Bill Graham – Canada’s minister of foreign affairs and minister of defence during the tumultuous years following 9/11 – takes us on a personal journey from his Vancouver childhood to important behind-the-scenes moments in recent global history. With candour and wit, he recounts meetings with world leaders, contextualizes important geopolitical relationships, and offers acute observations on backstage politics. He explains Canada’s decision not to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and makes a passionate case for why international law offers the best hope for a safer, more prosperous, and just world.
I’ve known Bill Graham since our days together at law school. He went on to become a distinguished legal mind on the international stage, practising in French and in English. But I saw him at his best in public life, as an MP defending gay rights and immigrant programs, as a foreign minister standing up for peace and multilateral institutions, and as a defence minister making tough, principled decisions. His contributions to the cause of global order and to the unity of his country have been significant. - Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, 2003–06
Bill Graham isn’t your typical professor. He learned politics the tough way, dedicated himself to the building of a bilingual Canada, and put his ideas about global trade and international law to the fire in government. A classy guy, a hard-working MP, a first-rate minister, a remarkable Canadian. - Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, 1993–2003
Good political memoirs are all too rare in Canada. In this witty, thoughtful, and perceptive book, Bill Graham combines insider knowledge with a cool analytical approach. An enjoyable read, The Call of the World gives much-needed insight into Canadian politics, government, and society during the last half century. - Margaret MacMillan, author of History’s People: Personalities and the Past
With the Liberal party back in government after an eleven-year run by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, we are seeing many figures who served Liberal governments throughout the 1990s and early 2000s returning in advisory capacities. One of those is Bill Graham, who was variably Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of Defence and interim leader of the Liberal Party. While he might be unfamiliar to a new generation of voters, his autobiography The Call of the World, gives insight into Graham the politician and the inner workings of the Liberal governments under former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.- Patrick Gossage, Toronto Star, May 2016
One of the more revealing memoirs by a Canadian politician to come along.- Lawrence Martin, Globe and Mail, May 2016
Graham’s “political memoir” The Call of the World is not only one of the best autobiographies ever produced by a Canadian politician, it is a deeply informed and insightful commentary on Canada’s international relations, both in policy and practice, as well as a passionate positive appeal for active citizenship from the local to the global.- Gerald Schmitz, Prairie Messenger, November 2016
Well written, and leavened with ample doses of humor and insight, The Call of the World is above all a frank and compelling account of one policymaker’s efforts to reconcile our highest legal and human rights ideals with the real world. However imperfect, it’s a record worth celebrating. - Greg Donaghy, Historical Section, Global Affairs Canada, H-Canada, March 2017
[A]mong the most profound writing of any postwar Canadian politician … To read The Call Of The World is to sense a nagging conscience and sleepless nights … Graham is sincere and forthright … [He] deserves credit for plain honesty in a political memoir that breaks the mold of self-serving platitudes.- Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter, June 2016
Bill Graham was foreign minister in 2003 when Canada infuriated George W. Bush by refusing to join his “coalition of the willing” and invade lraq. In The Call of the World Graham reveals the intense pressure that Bush put on Jean Chrétien, the prime minister, who turned down the president’s request to come to Ottawa and make his case in person. Canadians, who often feel bullied by their powerful neighbour, are entranced.- “What the World is Reading”, The Economist, July 2016
The Call of the World includes a good deal of interesting information about the nuts and bolts of electoral politics in this country and how they are changing. - George Fetherling, Diplomat and International Canada, October 2016
Bill Graham’s political memoir, The Call of the World, provides a window seat to some of the most important domestic and foreign events of the past quarter century in a candid and colourful way.- Kevin Brushett, Royal Military College of Canada, British Journal of Canadian Studies
I was in the Parliamentary Press Gallery for The Globe and Mail during the whole of Graham’s elected career and wrote about him from time to time. But I have to admit that I came away from his book with a greater appreciation of his gravitas and accomplishments than I reflected in my stories at the time – indeed the whole gallery underestimated him. If we had paid more attention to him and done our homework, the Canadian public would have been better informed.- Hugh Winsor, Literary Review of Canada, July 2016
It is rare when former politicians fail to use every word, sentence, and chapter of their memoirs to justify their decisions, to explain how they were either misunderstood or unheeded when things went wrong, and how their superior sense and profound understanding of what was necessary prevailed when things went right. It is precisely this rarity that makes The Call of the World: A Political Memoir so readable and unique.- Hugh Segal, Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs; Master, Massey College, University of Toronto, International Journal, Vol. 72 (4)
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