Skip to main content

Inevitably, traditionally, the passing of a great public figure is followed by a wave of "quickie" books. Pierre Elliott Trudeau will get more than his share.

Maclean's magazine, for instance, is sprinting toward publication of a so-far untitled collection of photographs and text, probably around 164 pages, to be ready before the end of the month. The project's editor, Michael Benedict, says the book -- actually more of a magazine -- will present some never-before-seen photos, as well as some never-before-revealed facts about Trudeau.

"We got an interview with an important person from the Trudeau era," Benedict says. "The interview was conducted quite some time ago, on the understanding it wouldn't be printed until Trudeau died."

According to Toronto booksellers, McClelland & Stewart has been pitching a 64-page, full-colour book they hope to have ready in the next couple of weeks. M & S editor Jonathan Webb confirms that the book is tentatively titled Our Last Farewell, and will focus on events and personalities of the past few weeks, including photos of the funeral and the various services and texts of one or more eulogies -- perhaps even Justin Trudeau's much-admired and commented-upon paean to his father.

Several publishers are planning to re-issue earlier Trudeau works. Chapters has purchased ECW Press's backlist copies of Pierre Elliott Trudeau: Passion Before Reason (1994), by Kevin J. Christiano. Trudeau's Memoirs, published by McClelland & Stewart in 1993, is still available, according to M & S, with plenty of stock on hand; Penguin says the same for 1992's Towards a Just Society, co-edited by Trudeau and Tom Axworthy, and reissued in paperback this summer.

Don't call Trudeau Albums, edited by Mordecai Richler (Penguin, $50), a "quickie": It was originally scheduled for Trudeau's 80th birthday, but postponed owing to the death of Michel. Billed as "a mesmerizing visual biography," this chronologically arranged work consists of more than 300 colour and black-and-white photographs of Trudeau -- some famous and about 100 unpublished -- wrapped around essays by six writers: the work's editor, Mordecai Richler; former Morningside host Peter Gzowski; historian and author J. L. (Jack) Granatstein; Trudeau's former press secretary, Alison Gordon; award-winning journalist Anne Kingston; and filmmaker Catherine Annau, who won a Genie for her 1999 documentary Just Watch Me: Trudeau and the 70s Generation.

A Trudeau bibliography

Trudeau's Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, edited by Andrew Cohen and J. L. Granatstein (Random Canada, 1998). Two dozen essays by a variety of commentators. The Essential Trudeau, edited by Ron Graham (McClelland & Stewart, 1998). An anthology of Trudeau's thoughts. Paddling with the Current: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Etienne Parent, Liberalism, and Nationalism in Canada, by Claude Couture (University of Alberta Press, 1998). An examination of PET's political philosophy. Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity, by Kenneth McRoberts(Oxford, 1997). Historian blames Trudeau for the threat of Quebec's separation. Against the Current: Selected Writings 1939-1996, by Pierre Elliott Trudeau,(McClelland & Stewart, 1996). Especially good on travel and canoeing. Memoirs, by Pierre Elliott Trudeau(McClelland & Stewart, 1993). Disappointing, and not very revealing. One-Eyed Kings: Promise and Illusion in Canadian Politics, by Ron Graham(Collins, 1986). A defence of Trudeau's 1980-84 government. The Patriot Game, by Peter Brimelow(Key Porter, 1986). Argues that Trudeau gave Quebec disproportionate power. Close to the Charisma: My Years Between the Press and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, by Patrick Gossage(McClelland & Stewart, 1986). Trudeau's former press secretary tells some good stories. The National Deal: The Fight for a Canadian Constitution, byRobert Sheppard and Michael Valpy, (Fleet, 1982). Two Globe writers examine the patriation of the constitution. The Northern Magus,by Richard Gwyn (McClelland & Stewart, 1982). A delightful account for political junkies. Trudeau,by George Radwanski (Macmillan, 1978. The first serious biography, by a Trudeauphile.