- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 25 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670065226
- ISBN-13: 978-0670065226
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 544 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #225,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Oliver's Twist: The Life And Times Of An Unapologetic Newshound Hardcover – Oct 25 2011
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“Full of wit, an astute insider’s insights, and candour.” - Toronto Star
“An exhilarating inside look ride through decades of Canadian politics and history…. His anecdotes are amazing…. Oliver’s Twist is superb stuff, proving again that a word is worth 1,000 TV clips.” - Winnipeg Free Press
“A storehouse of insights, anecdotes, and eye-popping close-ups that makes for a strappingly good book.” - Lawrence Martin, author of Harperland
“Having covered and worked closely with Canadian leaders over the past half-century, [Oliver] is able to give a candid and insightful assessment of leading political figures…. This book details the Craig Oliver we all know; someone not afraid to take on tough issues, but who does so in the most genuinely respectful fashion—a true gentleman and a great Canadian. Oliver’s Twist is an enjoyable read, one I highly recommend.” - John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs), The Globe and Mail
“A book at once human and sharp…. It is Ottawa that stars here, and Oliver brims with insight into its’ great figures…. [Oliver] injects emotion into his taut, lively prose. He also generates laughs.” - Maclean’s
“Every young reporter should be inspired by Craig Oliver's book, Oliver’s Twist.” - Jim Munson (Liberal senator), The Montreal Gazette
“A fascinating chronicle of a life that moved from the hard streets of 1940s Prince Rupert to a place near the top of the CTV News totem pole. Oliver … pulls few punches.” - Canadian Press
About the Author
CRAIG OLIVER is currently Chief Parliamentary Correspondent for CTV and co-host of its weekly political affairs program Question Period. He has received the highest awards granted by his profession: the prestigious Charles Lynch Award; the Canadian Association of Broadcasters 2001 Gold Ribbon for Broadcast Excellence; the President’s Award for excellence in Canadian broadcast journalism from the Radio and Television News Directors Association; the Broadcast Hall of Fame award from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters; and two Gemini Awards. Since 1999, Oliver has been legally blind.
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Much of the book concerns the news stories and the newsmakers he covered and/or came to know personally. What I found most surprising was how many politicians and those involved in politics that he befriended and spent much time with. Although Mr. Oliver says it to be inevitable and common, it seems unnatural and improper, and he admits that he had difficulties at times with such arrangements.
Another oddity, on page 262, is when he writes of how many lobbyists were in the Paul Martin government and how calling the PMO to ask for certain person in the employ of the government he was transferred directly to the reception desk at a prominent lobbying firm.
My favourite quote from the book is likely the following;
"Unmediated news coverage today is ubiquitous and caveat emptor the consumer's only protection. Those of us in the serious-news business can only hope that the public will learn to distinguish between the real thing and the offerings of talk-show barkers, internet snake-oil salesmen, and political hacks."
Mr. Oliver has praise for most of the politicians he has worked with over the decades, although he also has makes some pointed remarks. He labelled some of the Conservative party advertisements of past elections "outright falsehoods."
Oliver's Twist is not a literary masterpiece and there are no great revelations included about public figures. However, I was impressed with Mr. Oliver's simple philosophies and his ability to tell the tale of his life in an engaging manner. I could relate, at least somewhat, to his love of canoeing in remote areas, although my own journeys have been of a far less exotic nature. The story of the near-drowning of Pierre Trudeau on a canoe trip in his later years was especially poignant.
If you find the title at all intriguing, Oliver's Twist will not disappoint you. I wouldn't label it a must-read, but it is certainly well worth your time.
Charming remembrances of his early life in Western Canada are lightly laced with humour and wit which makes them fun to read in what might otherwise be tiresome and dull. His early experiences with the CBC, and then CTV, provide historical insights into his long career in television journalism. The author's reminiscing about co-workers, other associates, and politicians from his early career---and some may call it simply name-dropping---serves to create a nostalgic "spark" for those of us who have been around for awhile : Tommy Douglas; John Diefenbaker; Joe Schlesinger; Knowlton Nash; Tom Gould; Harvey Kirck; Bruce Phillips; among many others. And from Oliver's more recent work well-known names such as Lloyd Roberstson; Pamela Wallin; Sandie Rinaldo; Kevin Newman; Lisa LaFlamme; Robert Fife; Preston Manning; and many others make cameo appearances.
Oliver is at his insighful best in his treatment of Pierre Trudeau (his favourite politician by far); Jean Chretien; Paul Martin; Stephane Dion; Michael Ignatieff ; and Steven Harper. This forthright and pleasantly candid book will be of interest to those stimulated by television journalism, a quick history of two television networks (CBC & CTV); past and present political figures; the often sharp edge between news reporters and politicians; and other details of a long-standing and highly regarded parlimentary correspondent for CTV news.
In his memoir, Oliver’s Twist, Craig takes us through his life as a journalist and within the pages we are introduced to the many interesting people he has met on his journey. Oliver’s Twist will alternately make you smile, frown, perhaps shed a tear, and definitely laugh out loud.
No person or subject is out of bounds for Mr. Oliver, and anyone interested in the news – past and present – will find themselves enthralled with the many stories and anecdotes throughout the book. Oliver takes us on a journey through both his professional and personal lives, with none of the 'airbrushing away' of details so often seen in a biography.
This book is an easy recommend, and being a bit of a newshound myself, I am so grateful to Mr. Oliver for taking the time to write it.
Copyright © 2015 Daniel L Little
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