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Whelan, Eugene with Rick Archbold.

Toronto, Irwin, c1986. 322pp, cloth, $19.95. ISBN 0-7725-1621-9.CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

The Eugene Whelan most Canadians remember as minister of agriculture is not the man you discover in Whelan: The Man in the Green Stetson. The news media gave us a rather gruff farmer who made it to Ottawa more by good luck than by good management. The book gives a very decent man who really cared for people and was an excellent cabinet minister, regarded highly by his peers in the world community.

Which is the true Eugene Whelan? After reading his book, I am convinced that the news media did the man a grave injustice. Certainly he was a blunt, uncultured man who spoke a dialect of English referred to in the press as Whelanese. But he was a very successful politician too, a member of parliament from 1962-1984, and minister of agriculture from 1972 to 1984, except for the brief Tory government of 1979.

His book is fun and interesting to read. He writes as he talks, in a folksy, down-to-earth way. He includes a number of amusing anecdotes, often at his own expense, which are worth their weight in stetsons. His insight into his fellow MPs, and cabinet ministers is refreshing and quite different from the conventional wisdom. I recommend Whelan to anyone interested in an insider's look at the often confusing world of Canadian politics.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore C. C., North Bay, Ont.
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