The first full-scale biography of Canadas first prime minister in half a century by one of our best-known and most highly regarded political writers.The first volume of Richard Gwyns definitive biography of John A.
Macdonald follows his life from his birth in Scotland in 1815 to his emigration with his family to Kingston, Ontario, to his days as a young, rising lawyer, to his tragedy-ridden first marriage, to the birth of his political ambitions, to his commitment to the all-but-impossible challenge of achieving Confederation, to his presiding, with his second wife Agnes, over the first Canada Day of the new Dominion in 1867.
Colourful, intensely human and with a full measure of human frailties, Macdonald was beyond question Canadas most important prime minister.
This volume describes how Macdonald developed Canadas first true national political party, encompassing French and English and occupying the centre of the political spectrum.
Gwyn judges that Macdonald, if operating on a small stage, possessed political skillsof manipulation and deception as well as an extraordinary grasp of human natureof the same calibre as the greats of his time, such as Disraeli and Lincoln.
Macdonald saw Confederation as a means to an end, its purpose being to serve as a loud and clear demonstration of the existence of a national will to survive.
Gwyn describes Macdonald as Canadas first anti-American.
And in pages brimming with anecdote, insight, detail and originality, he has created an indelible portrait of the irreplaceable man,the man who made us.Macdonald hadnt so much created a nation as manipulated and seduced and connived and bullied it into existence against the wishes of most of its own citizens.
Now that Confederation was done, Macdonald would have to do it all over again: having conjured up a child-nation he would have to nurture it through adolescence towards adulthood.