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T 3 P The

The Canadian edition of Campaigns and Elections features in every issue a selection of top three books about Canadian politics written by Canadians.

In this issue Gerry Nicholls offers his top 3 selections to our readers.

Harperland: The Politics of Control By Lawrence Martin, Viking, 2010


WITH HARPERLAND, journalist Lawrence Martin has written one of the more controversial political books of recent memory. Focusing its attention on the federal Conservative government’s obsession with iron-clad message discipline and with its sometimes hardball tactics, Harperland paints an interesting and sometimes chilling portrait of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Martin makes the case the Prime Minister is undermining Canada’s democratic traditions, by muzzling his critics and running roughshod over his opponents. And while Martin makes a compelling and well-written argument he also displays at times a naïveté about the rough and tumble world of politics. What Martin calls bully- ing, others might call smart politics. Still Harperland is a definite must-read for any political junkie.

Blue Thunder: The Truth about Conservatives from MacDonald to Harper By Bob Plamondon, Key Porter, 2009


IT’S OFTEN LAMENTED that Canadians lack an understanding and appreciation of their own history. This is equally true of our political history and even truer when it comes to the history of the Conservative Party of Canada. Luckily Bob Plamondon helps to fill the gap with his book Blue Thunder. The book traces the Conservative Party history, its ups and downs (mainly downs), from the time of John A. MacDonald to the current time of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Plamondon tells the stories of well-known Conservative leaders – MacDonald, John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney – as well as the more obscure – Mackenzie Bowell, Robert Manion, John Bracken. In the process Plamondon puts the Harper government in much needed historical perspective.

How We Almost Gave the Tories the Boot: The Inside Story Behind the Coalition By Brian Topp, James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2010


Submit your Top 3 for consideration to our editor Bernie Morton,

ONE OF THE most exciting and dramatic incidents in Canadian political history occurred in late 2008 when a Liberal-NDP coalition nearly toppled the Conservative government. That’s why Brian Topp’s book, How We Almost Gave the Tories the Boot, will be a valuable resource for future political historians. Topp, you see, was in the middle of this drama. A negotiator for the NDP, Topp provides a fascinating behind the scenes account of how the unlikely Coalition came together and just as importantly why it failed. Bear in mind, of course, Topp comes at it from an NDP viewpoint and bias. But until others come forward with their own version of events, Topp provides us with the best take at what happened during those fateful weeks when a government hung in the balance.

Gerry Nicholls is a communications consultant and writer whose columns on political issues have appeared in major Canadian newspapers. He has been a frequent guest on TV and radio, and is the author of the book, Loyal to the Core, Harper, Me and the NCC. Gerry can be reached at , and on Twitter@GerryNic

58 Campaigns & Elections | Canadian Edition

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