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Ampersand Fall 2016 Dewey Diva Picks Adult Books

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By (author): Paul Litt
9780774834049 Hardcover, Dust jacket English General Trade SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture Oct 15, 2016
$39.95 CAD
Forthcoming 6 x 9 x 1.33 in 424 pages 46 b&w photos and 12 cartoons UBC Press
CHA Political History Group Best Book in Political History, Canadian Historical Association 2017, Winner

Sexual sizzle, media hype, and the madness of crowds – Trudeaumania might be dismissed as Canada’s crazy sixties’ moment, were it not that there was method in the mania.

In 1968, Canadians took a chance on a new kind of politician. Pierre Trudeau, a relative newcomer to federal politics, became the leader of the Liberal Party that April. Within two months, a desire for renewal, nationalist ambition, and media hype propelled him to election triumph.

Trudeau was seen as a transformative figure who would rejuvenate the nation in keeping with the idealistic hopes of the times.

While there have been many biographies of the man, Paul Litt has written the definitive account of the phenomenon. Trudeaumania: when the fabled spirit of the sixties – protest movements, the counterculture, sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelia – met ambitious Canadian nationalism and the collective excitement generated by the Centennial and Expo 67, with dramatic results.

Canadians wanted to modernize their nation, differentiate it from the United States, and thwart the threat of Quebec separatism. And Trudeau became their means of doing so. The mania that swept the country was an exercise in national identity formation that would define the values of Canadians for decades to come.

Paul Litt is a professor in the Department of History and the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. His research explores the intersection of culture, nationalism, and the mass media in twentieth-century Canada. He is the author of several books, including The Muses, the Masses and the Massey Commission and Elusive Destiny: The Political Vocation of John Napier Turner.

This is not so much about Trudeau as it is about the cultural phenomena of Trudeaumania. What contributed to this craze? What made Trudeaumania such a cultural time in Canada?

This is the first book to look at the phenomena, timely considering his son is now in office.

We will be executing a full publicity campaign for this book and the author is ready to act as a commentator on Trudeaumania (both iterations?).

The book will be pitched to all major dailies and the nationals, magazines including The Walrus, Macleans, Geist, Zoomer, and Canada’s History, as well as US venues such as Harpers, The New Yorker, and the LARB, and we will also approach Ontario and national radio.

We will be setting up a launch event in Ottawa as well as seeking to book speaking engagements nationally.

This book is a fascinating study of image and popularity in the age of mass media. Though much has already been written about Pierre Trudeau, Litt gives us a new perspective on the way in which the age, the man, and an enthralled media combined to propel Trudeau to be prime minister of Canada. - Doug Owram, author of Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation

In unpacking Trudeau the Elder’s rocket-fuelled rise to power in the sixties, Paul Litt provides a fascinating and essential account of the politician as signifier: of a nation, of an era, of dreams, hopes, and fears. Trudeaumania is as much about who we were as who he was: a nation sorely in need of a symbol. - Geoff Pevere, co-author of Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey and author of Donald Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road and Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story

A variety of memoirs, biographies, and histories have dealt with the life and times of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau but none have captured the excitement and drama of “Trudeaumania” as well as this book does. Paul Litt artfully combines thorough research with a penetrating media analysis to create the most definitive account of that extraordinary phenomenon of Trudeaumania ever published. - Paul Rutherford, author of When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967

Litt's advantage in this battle of competing interpretations is that his perspective is able to accommodate many factors, rather than emphasizing just one as Wright does … Trudeau's brilliance was that he could master the lecture hall and the TV screen. Appreciating such multiple talents fits more easily into Litt’s account of him than Wright's.

- Allen Mills, professor of political science, University of Winnipeg, Joint review of "Trudeaumania" by Paul Litt and "Trudeaumania" by Robert Wright, Canada's History

[A]s Paul Litt ably shows in this magnificent study of a pivotal moment, the original Trudeaumania was much more than throngs of adoring fans, a celebrity politician, and an election victory … This book looks beyond the psychedelic colours and trippy slogans of the 1968 campaign into a much larger and more profound set of cultural and ideational shifts that were occurring in Canada in the late 1960s. Doing so through the lens of the Trudeau moment – for which there seems to be a certain nostalgia today – gives shape and structure to what might have been, in less able hands, a somewhat inchoate inventory of cultural crises. Paul Litt has performed a bit of magic here, giving shape and substance to the smoke and mirrors of an ephemeral 1960s culture.

- Penny Bryden, University of Victoria, Canadian Journal of History

…it is Paul Litt’s book, simply titled Trudeaumania, that fully embraces the idea of Trudeau as the saviour Canadians had been hankering for in the wake of upheavals catalyzed by separatism and the’60s. Unquestionably, he arrived on the scene at a propitious time. - Robert Collison, The Toronto Star, November 20, 2016

Litt’s Trudeaumania is about sex, sizzle and popular culture. Sex, he writes, had become the central obsession of a pop culture, which 'exploited its power to titillate and sensationalize. Trudeaumania derived much of its sizzle from the sex-obsessiveness and sexism of the time.' It was the time of sexual liberation, Beatlemania and Andy Warhol … both Trudeaumania books are well researched and well written. If you’re more interested in the cultural phenomenon that was Trudeaumania, that’s what Litt offers. - Sheilla Jones, Winnipeg Free Press, November 1, 2016

Unlike other literature that examines the controversial leader, Trudeaumania probes beyond Trudeau’s identity, investigating his public image within the context of the 1960s … This account of Trudeaumania is the best study of the phenomenon to date. … Trudeaumania is a must-read for scholars interested in the sixties, counterculture and protest movements, Canadian nationalism, as well as federal politics and Pierre Trudeau.

- Thirstan Falconer, Department of History, University of Victoria, American Review of Canadian Studies

Nearly a generation after his death, Liberals still speak of the age of Trudeau. The facts are even better than the myth. - Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

By showing that Trudeau’s first election was not the overwhelming mandate that those still under the Trudeaumania spell might recall, Litt provides a solid antidote to rose-colored views of Canada’s ’60s and one of its most iconic leaders. - Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2016

This well-written and well-researched book is the best on the Trudeau phenomenon. Summing Up: Essential.

- J.L. Granatstein, York University, CHOICE, April 2017

We may be living through Trudeaumania 2.0 right now, but there are still opportunities to dig deeper into what the first version was all about. - Derek Abma, The Hill Times, August 8, 2016

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