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Christiano, Kevin J.
Toronto, ECW Press, 1994. 160pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 1-55022-188-4. (Canadian Biography). Distributed by General Distribu­tion Services. CIP

Grades 12 and up / Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Val K. Lem

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

Basic requisite details about Trudeau's life and career are presented in (his brief, well-researched biography. However, the author's stated goal is "to trace the development of Trudeau's self and his thinking against (he backdrop of a pivotal era in Canadian history." The book reads as a socio-political analysis of Trudeau, the philosopher. As an American sociologist, Christiano brings a refreshing foreign perspective to his study.

Christiano demonstrates how the abuses of the Duplessis regime in Quebec, together with disregard for the interests of individuals observed during Trudeau's post-war travels through Europe, the Middle East and southern Asia, helped to shape his belief that personal liberty is of key importance in a liberal democracy.

Much of the discussion focuses on Trudeau's approach to politics: emphasizing reason (the rational) over passion (emotion) and extolling the virtues of federalism in contrast to the faults of "nationalism." A great deal of space is dedicated to Trudeau's palliation of the Constitution and his subsequent efforts to defeat amendments proposed during the Mulroney years.

The author's ideas are not always easy to absorb: some terms are unclear, poetic prose must be deciphered, the political philosophy by its nature demands an alert mind. Never­theless, for serious students, Pierre Elliott Trudeau is a stimulating discourse on the political ideas of a remarkable Canadian.

Recommended with reservations.

Val K. Lem is a librarian with the Board of Education for the City of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario

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