Pierre Trudeau and most of his contemporaries at home and abroad are now dead. This book offers critical reflections on Canadian foreign, trade, and defence policies from interviews with most of the key policy makers, diplomats, and military officers in the Trudeau government and of that era.
Conducted more than three decades ago, the interviews are informative and revealingly frank. There is much on the enormous difficulties in dealing with the United States, Europe, NATO, the Soviet Union, and Communist China in the era dominated by the Cold War. There are also varied personal insights into Trudeau himself, including a lengthy conversation with the authors. That Trudeau was a man of great “esprit,” who seemed destined to change Canadian policy in a dramatic fashion, is commonly voiced throughout the interviews. But he was also a man who embodied contradiction and, over time as his interests fluctuated, many of his foreign policies reverted towards the norm. In the end, patriating the Constitution from the United Kingdom, covered in detail here, remains his legacy in a way that his foreign and defence policies do not.
A unique resource, Trudeau’s World adds immeasurably to our understanding of the Trudeau era. It also has much to tell us about Canada and the world from 1968 to 1984.
This book is for scholars interested in Canadian politics and foreign affairs in the Trudeau period and in the Cold War; Canadian politicians; academics and politicians from other countries curious about prominent figures from their own country who are interviewed; amateur political junkies of all kinds; and people working in diplomatic circles and foreign affairs.
By Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein