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Being Prime Minister

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Behind the politics, discover the lives of Canada's leaders. “What a life it is to be prime minister!” — John Diefenbaker Canada has had twenty-three prime ministers, all with views and policies that have differed as widely as the ages in which they lived. But what were they like as people? Being Prime Minister takes you behind the scenes to tell the story of Canada’s leader Behind the politics, discover the lives of Canada's leaders. “What a life it is to be prime minister!” — John Diefenbaker Canada has had twenty-three prime ministers, all with views and policies that have differed as widely as the ages in which they lived. But what were they like as people? Being Prime Minister takes you behind the scenes to tell the story of Canada’s leaders and the job they do as it has never been told before. From John A. Macdonald to Justin Trudeau, readers get a glimpse of the prime ministers as they travelled, dealt with invasions of privacy, met with celebrities, and managed the stress of the nation’s top job. Humorous and hard working, vain and vulnerable, Canada leaders are revealed as they truly were.


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Behind the politics, discover the lives of Canada's leaders. “What a life it is to be prime minister!” — John Diefenbaker Canada has had twenty-three prime ministers, all with views and policies that have differed as widely as the ages in which they lived. But what were they like as people? Being Prime Minister takes you behind the scenes to tell the story of Canada’s leader Behind the politics, discover the lives of Canada's leaders. “What a life it is to be prime minister!” — John Diefenbaker Canada has had twenty-three prime ministers, all with views and policies that have differed as widely as the ages in which they lived. But what were they like as people? Being Prime Minister takes you behind the scenes to tell the story of Canada’s leaders and the job they do as it has never been told before. From John A. Macdonald to Justin Trudeau, readers get a glimpse of the prime ministers as they travelled, dealt with invasions of privacy, met with celebrities, and managed the stress of the nation’s top job. Humorous and hard working, vain and vulnerable, Canada leaders are revealed as they truly were.

53 review for Being Prime Minister

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ferguson

    Disclosure: I read this book as an ARC from Dundurn Press, who is also my publisher. Being Prime Minister is a light-hearted look at the private lives of all 23 Canadian prime ministers since Confederation — John A MacDonald to Justin Trudeau. Researched using journals, diaries, media reports and, more recently, interviews with the PMs who agreed and their staff/colleagues. Author, J.K.M.Stewart considers the PMs family life, friendships, pastimes, pets, and how they de-stressed, amongst other rel Disclosure: I read this book as an ARC from Dundurn Press, who is also my publisher. Being Prime Minister is a light-hearted look at the private lives of all 23 Canadian prime ministers since Confederation — John A MacDonald to Justin Trudeau. Researched using journals, diaries, media reports and, more recently, interviews with the PMs who agreed and their staff/colleagues. Author, J.K.M.Stewart considers the PMs family life, friendships, pastimes, pets, and how they de-stressed, amongst other relevant topics. I found it mildly interesting, but this is because I've read many biographies about PMs. If a reader hasn't, the book will be fascinating. I found some sections repetitive like the ones on golf and fishing. But throughout, I did learn more about the PM's characters from the observations that never showed in previous accounts. They were almost all different people in private. The book also demonstrated what an exhausting and demanding job being prime minister of Canada really is, especially today. Recommended to readers who enjoy peeking into private lives of public figures.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    We have had 23 prime ministers since 1867 when the Dominion was created and I have never really wondered what the job was that they were doing. Our prime minister is the elected head of his or her party and becomes the head of government when that party receives a majority in a national election. The politics of it all is found in the daily news but the daily grind of the job is rarely seen. This book sheds a light on various aspects of life as the head of government: routine, travel, security, p We have had 23 prime ministers since 1867 when the Dominion was created and I have never really wondered what the job was that they were doing. Our prime minister is the elected head of his or her party and becomes the head of government when that party receives a majority in a national election. The politics of it all is found in the daily news but the daily grind of the job is rarely seen. This book sheds a light on various aspects of life as the head of government: routine, travel, security, personal health, privacy, residence, pets, and sports. Mr. Stewart deals with each topic as it involves each of the incumbents, comparing and contrasting each. The reader is led through the years so that you can see how things and people have changed. A good example is security. Sir John A. Macdonald would not have understood the word as we do. There was no police presence in his life and of the various adjustments necessary when he took the helm of the nation he was helping to create concern about his personal safety was marginal in spite of the assassination of Thomas Darcy McGee in 1868. In this chapter, however we learn that there has always been concern about the possibility of violence and that there have been attempts which have been minimised to the public. The protection which now surrounds the PM is so much denser than we even imagine and that constant presence in the daily life of the families as well as the PM himself creates its own pressure as well as removing the PM further from people (Justin Trudeau notwithstanding). One chapter of concern to taxpayers is the whole matter of 24 Sussex Drive, the official home of the PM. The house dates back to the 1860s and the changes, additions, and re-dos have not helped it to weather the years. Because the media and the Opposition have detailed expenditures as if they were financial crimes, the house has been allowed to reach a state of decrepitude. Prime Ministers have hesitated to insist on work from fear of being accused of reckless spending of public money so that Chretien only dared to agree to a new roof after the ice storm damaged the old one. The electrical system dates to the 1950s and the plumbing may well be older. Justin Trudeau will not bring his family into it and he grew up in the house. Proper decisions will have to be made and soon. Other topics are dealt with as fully with the result being a revealing look at the 22 men and 1 woman who have held the position of prime minister, their various characters, and the particular and general problems with which they've had to deal. A fascinating read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Colin Hynes

    A fun jaunt through Canada’s highest office. This book is a refreshing take on political life that steers cleat of political controversies for the most part—aside from Pierre Trudeau’s salute in Salmon Arm and Chrétien’s Shawinigan handshake. The only thing I would have like to have seen, and perhaps this is something which couldn’t be due to restrictions with archives, would have been whether or not decisions PM’s made through their tenure affected them later in life. For example, I’m sure the m A fun jaunt through Canada’s highest office. This book is a refreshing take on political life that steers cleat of political controversies for the most part—aside from Pierre Trudeau’s salute in Salmon Arm and Chrétien’s Shawinigan handshake. The only thing I would have like to have seen, and perhaps this is something which couldn’t be due to restrictions with archives, would have been whether or not decisions PM’s made through their tenure affected them later in life. For example, I’m sure the many PM’s who created or championed residential schools thought it was the right thing to do, but I would have like to have seen if they ever regretted and if that affected their personal lives. Did their spouses agree with what they were doing? Kids? Friends? Perhaps that subject matter/content was too cheerless for the rest of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Worden

    A very interesting book with insights into the lives of Canada's Prime Ministers. There were only a couple references to spirituality and religion and no stories of religious practices or lack of them, conflicts, and contacts with religious leaders.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Abboud

    A number of interesting anecdotes and stories, which politicos will enjoy. Decent book, but the overall narrative failed to engage me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Johnathan Rix

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dundurn Press

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colby Pridham

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jon Goetz

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jared

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalia HA

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    This book offered a glimpse at the private lives of the 23 people that served as Prime Minister to Canada. These people were interesting and the author showcased the differences between their public and private personas. You can tell that the author utilized as many resources as he could to write this, as it is rich in facts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    JEAN-PAUL CROTEAU

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cledger

  17. 4 out of 5

    JDM Stewart

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Wilson

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  20. 5 out of 5

    Damaris Tonner

  21. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex Colangelo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Navi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Miss M

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Bryant

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Mercer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thea

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tim Schneider

  32. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Krieger

  33. 4 out of 5

    Eily

  34. 5 out of 5

    Taleen

  35. 5 out of 5

    Matteo

  36. 4 out of 5

    Bennison Smith

  37. 5 out of 5

    Loren Aultman

  38. 5 out of 5

    Maddie Mass

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  40. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  41. 5 out of 5

    Tayte Willows

  42. 4 out of 5

    Martha Calder

  43. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  44. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Johnston

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  47. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  48. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Beatty

  49. 4 out of 5

    Nicolas Claveau

  50. 4 out of 5

    Julie D

  51. 4 out of 5

    Alex Ripley

  52. 4 out of 5

    Jared_b

  53. 4 out of 5

    Ash Kumar

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