to protect the rights of the individual from being infringed on by the wider society, from corporations, from the Church and from the state itself. The function of a democratic state is to establish laws for the protection of individual rights. Trudeau's entire life became a campaign against the concept of the nation-state - where the nationality, whether it be race, ethnicity or religion, gives primary meaning to the state. It is why he was so opposed to the separatist-sovereignty movement in Quebec which he viewed as a retrograde nationalist movement whose aim was to re-establish a state similar to that of the Duplessis years. For Trudeau nationalism in any form was antithetical to his world-view - it was an ideology that made the individual subservient to the nation - like Nazism did in Germany. In a federation, such as Canada, several nationalities should be able to flourish. The constitution was there for the individual, not the ethnic grouping. The primary founding languages of Canada, English and French, were to be entrenched in the federal constitution.

The authors attempt successfully, I feel, to remove several myths about Trudeau. From an early age Trudeau saw himself as destined to enter politics. All the courses he took in law, economics and political science in Quebec and elsewhere pointed in that direction. He was not just a dilettante or playboy as many have tried to make him out to be. He was not aimless; he was a person in motion - his thoughts constantly spinning and absorbing new ideas. With his choice of words Trudeau always had a combative personality. He was not afraid to challenge established thought, with individuals in government, religion, or the media. By doing so, he made friends and enemies, sometimes in quick succession. Quebecers found this out very early in the 1950's, English Canada would come to learn more of him in the 1960's.This book by the Nemni's captures the spirit and era of Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
4.0 out of 5 stars From theocracy to statism in the blink of an historical eye. Jan. 19 2013
By George H Bindon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book, and the first volume that preceded it, follow Trudeau's painful intellectual migration from the mixture of medieval obscurantism of pre-revolutionary France frozen in Quebec's incestuous enclave of bitter victimhood, willful ignorance and fascistic racism; to a weird, half grasped mix of vague liberalism and thoughtless socialism. Unfortunately the sympathetic authors, like Trudeau, fail to grasp the deep richness of the democratic, liberal ethos. The silly presumptions they deploy about socialism show that, like that benighted "Belle Province", the path from darkness to light is too strenuous and alien a trip to complete, and they retreat to the comfort of the pack mentality of the traitorous intellectuals Trudeau denounced, but could never really himself transcend. The book is a treasure of detail exposing the depravity of Quebec culture, and the failure of Trudeau in his endeavor to bring light where darkness prevailed.
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