50 Canadians Who Changed The World Hardcover – Oct 15 2013
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From the Publisher
Q: You did a lot of traveling in the name of research for this book, is there any place that you found particularly inspiring to write from?
A: In a way, I have been preparing all my life. I have visited every province and territory, and set up house in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Banff, Nelson, Fredericton, Halifax, and Dawson City. I have also spent a fair bit of time in the Canadian Arctic. These travels have shaped the way I see the country, and that vision informs this book. But I don’t think I can name a single place as uniquely inspiring. If I could, I probably would not dare.
Q: People like Trudeau, Roméo Dallaire and Margaret Atwood are all fantastic and obviously necessary choices for this book. How did you go about finding the lesser known contributors?
A: I wanted this book to NOT be a list. I wanted people to read it, and to wrestle with it. So in the table of contents, we don’t list names. That said, in the beginning, I did sift through countless lists of extraordinary Canadians of one kind or another. I cast my net as widely as possible, and then worked away at eliminating, often reluctantly.
Q: Every one of the Canadians you have chosen is incredibly worthy of the book title. Has anyone questioned you choices of the people you chose? What was your process when making choices for or against which Canadians to feature? Was there any instance of having to go with one over another?
A: Readers will challenge some of my choices. They will argue that some omitted individuals “should have been included.” And I look forward to that discussion. In my prologue, I write: “If you want to build an Olympic team, you don’t choose all sprinters, all swimmers, or all hockey players. You seek to achieve a balance.” That said, I did have to make some tough choices. And in the epilogue, I identify nineteen candidates who could be included in a possible sequel. I do not doubt that there are more, and that these will be brought to my attention.
Q: All the individuals in your book discovered possibilities where others saw none and leave a person feeling humbled and inspired. Are there any young, up and coming Canadians you feel are on a similar track?
A: How young is young? From where I stand, as a Boomer, and especially when we look for people making a difference internationally, the category “young” includes people in their thirties and early forties. Here we find more than half a dozen: Craig Kielburger, Sarah Burke, K’naan Warsame, Samantha Nutt, Hayley Wickenheiser, Naomi Klein, and Irshad Manji.
Q: You mention many more amazing Canadian individuals you could have added at the end of this book. Were there any that you couldn't include in the book that really left an impression on you or your views of Canada?
A: Lester B. Pearson springs to mind. He was a world figure who won a Nobel Peace Prize. As prime minister in the 1960s, he also changed Canada for the better, introducing universal health care, student loans, and the Canada Pension Plan. But he was born in 1897, three years before my cut-off date. I considered making an exception. But I think of 50 Canadians as a portrait of cutting-edge Canada. I wanted it to feel contemporary, and to highlight individuals leading us into the 21st century. So I decided against breaking my rule that to be eligible, Canadians had to be born in the 20th century.
About the Author
KEN MCGOOGAN is the best-selling author of a dozen books, among them 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, How the Scots Invented Canada, Fatal Passage and Lady Franklin’s Revenge. He has won the Pierre Berton Award for History, the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography, the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award, the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize and an American Christopher Award for “a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” Before turning mainly to books, Ken worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, and in faraway places as different as Edinburgh, Sydney, Stromness, and Hobart. www.kenmcgoogan.com
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