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Formac Lorimer Books Fall 2011 Trade

The Canadian Fuhrer
The Life of Adrien Arcand
By (author): Jean-Francois Nadeau
Jean-Francois Nadeau





Product Form:


Form detail:

Printed dust jacket
Hardcover , Printed dust jacket


General Trade
Sep 30, 2011
$35.00 CAD


229 x 153 x 26 mm | 640 gr

Page Count:

360 pages
James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
Biography: historical, political and military|Political leaders and leadership|Political structures: totalitarianism and dictatorship|History of the Americas|Second World War
Richard-Arès Prize for the best book on an important public issue 2010, Winner
  • Short Description
This is the first independent biography of the leading Canadian fascist of the 1930s and 40s, Adrian Arcand. As a journalist and political organizer, Arcand was a fierce advocate of the anti-democratic views of fascism, a virulent anti-Semite, and an admirer of Hitler, Mussolini and other fascist leaders around the world. Imprisoned for his views during the Second World War, Arcand emerged to promote his ideas for three more decades. He was an early Holacaust denier, a lifelong apologist for Hitler, and an influence in right-wing politics in Canada in the 1950s and 60s.

The Canadian Fuhrer is the story the emergence of prominent fascist leader Adrien Arcand and a dark chapter in Canada's past.

During the 1930s, when the misery of hunger, unemployment and the threat of war shadowed life for many, Canadians were drawn to a wide range of new political ideas. Communism, socialism, and the social credit movement all attracted supporters. Fascist ideas and Europe's fascist leaders also appealed to some. Even Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King reacted positively to Adolf Hitler when he first met him. Out of these circumstances emerged a Canadian fascist party led by a Montreal journalist, Adrien Arcand who became a significant part of the political scene through most of the 1930s.

Arcand adopted Nazi symbols and eagerly voiced anti-Semitic views. He organized large successful rallies of his right-wing supporters under the sign of the swastika and enjoyed the support of a substantial and committed group of Canadians. Once Canada declared war on Germany and Italy, however, Arcand was imprisoned for his political views. Yet after the war he resumed his activities as leader of the far-right National Unity Party, and forged ties to Quebec's provincial government of Maurice Duplessis during the 1950s and 1960s. Although Canadian historians have paid little attention to Arcand, he played an important role in the country's political life for many years.

This fascinating biography sheds light on a man and an era that have been hidden in the shadows for too long.

"In exploring the forgotten life of Adrien Arcand, Jean-Francois Nadeau has written the first real historical work on Canada's best-known fascist." Le Devoir

JEAN-FRANCOIS NADEAU taught history at Laurentian University before becoming the arts editor of Le Devoir. He is the author of five books and currently lives in Montreal.

"...a very thorough, authoritative biography with a title that not only projects a strong, powerful image, but conveys the author's willingness to call a spade a spade.
As a former academic historian, Nadeau brings an impressive array of insight and talent to the task of unravelling the life of Canada's best know fascist leader...It will quickly be recognized as the standard work on a sordid aspect of Quebec's 20th-century history." - Paul W. Bennett, Chronicle Herald

"His book is both more and sometimes less than a biography: Arcand is the focus, but numerous other actors appear and additional nationalist groups are analyzed... It is not that Nadeau lacks a point of view: his dislike of the leading and supporting actors in his fascinating story is pronounced. But he is cool and detached and his research is thorough and critical. The translation is smooth and readable... Jean-François Nadeau's study of Adrien Arcand and his times is an engrossing read. A talented historian, Nadeau has put this despicable figure into a rich context of many marginal movements..." - Ramsay Cook, Literary Review of Canada

"Nadeau has penetrated into dark recesses of Quebec history, areas, which as he notes, have been largely ignored." - Bryan Demchinsky, roverarts.com/2011/11/achtung-baby

"Jean-François Nadeau gives a highly readable portrait of a malevolent and shadowy figure, while also providing a well-informed outline of the right-wing Catholic movements that once flourished in Quebec...The breadth of Nadeau's research is impressive...This book is of great worth to professional historians, but it will also appeal to a broad readership." - Jean Coleno, Montreal Review of Books

"Nadeaus writing is thorough, and the story he tells is chilling... one is reminded of the fragility of our multicultural society" - Mark Reid, Canada's History

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