Random House, Inc. One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. Includes two sixteen-page colour photo inserts.
October 2018 marks twenty-five years since Jean Chrétien took the helm as prime minister. In this collection of short essays, he has picked up his pen to reminisce about his long years in the public eye, and the many luminaries he met and worked with. Readers will learn why his commonsense judgment continues to influence our lives to this day, in ways both profound and subtle: from forging long-lasting relationships with foreign countries to making it easy to identify our national airline when we travel. Of course, many familiar names figure in these stories, including George W. Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Pierre Trudeau, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. As always, he reserves his greatest admiration for his wife of more than sixty years, Aline, his "Rock of Gibraltar." These stories offer his unique perspective: we are at the Prime Minister's side on 9/11 when he is asked to give authorization to shoot down a passenger airliner that has not responded to identification requests. We learn how he attempted to correct the record as explained in his grandson's history book on the so-called "Night of the Long Knives." There are even glimpses of the young Jean, as a teen canvassing with his father, and as a young man who dared complain personally to Premier Maurice Duplessis about the food at his seminary. Survival in politics requires stamina, creativity and toughness, as well as the ability to share a laugh now and again: qualities that the self-described "little guy from Shawinigan" never lost. In these days of "alternative facts" and politics-by-Tweet, these stories are a necessary antidote, told by a leader who always held fast to his vision of what Canada was and what it could be.