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UBC Press Fall 2015 Trade

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The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr.
By (author): Greg Donaghy
9780774829113 Hardcover, Dust jacket English General Trade : Grade (US) from 17 BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political May 01, 2015
$39.95 CAD
Active 6 x 9 x 1.36 in | 880 gr 496 pages 32 b&w photos UBC Press
When politics mattered – Grit examines the remarkable life and political career of one of twentieth-century Canada’s foremost politicians.

“I am not afraid to be called a politician,” declared Paul Martin Sr., defending his life’s work in politics. “Next to preaching the word of God, there is nothing nobler than to serve one’s fellow countrymen in government.” This book examines Martin’s remarkable career as a liberal reformer and cabinet minister who tackled the issues of his day with consummate political skill and gritty determination. Though some mocked his ambition and doubted his progressive politics, his resolute championing of health care and pension rights, new meanings for Canadian citizenship, and internationalism in world affairs would leave its mark on Canada’s political landscape.

Greg Donaghy is head of the Historical Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and adjunct professor in the Department of History at St. Jerome’s University. He is general editor of Documents on Canadian External Relations, as well as editor of six volumes in this series covering 1950 to 1957. His publications include the monograph Tolerant Allies: Canada and the United States, 1963-1968, nine edited collections of essays on Canadian history, and over fifty scholarly articles on Canadian foreign policy.

The words “politician” and “partisan” are pejorative now. Greg Donaghy’s excellent biography of the late Paul Martin is a bracing antidote that recalls the enormous accomplishments of this agile politician, fierce Liberal partisan, and below-the-salt “outsider” in an “establishment” government. Martin’s personal and religious beliefs, and his skill, persistence, and creative ambition – though often thwarted – profoundly shaped Canada’s progressive social policy and high international reputation, leaving an indelible mark on the country we have become today. - Joe Clark, Progressive Conservative Prime Minister of Canada (1979-80) and Secretary of State for External Affairs (1984-91)

Greg Donaghy has written a deeply insightful biography of Paul Martin Sr., a complicated man called to a life in politics, who scaled political heights but whose ultimate ambition to lead the nation was unfulfilled. Donaghy confronts his many contradictions – ambitious and idealistic, progressive and out of touch, self-promoting and selfless – to recount the career of a remarkable politician who made a difference to Canada. - Francine McKenzie, associate professor of history and director of the International Relations Program at Western University

A timely revisiting of the career of one of Canada’s pre-eminent parliamentarians and political leaders. For those of us who were young Liberals at the time, there is joyful recognition of what it meant to have a smart, tough, experienced, principled, and passionate Paul Martin Sr. to look up to. For others, this book reminds us of how important it is to have among us the power and presence of good politicians who relish their craft, have a firm set of values, and believe that the bedrock of democracy is the constituency they serve. - Lloyd Axworthy, cabinet minister under three Liberal prime ministers and minister of foreign affairs (1995-2000)

Greg Donaghy paints a picture of a man whose ambition never superseded his fundamental decency, his connection to individuals both great and small, and his unwavering loyalty to colleagues, constituents and indeed a country that often treated him with something less than loyalty. This is both a fascinating study of twentieth-century Canada and the somewhat poignant story of a boy with big dreams. - Penny Bryden, Ontario History

During his lifetime Martin published two volumes of memoirs, and the diaries he kept while High Commissioner. But they are dull stuff: too long, too detailed, too stiff; as one reviewer put it, he left out the politics. Donaghy’s impeccably researched and immensely readable biography, which draws on new material and numerous interviews, shows the extent to which Martin undersold himself. It also reveals him to be a very complex, highly intelligent, well-read, thoughtful, likeable, convivial, and witty man. It is one of the best biographies I have read in the last decade. - Lorna Lloyd, Keele University, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29 No. 2, Fall 2016

In his detailed biography, Greg Donaghy ably chronicles the key roles that Martin played in ... Canadian political and international history ... Grit will surely serve as a valuable reference tool for scholars interested in the inner workings of policy formation and ministerial wrangling, and it illuminates our understanding of one of Canada’s important twentieth century political operatives.

- Matthew Hayday, University of Guelph, Canadian Journal of History

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