Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Historical

Extraordinary Canadians Pierre Elliott Trudeau

A Penguin Lives Biography

by (author) Nino Ricci

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2012
Historical, General, Political
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Love him or hate him, Pierre Elliott Trudeau marked us all. The man whose motto was “Reason over passion” managed to arouse in Canadians fierce passions of every hue. Acclaimed novelist Nino Ricci begins with the crucial role Trudeau played in the formation of Ricci’s own sense of identity in order to examine how he expanded us as a people, not in spite of his contradictions but because of them. Downplaying the perpetual rebel image that Trudeau crafted, Ricci reconstructs the charismatic prime minister as an almost Zelig-like figure. If his beliefs shifted radically over the years—from separatist to federalist, from fascist to liberal, from civil rights champion to military strongman—Trudeau always acted on deep convictions. Brilliantly argued and sensitively observed, Ricci’s Trudeau is an unforgettable portrait of a memorable man.

About the author

NINO RICCI's best-selling Lives of the Saints (published in the United States as The Book of Saints) won the Governor General's Award for fiction, the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the F. G. Bressani Prize. The New York Times Book Review hailed it as “an extraordinary story — brooding and ironic, suffused with yearning, tender and lucid and gritty . . . [The author has] perfect pitch and brilliant descriptive powers.” This was the first book in a trilogy and was followed by In a Glass House — “beautifuly written and tireless in its pursuit of emotional truth” (Times Literary Supplement) — and Where She Has Gone, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize.

Nino Ricci's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Nino Ricci, who, with a novelist's flair for the theatrical, has reanimated Trudeau in his entry in Penguin Canada's compact biographies of extraordinary Canadians…. Absorbing and thoughtful evaluations…. Compelling.” - The Globe and Mail

“The narrative is thoroughly researched. While Ricci presents few stories, details, or theories about Trudeau’s legacy that haven’t been told elsewhere, he provides a surprisingly comprehensive biography in perhaps the shortest number of pages ever devoted to a Trudeau book. Ricci’s signature style is evident, and his own insights peppered throughout the text are enjoyable. Personal, human, and generous.” - Canada’s History magazine

“The authors [of the Extraordinary Canadians series] are well chosen; Nino Ricci … does terrific justice to Pierre Trudeau.” - Calgary Herald

“A balanced and subtle account of [a] complex and very private man…. Even if you have read Stephen Clarkson and Christina McCall or John English’s superb Trudeau biographies, far more substantial and detailed, you will want to read this elegant little book. It provides the best, and best written, perspective on the man there is.” - Guelph Mercury

“Charming and readable…. Ricci does an excellent job explaining the sources of the Trudeau myth and, in doing so, makes Trudeau the man more human.” - The Canadian Encyclopedia Blog

Other titles by Nino Ricci

Related lists