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MacDonald, L. Ian.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1984 332pp, cloth, $21.95, ISBN 0-7710-5469-6. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by John H. Harkness

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Brian Mulroney, the "boy from Baie Comeau," sprang into the Canadian public eye with his challenge for the Leadership of the PC party in 1976. Having failed in this bid, he was to remain a high-profile Canadian. He got a second chance for a top political position when the Tory Leadership was up for grabs again in June, 1983. This time he made no mistake and quite easily unseated incumbent Joe Clark. Just over a year later, the Tories humiliated the governing Liberals in a general election, and the new Tory Leader became Prime Minister Mulroney. At the age of 45, "The Irish Kid" had fulfilled his ambition, first voiced on a public platform after M.C. John Fisher had asked the then elementary school student what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Prime Minister of Canada" was the reply!

Ian MacDonald, political columnist with the Montreal Gazette, has known Mulroney since 1972 and has compiled this book from hundreds of conversations, six long interviews and two long background discussions with Mulroney, plus 100 interviews with family, friends and associates. Much of this information has appeared as newspaper excerpts, so it provides us with few surprises. Mulroney's early life is relatively normal and uneventful, being born the son of an electrician and attending several universities before becoming a successful labour lawyer. Mulroney served on the Cliche Royal Commission, which was little known outside Quebec.

MacDonald is Mulroney's friend and uncritical admirer, thus, although we get many fascinating snippets of Mulroney's life and career, there is relatively little that shows us the man behind the image.

Six detailed chapters describe Mulroney's two leadership campaigns, and the final chapter describes this summer's victorious election campaign. The author includes some people photographs and a good index. A light, fun book for surface information and quick reference; an opening paragraph for the "real story" that has yet to be acted out. Grade 10 and up.

John H. Harkness, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.
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