He was the most unlikely leader: straightforward, uninterested in personal wealth, unprepossessing. Yet his charisma affected even those who disliked his political aim to achieve independence for Quebec. René Lévesque was born into a Quebec dominated by the Catholic Church, rural values, and Anglophone control of business. He was part of the 1960s Quiet Revolution that saw the province become a secular society bent on economic success and, for some, political independence. A journalist, war reporter, and television host, Lévesque channelled his communication skills into a political career that encompassed the most tumultuous periods in Canadian history. As founder of the Parti Québécois, he held a close referendum in 1980 that proved wrenching for Canadian unity and permanently altered the country's political landscape. Acclaimed novelist and translator Daniel Poliquin offers a unique portrait of Lévesque the man and politician, at once affectionate, critical, and incisive.