The John A. Macdonald Retrospective 2-Book Bundle

Overview

This special 2-book bundle contains a number of perspectives on a man who was arguably Canada’s most famous political leader, a figure of legendary proportions in the history of Canada’s birth and development.

Ged Martin’s biography tells Macdonald’s story. Shocked by Canada’s 1837 rebellions, Macdonald sought to build alliances and avoid future conflicts. Thanks to financial worries and an alcohol problem, he almost quit politics in 1864. The challenge of building Confederation harnessed his skills, and in 1867 he became the country’s first prime minister. He drove the Dominion’s westward expansion, rapidly incorporating the Prairies and British Columbia before a railway contract scandal unseated him in 1873. He conquered his drinking problem and rebuilt the Conservative Party to regain power in 1878. The centrepiece of his protectionist National Policy was the transcontinental railway, but a western uprising in 1885 was followed by the controversial execution of rebel leader Louis Riel. Although dominant nationally, this popular hero had many flaws.

Macdonald at 200 presents fifteen fresh interpretations of Canada’s founding prime minister, published for the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth in 1815. Crisply written by recognized scholars and specialists, the collection throws new light on Macdonald’s formative role in shaping government, promoting women’s rights, managing the nascent economy, supervising westward expansion, overseeing relations with Native peoples, and dealing with Fenian terrorism. A special section deals with how Macdonald has (or has not) been remembered by historians as well as the general public. The book concludes with an afterword by prominent Macdonald biographer Richard Gwyn. Macdonald emerges as a man of full dimensions — an historical figure that is surprisingly relevant to our own times.

Includes

  • John A. Macdonald
  • Macdonald at 200

About the Authors

Patrice Dutil

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Patrice Dutil photo

Patrice Dutil

Patrice Dutil is a professor of politics and public administration at Ryerson University, and the president of the Champlain Society. He is the author and editor of many books on various aspects of Canadian political history and public administration, including Macdonald at 200: New Reflections and Legacies (Dundurn). He lives in Toronto.

Roger Hall

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

Roger Hall

Roger Hall is professor emeritus of history at Western University and senior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. He has been editor of Ontario History and co-editor of The Canadian Review of American Studies. His publications include A Century to Celebrate and The Rising Country. He lives in Toronto.

Ged Martin

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Ged Martin

Ged Martin is a graduate of Cambridge University. Awarded the United Kingdom's first chair in Canadian Studies by the University of Edinburgh, he is the author of Britain and the Origins of Canadian Confederation, 1837-67 and Favourite Son? John A. Macdonald and the Voters of Kingston 1841-1891. He is adjunct professor of history at National University of Ireland Galway, and at the University of the Fraser Valley.