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My Stories, My Times

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One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, elected to government for three consecutive majority terms, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also feature One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, elected to government for three consecutive majority terms, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also features two sixteen-page colour photo inserts. October 2018 marks twenty-five years since Jean Chrétien took the helm as prime minister. In this collection of short essays, he has picked up his pen to reminisce about his long years in the public eye, and the many luminaries he met and worked with. Readers will learn why his commonsense judgment continues to influence our lives to this day, in ways both profound and subtle: from forging long-lasting relationships with foreign countries to making it easy to identify our national airline when we travel. He recalls a memorable trip with the royal family to the Northwest Territories in 1970, and how Ross Perot tried to influence his views on free trade in 1992. Of course, many familiar names figure in these stories, including George W. Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Pierre Trudeau, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. There are reflections on the many different posts over Chrétien's career, including becoming Canada's first-ever francophone finance minister. He pays tribute to old friends and colleagues, where the values of honour and dedication to public service transcend political views. He reserves his greatest admiration for his wife of more than sixty years, Aline, whom he calls his Rock of Gibraltar. These stories offer his unique perspective: we are at the Prime Minister's side on 9/11 when he is asked to give authorization to shoot down a passenger airliner that has not responded to identification requests. We learn how he attempted to correct the record as explained in his grandson's history book on the so-called "Night of the Long Knives." (Despite having special access to an eyewitness to history, his grandson got a failing grade on his paper.) There are even glimpses of the young Jean, as a teen canvassing with his father, and as a young man who dared complain personally to Premier Maurice Duplessis about the food at his seminary. Survival in politics requires stamina, creativity and toughness, as well as the ability to share a laugh now and again: qualities that the self-described "little guy from Shawinigan" never lost. In these days of "alternative facts" and politics-by-Tweet, these stories are a necessary antidote, told by a leader who always held fast to his vision of what Canada was and what it could be.


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One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, elected to government for three consecutive majority terms, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also feature One of the most popular Canadian prime ministers in recent history, elected to government for three consecutive majority terms, Jean Chrétien has some stories to tell. Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also features two sixteen-page colour photo inserts. October 2018 marks twenty-five years since Jean Chrétien took the helm as prime minister. In this collection of short essays, he has picked up his pen to reminisce about his long years in the public eye, and the many luminaries he met and worked with. Readers will learn why his commonsense judgment continues to influence our lives to this day, in ways both profound and subtle: from forging long-lasting relationships with foreign countries to making it easy to identify our national airline when we travel. He recalls a memorable trip with the royal family to the Northwest Territories in 1970, and how Ross Perot tried to influence his views on free trade in 1992. Of course, many familiar names figure in these stories, including George W. Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Pierre Trudeau, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. There are reflections on the many different posts over Chrétien's career, including becoming Canada's first-ever francophone finance minister. He pays tribute to old friends and colleagues, where the values of honour and dedication to public service transcend political views. He reserves his greatest admiration for his wife of more than sixty years, Aline, whom he calls his Rock of Gibraltar. These stories offer his unique perspective: we are at the Prime Minister's side on 9/11 when he is asked to give authorization to shoot down a passenger airliner that has not responded to identification requests. We learn how he attempted to correct the record as explained in his grandson's history book on the so-called "Night of the Long Knives." (Despite having special access to an eyewitness to history, his grandson got a failing grade on his paper.) There are even glimpses of the young Jean, as a teen canvassing with his father, and as a young man who dared complain personally to Premier Maurice Duplessis about the food at his seminary. Survival in politics requires stamina, creativity and toughness, as well as the ability to share a laugh now and again: qualities that the self-described "little guy from Shawinigan" never lost. In these days of "alternative facts" and politics-by-Tweet, these stories are a necessary antidote, told by a leader who always held fast to his vision of what Canada was and what it could be.

30 review for My Stories, My Times

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Demetre

    A collection of forty-nine stores told with Chretien's trademark style and sense of humour. Not an in depth look at his political life but still an interesting collection of stores from an absolutely terrific prime minister who always knew not to take himself too seriously while talking his job very seriously.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    *4.5 stars - especially if you read it in Chretien's iconic voice* So. So. Fun! Like a grandfather telling stories, this is a nation-shaping Prime Minister bouncing around his entire career, and some parts before, in no particular order with no particular lessons in mind. It's a classic behind-the-curtain look at a figure remembered with fondness on both sides of the House.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Kukwa

    This simple but joyous collection of anecdotes and memories fills me with two reactions: (1) I miss Jean Chretien and his leadership very much; (2) I have never been prouder and more sure of my own Liberal credentials. I hitched my destiny to an enduring philosophy...confirmed in the pages of this lovely book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    This is a wonderful book by the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, Canada's 20th Prime Minister. It is a collection of anecdotes from his time in politics mostly, rather than an autobiographical book (he has already written two volumes in that vein, I doubt there is much more to say). Initially, this was never meant to be published. His Grandson suggested he write down the stories he would tell at family gatherings. As Jean has mentioned, he found he enjoyed doing it and decided to share it with the world. W This is a wonderful book by the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, Canada's 20th Prime Minister. It is a collection of anecdotes from his time in politics mostly, rather than an autobiographical book (he has already written two volumes in that vein, I doubt there is much more to say). Initially, this was never meant to be published. His Grandson suggested he write down the stories he would tell at family gatherings. As Jean has mentioned, he found he enjoyed doing it and decided to share it with the world. Whether you loved him or hated him, this is a book for all Canadians. He does not take a lot of swipes at political foes (the foreword is written by Joe Clark, former PC Prime Minister, someone Jean considers a close friend). This book comes off exactly as it was intended, a kindly Grandfather sharing stories from his life. Jean has always possessed a great sense of humour and it shines through in this book. In addition, it makes one feel proud to be Canadian in a few of his stories where he speaks about foreign relations. Tonight he was interviewed by Paul Wells from Macleans magazine and was streamed on social media. I think Jean's own words encapsulate what this book really is. He said it is the type of book he hoped people would read a few chapters, put it down on the nightstand, put out the light and fall asleep with a smile on their face. I completely agree with how he envisions the book. My only slight criticism of the book is due to my own shortcomings. This book was written in French by Jean and then translated by others. This has two effects on the book I'd consider negatives. One, Jean Chretien was well known for his unpolished English and that I always felt was part of his charm. By using translators, they took what I assume is his mastery in French and translated it to English. I don't fault Jean for not writing the book twice though. The second thing that my lack of ability to read it in French caused is a couple of the anecdotes are more humourous in French. They contain untranslatable puns or other turns of phrases that the translators must explain. It felt like one of those hilarious jokes that you don't understand, while everyone is roaring with laughter, someone has to explain it to you. That said I would recommend this book to people of any political stripe who wish to hear anecdotes about what it is like to be a politician and in some cases feel good about being Canadian.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Chabot

    I didn't know what to expect and I finally went through the book in less than a day. It's not an autobiography, it's simply a recollection on dozens of anecdotes and stories put together. I wish I read it in French though, as most word plays would make sense only in Chrétien's first language. Overall, a fantastic read, although a bit short and sometimes a little redundant. A must read for political geeks.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Kozak

    Entertaining recollections from a wily old fox. Certainly selective but a fascinating glimpse of some of his thoughts, deeds and interactions. Settles a few old scores but otherwise refreshingly free of self-aggrandizement. Could use a few leaders today with his sense of practicality, balance and humour.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Worling

    An enjoyable trip down memory lane, with one of Canada's most popular Prime Minister. Just a collection of stories, told as if talking to you personally. At times it is repetitive, but overall a simple book to enjoy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Very interesting stuff! Some stories were a little. I ring but most really quite good! Like him or not, Chrétien was influential and if your interested in Canadian politics then this is a must read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Fair

    Great stories but the book didn’t flow and I found the translation choppy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chels Patterson

    Fantastic. If You like political stories and short stories this is the book for you. Jean is an amazing writer, it is a must read

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    A very human set of stories about political life from a very human man.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Patriquin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donald Lafrance

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Vibert

  16. 5 out of 5

    robertnixon

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dominique Labrecque

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josh Merlin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mala Joshi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marc-Antoine Nadeau

  22. 4 out of 5

    Denni A. Bloom

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hall

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nishan Shan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ed Wiebe

  27. 5 out of 5

    Don Bennie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Mackenzie jr.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole LeClair-McLean

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Price

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