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Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau: 1968-2000 Hardcover – Oct 13 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; First Edition edition (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676975232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676975239
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.7 x 23.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description



"This book now becomes the standard biography of Trudeau for the sheer scope and thoroughness of the research on all major aspects of Trudeau’s life. English is even-handed, rarely praising, blaming or psychologizing, but he explains and invokes all the different views on the events recounted. And it’s a good read."
— The Globe and Mail

"English’s biography of Trudeau . . . will surely stand for some time as the definitive account of the oft-told tale. . . . Other books may yet be written about Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but it’s hard to imagine another that would beat English’s version for insight and overview of the man and his time."
The Gazette

"John English’s terrific new biography of the former prime minister, Just Watch Me, is about as complete an account of Mr. Trudeau’s love life as we are likely to get."
Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

"[Trudeau] was a comet across our heavens, and English does him good justice."
Winnipeg Free Press

"Shows Trudeau’s private and public sides intersecting poignantly. . . . A prime example of an intensely self-aware man’s quest for fulfillment in every compartment of his complex life."

"However many Trudeau books there may be, English reminds us that the man endures and eludes."
The Daily News (Nanaimo)

"Every life is a whole, and English treats Trudeau’s prime ministerial career as a whole to an extent none of his predecessors did."
Paul Wells, Literary Review of Canada

About the Author

John English is Professor of History, University of Waterloo. Citizen of the World was a multi-award winner and a Globe and Mail Best Book.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Canada first caught my attention when, from far away, at a young age and in the early stages of becoming the political-junkie I am, I heard of its flamboyant Prime Minister. Little did I know that decades later I would chose this country to be my own. This book is an essential building block in understanding the contemporary history of Canada. Bring on your preconceptions, - from whichever your viewpoint regarding Trudeau the man, the politician, his actions and legacy - here you will find an accurate factual assessment that, without aiming to change your opinions, contextualizes the subject in its time and space, domestically and internationally, as it narrates a compelling personal and political story. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover
John English, noted Canadian historian and biographer, has produced a very insightful and definitive second installment on the colorful and controversial political career of Pierre Trudeau, Canada's 15th prime minister. Like its predecessor, "Citizen of the World", "Just Watch Me" offers readers plenty to consider as to the man's many strengths and weaknesses. While English elaborately describes the charismatic ushering in of the Trudeau era in the late 60s, he pulls no punches in exposing Trudeau's inability to convince the Canadian public, especially Quebec, that his Federalist vision was sufficient to save the country from constitutional collapse. Trudeau, often portayed back then as the consummate leader in charge, saw himself as a strong-willed rationalist whose belief in the power of a strong central government would be enough to snap the provinces into line with the aid of a few political and economic crumbs. As he was about to learn, the provinces with Quebec leading the charge, wanted so much more than he was willing to give during these tumultuous times. English spends a lot time examining how Trudeau managed the country through a series of unfolding national and personal crises: October 1970; the Victoria Charter, a couple of major recessions; the Arab Oil Embargo; ongoing constitutional reform; and his marital problems with Margaret. At all times, in assessing these situations, English provides a great array of archival information that allows the reader to reach his or her own assessment of Trudeau's leadership qualities.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This book shows how Trudeau's dilemmas and contradictions as a public figure, which on the surface made him a somewhat mysterious and fascinating character, deeply inform the wider complexities of Canada's historical and communitarian situations internally and of Canada's place in the world.

In other words, if the reader senses at some level the complexities and dilemmas facing Canada's leaders, then at least some of the animus felt against the admittedly often controversial Pierre Elliott Trudeau can be seen to be ill informed.

This book scores highly when it comes to chronicling the blow by blow events in Trudeau's governments. It also copiously describes the at least partial disintegration of Trudeau's private life, which was sometimes as colourful as his public, political showmanship.

Professor English warms to his subject; but in a rather different way from Denis Smith's treatment of Diefenbaker, for example; where the biographer seems to relish impaling a previous colourful and sometimes bizarre Prime Minister of Canada with a detailed account of his subject's own foibles and failures. In this biography, the writer is as engaged and sympathetic as Professor Smith is cynical and distant.

Trudeau loved poetry, and in this second biographical volume the reader sees the challenges of Canada's internal and foreign policy governance through the sometimes poetic veneer of its Bohemian and often flamboyant, long term Prime Minister. But is this to say that there is less than meets the eye when one delves deeper than Trudeau's undoubted flair? I leave the question open.

(I expected more about Trudeau's years after he left office, since an entire first volume builds the picture of Trudeau's character seen through his earlier years before he became Prime Minister. 16 years in retirement might be thought to merit longer treatment than is given.)

An excellent book, certainly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So full of verbiage that it was hard to follow, I gave up on it 1/3 or the way through. My husband, who loves Trudeau, couldn't get past the second chapter.
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