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Posted November 9, 2009
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Book Launch

Waterloo holds local book launch for historian's Pierre Trudeau biography

WATERLOO - The University of Waterloo will hold a local book launch this week for acclaimed biographer John English's second instalment of a two-volume look at the life and times of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

The event, hosted in collaboration with the Canadian International Council, will feature a TV-style interview with English and Waterloo president David Johnston.

English, a Waterloo professor of history, is the author of the newly published Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1968-2000. Three years ago, English released Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968.

"Just Watch Me and Citizen of the World are the definitive story of Pierre Trudeau and the two volumes provide an indispensable look at the life and times of the most important and controversial leader of our time," said Mark Haslett, university librarian at Waterloo. "We are honoured to be able to celebrate this accomplishment by one of our professors."

A former Member of Parliament for Kitchener, English was given exclusive access to Pierre Elliott Trudeau's private papers and letters. He researched the entire published record of the period and the archival records. He also interviewed hundreds of people associated with Trudeau, both publicly and privately.

English, author of the well-regarded two-volume biography of Lester Pearson, is currently executive director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Trudeau's life is one of Canada's most engrossing stories. English reveals how for Trudeau, style was as important as substance. The title Just Watch Me, is not only Trudeau's notorious phrase from the October Crisis of 1970, but also a motto for his performance in life.

English examines how the controversial public figure intertwined with the charismatic private man and committed father. He traces Trudeau's deep friendships (with women especially, many of them talented artists, like Barbra Streisand) and bitter enmities, as well as his marriage difficulties and family tragedy.

In his book, English focuses on Trudeau's strengths and weaknesses - from Trudeaumania to political disenchantment, from his electrifying response to the kidnappings during the October Crisis, to his all-important patriation of the Canadian Constitution, and his evolution to influential elder statesman.

On Nov. 25, English will give another reading of his new Trudeau biography at 7:30 p.m. in Knox Church, 50 Erb St W. The event is sponsored by Woodsworth Books. For details, go to www.wordsworthbooks.com.

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 11

TIME: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

LOCATION: Federation Hall, University of Waterloo campus

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