TORONTO – OCTOBER 9, 2014: Random House Canada to publish Paul Wells’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: Canada Since 1945, a three-volume social and political history of Canada
Anne Collins, publisher of Random House Canada, is delighted to announce the signing of Paul Wells, author of the recent award-winning national bestseller on Stephen Harper and Canada, The Longer I’m Prime Minister, to an ambitious three-book project to create a fresh account of modern Canada, in a deal arranged by Jackie Kaiser of Westwood Creative Artists.
Random House Canada will publish the first volume, covering the years from 1945 to 1965, in Canada’s sesquicentennial of 2017, with new books to follow in 2019 and 2021. Collins says, “I came of age as writers such as Pierre Berton and Peter C. Newman were telling us our history in epic and creative new ways. Paul Wells comes from a different generation and has a very different sensibility, but he shares these authors’ fascination with the country we live in and he is an equally wonderful storyteller, remarkably free of hot air and always surprising. I can’t wait to see the questions Paul asks, and the answers he gives. I know they’ll be incisive, insightful and witty, that the patterns he sees and the stories he tells will wake us up to a new vision of our country.”
Paul Wells says, “Writing The Longer I’m Prime Minister gave me a hint of what’s possible when journalism moves past daily headlines to examine the broad sweep of events over many years. All that’s left to do now is to dive off the deep end. Instead of trying to understand one prime minister, I’ll take the reader through seven decades of Canadian life at multiple levels — from local to global events — and in between, eight significant prime ministers whose governments were usually too busy putting out fires to think much about the history they were making. I’m going to banish reverence for the duration. The story of Canada’s coming of age has often been lurid, chaotic and ridiculous, and that’s how I plan to tell it.”
With a mix of archival reporting, interviews with surviving principals, and interpretive analysis, Wells aims to return big history to pride of place in Canada’s literary conversation with the following three books:
Spoils of War, 1945–1965. The creation of the modern welfare state and the dawn of the Cold War. Canada leaves World War II strong and prosperous. But almost as soon as the war ends, Igor Gouzenko defects, conjuring the threat of a new and even more devastating war.These two themes — domestic peace and industry; international tension — are the backdrop for an era of rapid change in Canadian life.
Two Nations, 1965–1992. This book focuses on nearly three decades spent trying to accommodate Quebec nationalism — first with the arrival of the Three Wise Men (Trudeau, Marchand and Pelletier) in Ottawa, then Trudeaumania, the first Quebec referendum, repatriation, and Brian Mulroney’s hard-fought attempts to fix Trudeau’s mistakes.
Growing Up, 1992–2020. The 1995 referendum, 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the global rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the decline of American hegemony are the unlikely backdrop for an optimistic final volume. Under Chrétien and Harper, a chastened federal government abandons quixotic adventure for an era of pragmatic and modest governance. That doesn’t mean party politics goes away, far from it, but our story ends with a surprisingly prosperous, optimistic Canada. The prognostications of the worst skeptics fail to come true; separatism lies in ruins; and Canada’s diversity and adaptability leave it well positioned to thrive in a changing world.
Paul Wells is the political editor of Maclean’s magazine. His most recent book, The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006–, was a national bestseller. It won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the John W. Dafoe Book Prize, and is nominated for the Ottawa Book Awards. His previous book, Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper’s New Conservatism, was also a national bestseller. He has worked for the National Post and Montreal Gazette and written for L’actualité, La Presse and the Literary Review of Canada. He lives in Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter at @inklessPW.
For more information: Josh Glover, Publicity Manager Penguin Random House of Canada
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