In 1968, Canadians dared to take a chance on a new kind of politician. Pierre Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party in April and two months later won the federal election. His meteoric rise to power was driven by Trudeaumania, an explosive mix of passion and fear fueled by media hype and nationalist ambition. This book traces what happened when the fabled spirit of the sixties met the excitement of the Centennial and Expo 67. Canadians wanted to modernize their nation, differentiate it from the US, and defuse Quebec separatism. Far from being a sixties crazy moment, Trudeaumania was a passionate quest for a new Canada that would define the values of Canadians for decades to come.
About the author
Paul Litt is a historian at Carleton University in Ottawa. His account of John Turner’s political career is based on extensive research in the Turner papers and other archival collections, contemporary journalism, and scores of interviews with friends, family, and colleagues of John Turner. He also spent considerable time with Turner himself, talking with him about his early career in politics, his relationship with Trudeau, his decision to leave politics for nearly a decade, what prompted him to come back, and the challenge of rebuilding a Liberal party that pundits declared was finished as a political force in Canada.
- Winner, CHA Political History Group Best Book in Political History, Canadian Historical Association
…it is Paul Litt’s book, simply titled Trudeaumania, that fully embraces the idea of Trudeau as the saviour Canadians had been hankering for in the wake of upheavals catalyzed by separatism and the’60s. Unquestionably, he arrived on the scene at a propitious time.
The Toronto Star, November 20, 2016
Litt’s Trudeaumania is about sex, sizzle and popular culture. Sex, he writes, had become the central obsession of a pop culture, which 'exploited its power to titillate and sensationalize. Trudeaumania derived much of its sizzle from the sex-obsessiveness and sexism of the time.' It was the time of sexual liberation, Beatlemania and Andy Warhol … both Trudeaumania books are well researched and well written. If you’re more interested in the cultural phenomenon that was Trudeaumania, that’s what Litt offers.
Winnipeg Free Press, November 1, 2016
Nearly a generation after his death, Liberals still speak of the age of Trudeau. The facts are even better than the myth.
By showing that Trudeau’s first election was not the overwhelming mandate that those still under the Trudeaumania spell might recall, Litt provides a solid antidote to rose-colored views of Canada’s ’60s and one of its most iconic leaders.
Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2016
Litt's advantage in this battle of competing interpretations is that his perspective is able to accommodate many factors, rather than emphasizing just one as Wright does … Trudeau's brilliance was that he could master the lecture hall and the TV screen. Appreciating such multiple talents fits more easily into Litt’s account of him than Wright's.
Joint review of "Trudeaumania" by Paul Litt and "Trudeaumania" by Robert Wright, Canada's History
Unlike other literature that examines the controversial leader, Trudeaumania probes beyond Trudeau’s identity, investigating his public image within the context of the 1960s … This account of Trudeaumania is the best study of the phenomenon to date. … Trudeaumania is a must-read for scholars interested in the sixties, counterculture and protest movements, Canadian nationalism, as well as federal politics and Pierre Trudeau.
American Review of Canadian Studies
This well-written and well-researched book is the best on the Trudeau phenomenon. Summing Up: Essential.
CHOICE, April 2017
We may be living through Trudeaumania 2.0 right now, but there are still opportunities to dig deeper into what the first version was all about.
The Hill Times, August 8, 2016
[A]s Paul Litt ably shows in this magnificent study of a pivotal moment, the original Trudeaumania was much more than throngs of adoring fans, a celebrity politician, and an election victory … This book looks beyond the psychedelic colours and trippy slogans of the 1968 campaign into a much larger and more profound set of cultural and ideational shifts that were occurring in Canada in the late 1960s. Doing so through the lens of the Trudeau moment – for which there seems to be a certain nostalgia today – gives shape and structure to what might have been, in less able hands, a somewhat inchoate inventory of cultural crises. Paul Litt has performed a bit of magic here, giving shape and substance to the smoke and mirrors of an ephemeral 1960s culture.
Canadian Journal of History