Monday, April 21, 2008

Extraordinary Canadians

After reviewing the book about Nellie McClung, I got a bit distracted with the website for the Extraordinary Canadians series. So, now I am going to share just how fabulous this series is. This is not just for Canadians, though, I promise.

David Adams Richards wrote a book on Lord Beaverbrook. It is out right now.
Millionaire lumber man, financier, press baron, Max Aitken always attracted both approval and criticism in equal measure. He was an irrepressible entrepreneur, rising from modest beginnings in New Brunswick to become the world's most powerful newspaperman and a British Lord by the age of forty. He counselled kings and statesmen, bedded scores of women, supported Canadian art, and became Winston Churchill's invaluable wartime minister. Yet despite his loyalty and service to the British empire, Beaverbrook was mostly derided by English society as an overly ambitious colonial. Novelist David Adams Richards, the bard of Miramichi, brings unique insight into the life of his fellow New Brunswicker, Max Aitken, reminding us of why he mattered then, and why he matters now.
The cover is by Robert Carter.

Lewis DeSoto wrote a book on Emily Carr. It is also out right now.
Emily Carr defies easy description. Painter, writer, world traveller, adventurer—she was also an original, a rebel, a free spirit, and a visionary mystic. She is one of those unique individuals, those few, who have created and articulated the symbols and images by which Canada knows itself. Lewis DeSoto, himself an award-winning novelist and painter, follows Carr's trajectory from novice art student to a mature and utterly distinctive artist. He argues that her powerful paintings encompass the many aspects of her life: the passionate engagement with the West Coast landscape, her determination to forge a modern Canadian artistic sensibility, her fascination with Indian motifs, and her spirituality. With bold strokes and nuanced shadings, DeSoto's portrait captures the genius of Carr, reminding us of why she mattered then, and why she matters now.
The cover is by Jody Hewgill.

Rudy Wiebe did a book on Big Bear. It will be out in September.
Since the publication of Rudy Wiebe's 1973 Governor General's Award–winning novel, The Temptations of Big Bear, there has been much new scholarship about the Plains Cree chief who tried to ensure the survival of his people. In Big Bear, Wiebe revisits the life of the First Nations statesman who believed in negotiation and the rule of law over violence.
The cover is by George Littlechild.

M.J. Vassanji wrote on Mordecai Richler. This book will also be out in September.

Mordecai Richler was a Quebec author. He wrote books such as The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

The artist is Vladymyr Yakobchuk.

Andrew Cohen wrote on Lester
B. Pearson. Another book that will be out in September.

Andrew Cohen's previous books have focused on who we are at home and who we are in the wider world. As the author of While Canada Slept, an account of how Canada has slipped in its role as a strong diplomatic force in the world, Cohen is the perfect writer to assess the legacy of Lester Bowles Pearson. Pearson, who served as Prime Minister from 1963 to 1968, was a former diplomat whose peace-brokering during the 1957 Suez Crisis brought Canada to the world stage in international affairs and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
The artist for this cover is Joseph Salina.

The rest of the series does not have release dates, but the authors and subjects are as follows:

Margaret MacMilan writes on Stephen Leacock.
Andre Pratte writes on Sir Wilfred Laurier.
Daniel Poliquin writes on
René Lévesque.
Adrienne Clarkson writes on
Norman Bethune.
Jane Urquhart writes on L.M. Montgomery.

Mark Kingwell writes on Glenn Gould.

Douglas Coupland writes on
Marshall McLuhan.
Nino Ricci writes on
Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
Joseph Boyden writes on
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.
John Ralston Saul writes on
Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin.
Vincent Lam writes on
Tommy Douglas.

Some more of the awesome covers:

Sandra Dionisi:

By Anita Kunz:

By Joe Morse:

By Shelley Adler:

I think this series is fabulous! I will be posting more on it as more info comes out, of course. The website is:

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