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Michel Vastel
Toronto, Macmillan of Canada, 1991. 244pp, paper, $27.95
ISBN 0-7715-9148-9. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

This is a surprisingly small book for someone who has been so important to Quebec politics for so long. It is remark­able, more for what it doesn't tell us than for what it includes. There is hardly enough material here for a book on Bourassa alone. The most interesting parts are about his childhood. It will certainly not be the final word on his years as the premier of Quebec.

Vastel, a journalist who writes for a number of Quebec newspapers, gives us a sympathetic portrait of Bourassa. He appears as a decent man who wants to do what is best for his province. He is also a very private person who keeps his innermost thoughts to himself. As a result, Vastel is unable to give us a complete picture.

To make the book longer, Vastel includes chapters on Ontario and the west. The titles of some of these chapters do not do justice to the con­tents. Headings such as "The Fall Guy" and 'The Esteem of the Western Yuppies" don't prepare the reader for what to expect. They are too journalistic and weaken the book's otherwise helpful insights into Quebec's relations with the other provinces.

The book is easy to read but some­times the translation from French has resulted in awkward phrasing. In addition, Vastel occasionally mentions things without explaining what they mean. This is most annoying with his references to the Charest Report, named after federal cabinet minister Jean Charest. The reasons for the dislike of this report in Quebec are not made clear.

Thomas F. Chambers, Candore College of Applied Arts and Technology, North Bay, Ont.
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