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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not disappoint
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...
Published 13 months ago by Dennis

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many ups, but also has many downs...
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...
Published on Dec 31 2006 by Mike514


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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 (Montreal, Qc, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not disappoint, June 13 2013
This review is from: Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper's New Conservatism (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Canadian Politics book of 2006, May 22 2007
By 
Stewart Kiff (Toronto, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
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Maclean's Magazine columnist Paul Wells ably demonstrates why he merits his status as one of the leading scribes in Canadian political writing. His stories are accessible and his prose is light, though at times the collegial tone feels a bit forced. Overall he has written a book that is a very easy read both for the dilettante and the professional. Yet, his book packs real weight. Right Side Up is full of information you will find nowhere else about Paul Martin's fall and Stephen Harper's ascension.

Wells begins his book immediately after the narrow win of the Liberals in the 2004 federal election against the new Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper. Though the Liberals maintained power, they lost seats - yet Martin treated the election as a victory and did virtually nothing to change or improve his team or their message for the next election. That was because from his perspective, Martin and his team had been building for this moment since his 1990 leadership loss to Jean Chrétien. Why should anything change? It was this inertia that set Martin and the Liberals up for their mediocre 2006 election results and Martin's subsequent resignation from politics.

Those who remember the Federal election of 2004 will remember that the election was in fact a very near thing for the Liberals in spite of their eventual victory. Three weeks before the election, Harper's new Conservative Party was ahead in the polls but seemingly ran out of script. This loss of momentum allowed the Liberals to run a very effective scare campaign that gave them a surge in the last weeks of the campaign, largely by convincing soft NDP voters to vote Liberal because the thought of a Stephen Harper victory was worse than the thought of continued Liberal government.

Wells contrasts Martin's blithe smugness following his victory with the story of Stephen Harper. Harper could have easily accepted the modest gains of 2004 as a success. After all, Harper had increased his party's seats, unified the country's Conservatives, and led in the polls up until the final weeks.

Instead, Harper treated the campaign like a terrible loss. He organized a series of ruthless strategy sessions in which everything about the campaign, including his own performance, was fair game for criticism. There, with the help of his inner circle of political übernerds like Tom Flannigan and Patrick Muttart, Harper and team deconstructed their election effort. From this analysis they prepared the working plan that would become the blueprint for victory in the 2006 election.

The results from these two approaches were that the Conservative 2006 campaign has become celebrated for its effectiveness and consistency, while the Martin campaign has been exposed for its disorganization and lack of imagination.

Elsewhere in the book Wells adds some interesting what-if scenarios - which only go to show how fragile and luck-driven political success can be. He documents the point in the campaign where all the Conservative television ads - including many nasty and negative ads that were never aired but where nonetheless prepared - were sent by accident to the Sun newspapers. Through good fortune, the Sun reporters were not able to properly open their DVD, saving the Conservatives from a terrible gaffe that may have been fatal to their election hopes. Through good fate, and little else, the Conservatives were able to retrieve their ads, and continue on to electoral success.

Those of you enjoyed the Maclean's post mortem on the last election will be interested to know that this book grew out of the writing that Wells contributed to that piece. Right Side Up is a great piece of political writing and in-depth reportage that is seldom seen. I think it's the best Canadian political book of 2006, and I can't recommend it enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Right Side Up, April 25 2009
By 
Pearl Roy (Hawkesbury, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
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I haven't completed the book as of yet, but I am really getting a clear picture on how the Conservatives came into power (much deservingly so)and some insight into the other parties also.
Another excellent book is "Stephen Harper And the Future of Canada" written by William Johnson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Right Side Two Thumbs Up, Nov. 18 2006
By 
Emmett Macfarlane (Kingston, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars I hope Paul Wells writes more books, and I intend to buy them., Nov. 11 2006
By 
James S. Oliver "J. S. Oliver" (Medicine Hat, AB.) - See all my reviews
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Right side up..bitter for the left, Nov. 4 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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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Magazine article in a larger font, Oct. 27 2006
Paul Well's excellent piece in Macleans magazine on the inside story of the 2006 election had everyone waiting for the book.

But, now that it's here, I wish he'd just stopped after the magazine article.

The book is riddled with factual errors, major and minor. Occasionally, he contradicts himself within a chapter or two. Did Ian Brodie become the Executive Director of the Conservative Party in March 2003 as Wells says at one point, or after the Harper Leadership as is implied elsewhere? Did Tom Flanagan really just step down as Chief of Staff when the Harper Leadership started?

These sorts of things are minor details, but critical to the story Wells is trying to tell. You wonder if his rush to publish meant there wasn't time for a proof-read.

The scope of this bok has big expectations but fails to meet them.
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very interesting..., Nov. 2 2006
Mr. Wells seems long on wind, short on substance... He seems to take a personal dislike for conservatives and wraps former Prime Minister Martin into it - - if I wanted to read bias, I would read Macleans...
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Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper's New Conservatism
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