One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, elected to government for three consecutive majority terms, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also features 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. He recalls a memorable trip with the royal family to the Northwest Territories in 1970, and how Ross Perot tried to influence his views on free trade in 1992. 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. There are reflections on the many different posts over Chrétien's career, including becoming Canada's first-ever francophone finance minister. He pays tribute to old friends and colleagues, where the values of honour and dedication to public service transcend political views. He reserves his greatest admiration for his wife of more than sixty years, Aline, whom he calls 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." (Despite having special access to an eyewitness to history, his grandson got a failing grade on his paper.) 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.
My Stories, My Times Review
- January 1, 1970Andrew*4.5 stars - especially if you read it in Chretien's iconic voice*So. So. Fun! Like a grandfather telling stories, this is a nation-shaping Prime Minister bouncing around his entire career, and some parts before, in no particular order with no particular lessons in mind. It's a classic behind-the-curtain look at a figure remembered with fondness on both sides of the House.more
- January 1, 1970Ellen WorlingAn enjoyable trip down memory lane, with one of Canada's most popular Prime Minister. Just a collection of stories, told as if talking to you personally. At times it is repetitive, but overall a simple book to enjoy.
- January 1, 1970Alyson FairGreat stories but the book didn’t flow and I found the translation choppy.
- January 1, 1970Chels PattersonFantastic. If You like political stories and short stories this is the book for you. Jean is an amazing writer, it is a must read
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