The Civic Library

The Canadian Civic Library

Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin when reading up on Canadian political writing. You might have an interest in a particular brand of writing, such as biography or theory. My own interests are generally broad but also highly specific at times. On this page I will keep an updated list of works of Canadian politics, civics and history that reside on my bookshelves. I can’t pretend to have read them all or even the majority but that is the beauty of a library; you can come and go as you please at your own pace.

Feel free to leave a comment about what you thought of any of these books if you’ve read them or to make suggestions on other books that are not yet on my shelf.

Politics and history are ultimately about ideas and no where do ideas have a more permanent home than in between the covers of books.

Memoirs and Biographies of Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers as Individuals –

  • John A.: The Man Who Made Us (Volume 1) by Richard Gwyn (2007)
  • Laurier: The First Canadian by Joseph Schull (1965)
  • Memoirs (Volume 1) by Robert Laird Borden (1938)
  • Bennett: The Rebel Who Challenged and Changed a Nation by John Boyko (2010)
  • Memoirs: The Crusading Years (Volume 1) by John G. Diefenbaker (1975)
  • Memoirs: The Years of Achievement (Volume 2) by John G. Diefenbaker (1976)
  • Diefenbaker: Leadership Gained by Peter Stursberg
  • Diefenbaker: Leadership Lost by Peter Stursberg
  • Memoirs (Volume 1-3) by Lester Pearson
  • Pearson’s Prize: Canada and the Suez Crisis by John Melady
  • The Life of Lester Pearson: Shadow of Heaven (Volume 1) by John English
  • The Life of Lester Pearson: The Worldly Years (Volume 2) by John English
  • Memoirs by Pierre Trudeau (1993)
  • The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau: Citizen of the World (Volume 1) by John English
  • The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau: Just Watch Me (Volume 2) by John English
  • Trudeau by George Radwanski (1978)
  • Close to the Charisma: My Years between the Press and Pierre Elliott Turdeau by Patrick Gossage (1986)
  • Towards a Just Society: The Trudeau Years edited by Thomas S. Axworthy and Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1990)
  • The Northern Magus: Pierre Trudeau and Canadians by Richard Gwyn (1980)
  • Trudeau and Our Times: The Magnificent Obsession (Volume 1) by Stephen Clarkson and Christina McCall (1990)
  • Trudeau and Our Times: The Heroic Delusion (Volume 2) by Stephen Clarkson and Christina McCall (1994)
  • Joe Clark: A Portrait by David L. Humphreys (1978)
  • Reign of Error: The Inside Story of John Turner’s Troubled Leadership by Greg Weston (1988)
  • Memoirs by Brian Mulroney (2007)
  • Mulroney: The Making of the Prime Minister by L. Ian Macdonald (1985)
  • On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years by Stevie Cameron (1994)
  • The Secret Mulroney Tapes by Peter C. Newman (2005)
  • Time and Chance by Kim Campbell (1996)
  • Straight from the Heart by Jean Chretien (1985)
  • My Years as Prime Minister by Jean Chretien (2007)
  • The Chretien Legacy: Politics and Public Policy in Canada edited by Lois harder and Steve Patten (2006)
  • Chretien: The Will to Win (Volume 1) by Lawrence Martin (1995)
  • Chretien: Iron Man (Volume 2) by Lawrence Martin (2003)
  • Hell or High Water by Paul Martin (2008)
  • Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada by William Johnson (2005)
  • Harperland by Lawrence Martin (2010)

Prime Ministers As a Group –

  • The Prime Ministers of Canada edited by Jean Chevrier (2005)
  • One Eyed Kings: Promise and Illusion in Canadian Politics by Ron Graham (1986)
  • Mr. Prime Minister: 1867-1964 by Bruce Hutchison (1964)
  • Right Honourable Men: Macdonald to Mulroney by Michael Bliss (1994)
  • The Prime Ministers of Canada by Gordon Donaldson (1994)
  • Canadian Prime Ministers: Macdonald to Trudeau, Portraits from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography edited by Ramsay Cook and Real Belanger (2007)

General Political Memoirs and Biographies

  • Memoirs by Rene Levesque (1986)
  • Rene by Peter Desbarats (1976)
  • Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin by John Ralston Saul (2010)
  • The Other Mrs. Diefenbaker: A Biography of Edna May Brower by Simma Holt (1982)
  • More Than A Rose: Prime Ministers, Wives and Other Women by Heather Robertson (1991)
  • The Antagonist: Lucien Bouchard and the Politics of Delusion by Lawrence Martin (1997)
  • Frank: The Life and Politics of Frank McKenna by Philip Lee (2001)
  • From Protest to Power by Bob Rae (1996)
  • A Woman’s Place: My Life and Politics by Audrey Mclaughlin (1992)
  • The Way It Works: Inside Ottawa by Eddie Goldenberg (2006)
  • The Stream Runs Fast by Nellie McClung (1945)

Political and Civic History

  • The Changing of the Guard: How the Liberals Fell From Grace and the Tories Rose to Power by Norman Snider (1985)
  • Blue Thunder: The Truth About Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper by Bob Plamandon (2009)
  • Grits: An Intimate Portrait of the Liberal Party by Christina McCall-Newman (1982)
  • 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal by Christopher Moore (1997)
  • The Canadian Federal Election of 2008 edited by Jon Pammett and Christopher Dornan (2009)
  • Sometimes a Great nation by Peter C. Newman (1988)
  • The Canadian Revolution: From Deference to Defiance by Peter C. Newman (1995)
  • 1967: The Last Good Year by Pierre Burton (1997)
  • The Road To Confederation by Donald Creighton (1964)
  • The Penguin History of Canada by Robert Bothwell (2006)
  • Canada: 1896-1921 by Robert Craig Brown and Ramsay Cook (1974)
  • Canada and the Age of Conflict: 1867-1921 (Volume 1) by C.P. Stacey (1984)
  • Canada and the Age of Conflict: 1921-1948 (Volume 2) by C.P. Stacey (1986)
  • 20th Century Canada: A Reader edited by J.L. Granatstein (1986)
  • The Structure of Canadian History by J.L. Finlay and D.N. Sprague (1979)
  • Canada 100: 1867-1967 edited by C.C. Lingard (1967)
  • Canada and UN Peacekeeping by Sean M. Maloney (2002)
  • Her Story: Women from Canada’s Past by Susan E. Merritt (1993)
  • Canadian History since Confederation by Bruce Hodgins and Robert Page (1972)
  • Canada’s Parliament Buildings by Mark Bourrie (1996)
  • Provincial Politics in Canada by Rand Dyck (1986)
  • Inside Gomery by Francois Perreault (2006)
  • Just a Minute: Glimpses of Our Great Canadian Heritage by Marsha Boulton (1994)

Our Political System and Discussions of Reform

  • Federalism and the Constitution of Canada by David E. Smith (2010)
  • The People’s House of Commons by David E. Smith (2008)
  • The Canadian Senate in Bicameral Perspective by David E. Smith (2006)
  • Against Reform by John Pepall (2010)
  • Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis edited by Peter H. Russell and Lorne Sossin (2009)
  • Two Cheers for Minority Government by Peter H. Russell (2008)
  • Protecting Canadian Democracy: The Senate You Never Knew edited by Serge Joyal (2003)
  • How Parliament Works by John Bejermi (2005)

Policy Debates, Political Theory and General Commentary

  • As Prime Minister I would… (Volume 4) by various authors (1998)
  • If I Were Prime Minister by various authors
  • Exporting Democracy by Bob Rae (2010)
  • The New Canada by Preston Manning (1992)
  • Becoming Canada by Ken Dryden (2010)
  • Public Service, Private Profits: The Political Economy of Public-Private Partnerships in Canada by John Loxley (2010)
  • Sorry, I don’t Speak French by Graham Fraser (2006)
  • Federalism and the French Canadians by Pierre Trudeau (1968)
  • Against the Current (selected writings) by Pierre Trudeau (1939-1996)
  • What is Stephen Harper Reading? by Yann Martel (2009)
  • The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics by Steve Paikin (2001)
  • Breaking the Bargain by Donald Savoie (2003)
  • Lament for a Nation by George Grant (1965)
  • While Canada Slept by Andrew Cohen (2003)
  • Open and Shut by John Ibbitson (2009)
  • Fearful Symmetry by Brian Lee Crowley (2009)
  • Canada and Other Matters of Opinion by Rex Murphy (2009)
  • French Kiss by Chantal Hebert (2008)
  • Canadian Political thought edited by H.D. Forbes (1985)
  • Canada’s Third Option edited by S.D. Berkowitz and Robert K. Logan (1978)
  • Political Management in Canada by Allan Blakeney and Sandford Borins (1998)
  • Boundaries of Identity: A Quebec Reader edited by William Dodge (1992)
  • Strong Medicine: How to Save Canada’s Health Care System by Michael Rachlis and Carol Kushner (1994)
  • The Efficient Society by Joseph Heath (2001)
  • Ethnocultural Groups and Visible Minorities in Canadian Politics edited by Kathy Megyery (1991)
  • Health Systems in Transition by Gregory P. Marchildon (2006)


  • So You Want to Be Prime Minister? by Ben Wicks (1984)

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