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Charlotte Gray Begins the Great Canadian Biographies Lit Wish List

Our next Lit Wish List comes directly from an expert, Great Canadian Biographies as selected by Charlotte Gray. This list is fantastic, but it's only the beginning; political biographies only, nothing by women. Where are Rosemary Sullivan, Elspeth Cameron, Charles Foran, Ken McGoogan? What other books, what other authors belong here? What about biographies of Native Canadians, and Canadians of author ethnicities and cultures. What's the Canadian biography you'd most like to give or receive this holiday? Let us know in the comments below.

Book Cover John A

John A, The Man Who Made Us by Richard Gwyn This is the first volume of a vivid, multi-dimensional portrait of a fascinating character and his times, by one of Canada’s finest political pundits. Gwyn combines contemporary insights, anecdotes, and impeccable research for this biography of our Founding Father, who created a country that is, in Gwyn’s view, a miracle of peacefulness, diversity, and determined un-Americanness. Volume 2 coming this fall.

The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie by Tim Cook

Book Cover The Madman and the Butcher

A powerful double biography of Sam Hughes, Canada’s war minister, and Arthur Currie, who commanded Canadian troops during World War One. I am not usually drawn to military history, but Cook uses the hatred between these two men as a brilliant framework within which to explore questions of Canada's role in the war, the need to place blame for the terrible blood loss, and our discomfort with heroes.

Book Cover Shadow of Heaven

2-volume biography of Lester B. Pearson, Vol. 1: Shadow of Heaven: 1897-1948 & Vol. 2: The Worldly Years 1949-1972 by John English A wonderful exploration of the shy and hesitant prime minister whose policies helped shape today’s Canada. John English brilliantly combines the intellectual rigour of an academic with the literary skills of an elegant novelist.
Louis-Phillippe LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin by John Ralston Saul

Book Cover Lafontaine and Baldwin

J. R. Saul has always enjoyed challenging Canadians’ received wisdom about the great figures of our past, and in this addition to the series “Extraordinary Canadians,” which he edited, he prompts readers to rethink our French-English duality.

Book Cover Rene Levesque

Rene Levesque by Daniel Poliquin A concise, astringent biography of the late premier and founder of the Parti Québécois, whom most Anglo-Canadians found both incomprehensible yet fascinating. Poliquin delivers strong opinions about the heroic-victim tendency in French-Canadian nationalism.

This list is an excerpt from Charlotte Gray's wonderful list, History Across the Genres.

What other books belong here? Add your suggestions below, or create your own Lit Wish List on our site or your own. Just remember to tag it #GiveCDN.

Lit Wish List

November 19, 2012
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