Grace Hartman: A Woman for Her Time by Susan Crean (New Star) is a biography, a political history and a page-turner of a story all in one. Hartman (1918-I993) went to work as a secretary for the Township of North York in the 1950s to help support her family; by 1960 she was the president of her local; in 1975 she was elected president of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) and became the first woman in North America to lead a major union. Hartman was a straight-ahead woman with courage who went about her work steadily, matter-of-factly sans fireworks or media stunts, changing the world and patiently reminding family, colleagues, friends and enemies that they could help. She was a woman whose life is interesting all by itself, but in Susan Crean's hands, her story transcends biography. Crean never strays from her subject, but her contextual material is so keenly observed, so thoughtfully chosen and so skillfully woven in to Hartman's story, that I found myself reading the book also as a fresh look at two strong waves of two major political forces—the women's movement and the labour movement—that swept Canada in the 1970s and 1980s. People and history are inseparable; this gripping story of one woman, and all the rest of us, is the proof.