- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (Nov. 22 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307358267
- ISBN-13: 978-0307358264
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #331,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada Hardcover – Nov 22 2011
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A Globe and Mail Best Book
“The finest journalist of his generation, without equal here as a writer, editor and reporter…. An important, timely and engaging book…. Few do substantive, long-form journalism like this anymore, and no one does it with Newman’s eye, ear and ego.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Of all the literary lions who roamed the Canadian landscape, Newman is the fiercest.”
“Newman has broken through the normal bounds of journalism to become an important diarist of our times.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Canada made Newman and in some ways Newman made Canada.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Peter C. Newman is an Icon. . . . The chronicler and conscience of a country often confused by its identity, he has been perhaps the most influential journalist Canada has ever known.”
“I’d never let you write my biography!”
—Margaret Atwood to Peter C. Newman
“Newman’s insights confirm his reputation as a guardian of the best leaks in Ottawa.”
—The New York Times
About the Author
Peter C. Newman has been writing about Canadian politics for nearly half a century, including books on prime ministers John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Brian Mulroney. His Renegade in Power (1963) revolutionized Canadian political reporting with its controversial "insiders-tell-all" approach. He did it again four decades later with The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister (2005), a number one bestseller that became one of the most controversial books ever published in Canada. The author of twenty-five books that have sold over 2.5 million copies, Newman has won a half dozen of the country's most illustrious literary awards, including the Drainie-Taylor Biography prize for his 2004 memoir, Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power. A former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star and Maclean's, Newman has been honoured with a National Newspaper Award, has been elected to the News Hall of Fame, and has earned the informal title of Canada's "most cussed and discussed" political commentator.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Nope. Newman details how Canadians are equally clever in using very different politics to produce a landslide defeat based on the hubris of past success and the blinders of current arrogance. He knows how to infuriate politicians; he quotes them accurately and in enough context that they can't weasel out of gaffes, goofs and "Golly Gees!" with claims of misquotes. It gives him two great advantages; honesty allows him candid access to all who matter, including politicians, and in return he presents a complete "warts and all" picture.
Trust me, I've been there. Political campaigns are intense; success requires an astute candidate plus a dedicated staff willing to literally work around the clock. As Newman says, Michael Ignatieff began with these strengths until his campaign was taken over by good ol' boys wanting to cash in on easy glory.
This book is a post-mortem, like an analysis of why the Titanic sank. As with the Titanic, lessons learned mean big ships are still built and sail safely; the lessons of this book may well become a foundation garment to rebuild the Liberal Party. As an original supporter of John Diefenbaker and Dr. P. B. Rynard, I don't want Liberals to disappear; because the lasting success of Conservatives depends on the intelligence of a good opposition.
Without a good opposition to debate their politics, plans, policies and peccadillos, Conservatives will become a Canadian G.O.P. (Greedy Old Party).
Conservatives skillfully used American campaign techniques in 2011, a system imported by Liberals in the 1962 election. It doesn't imply Canada should copy the American primary system; but it does suggest adopting new and more open methods of selecting candidates.
Newman skillfully cites the arrogance and incompetence of the Worthy Old Elder Statesmen (WOES). It's not unique to politics; the basic errors are much the same as the collapse of once great businesses such as Kodak -- the company that invented digital photography; or Research in Motion -- creator of the world's best business phone. Good companies re-organize and thrive; weak companies, and inept politicians, refuse to change and die.
This is a textbook on how to lose an election, destroy a great candidate and crush a venerable political party. It's essential political reading as an example of what not to do; plus, as a foundation to create reforms. After reading it, perhaps Liberals will organize a new "Kingston Conference" similar to the one held in the wake of the 1958 triumph by Diefenbaker.
Politics is a process of continual rebirth, simply because the interests, needs and whims of voters always change. Newman has written a fine obituary of old Liberals; now, party leaders must decide whether to die like Britain's Liberals or be reborn like Democrats after the 2004 election. President Bush bragged of mandates and holding power for at least a generation after 2004; Republicans were trounced in 2006 and 2008, then revived by 2010. Such is the volatile nature of politics.
Newman deftly outlines the Liberal WOES. Now, Young Liberals must reform or learn to graciously fade into history like a curious oddity from times long past.
To Newman's credit, the book does have some interesting things to say about the party, and the insider account of Ignatieff's recruitment and time as Liberal leader are valuable, but I can't help feeling like I've been deceived by the book's title and marketing. It's a biography of Ignatieff and chronicle of his role in the party's history more than anything else. If that's what you're looking for, you'll enjoy this book. If it's not, it may still be worth a read as long as you don't come into it with any false expectations.
I would definitely recommend this book to political junkies and anyone looking for a bit of insight into the Grits as they enter what may be their last leadership campaign. However, this is not the full and definitive account of the death (or near death) of Canada's natural governing party.
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Most recent customer reviews
Newman's writing remains crisp, the problem is his thought and his thesis about the Liberal Party of Canada...Read more
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