Reviews

Memoirs: 1939-1993

Michał Kozłowski

Brian Mulroney’s Memoirs: 1939—1993 (McClelland & Stewart) is longer than The Brothers Karamazov, the index is longer than the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the book costs more than a five-year membership in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and it weighs twice as much as the average human brain. To top off the air of importance, Mulroney’s name appears in gold on the front cover. The content of the index is as telling as the length: twenty-eight different Mulroneys are listed there; the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada gets about three times as many mentions as the Liberals, and the New Democratic Party gets about as much mention as Robert Mugabe. Among politicians, Margaret Thatcher, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Joe Clark and George H. W. Bush get the most ink in the index, whereas George W. Bush gets only three items (as many as the Berlin wall), and Jeb Bush gets one. The pages inside are a mix of autobiography and personal journal entries from the time Mulroney was prime minister, as well as pictures of him, mostly smiling: with his family, on the campaign trail, in the House of Commons, with Ronald Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, Jacques Chirac, Pope John Paul II, the Queen, Lucien Bouchard, Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and members of the free trade negotiating team. There is even a picture of a picture of Mulroney smiling; one cannot see whether he is smiling in the photographs in which he is hugging Mikhail Gorbachev or Don Mazankowski. The golden name and the pictures of important people with whom Mulroney smiles, point to a winner; the book jacket tells us that “Right from the start, Brian Mulroney has always been ambitious.” In case that does not calm his critics, the book ends with a reassuring journal entry from Mulroney’s last day as prime minister: “I leave with a happy heart and a sense of fulfillment at having done much and at all times having done my best for Canada.”

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Michał Kozłowski

Michał Kozłowski worked at Geist for 15 years. He was born in Krakow, Poland, and has lived in Ottawa, Winnipeg and now Vancouver.


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