When the Gods Changed

When the Gods Changed

The Death of Liberal Canada

Book - 2011
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Peter C. Newman, Canada's most "cussed and discussed" political journalist, on the death spiral of the Liberal Party. Newman chronicles, in bloody detail, the de-construction of the Grits' once unassailable fortress and anatomizes the ways in which the arrogance embedded in the Liberal genetic code slowly poisoned the party's progressive impulses.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2011.
ISBN: 9780307358264
Characteristics: xxv, 291 pages ;,24 cm.


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Jul 02, 2014

A well-written, informative, and well-researched, though bitter-sweet commentary on the decline of Canada's federal Liberals and one-time leader Michael Ignatieff. Definitely a good read.

Jan 03, 2014

A very thoughtful and philosophically rich book. Newman explains why the Liberal Party needs to be reorganized from a collection of regional power bases to a national organization, and why it needs to renew its ideas in the same way as it has many times in the past. But, he then proposes that, since his fellow Slav and intellectual Ignatieff failed, the task is hopeless. After the book is published, along comes Justin Trudeau to demonstrate how short a shelf-life any political book has that tries to predict the future!

When the Gods Changed is a fascinating book from someone who could only be described as _the_ political insider in Canada. More to the point, it grants the perspective of someone who has been following the trials and tribulations of the Liberal Party for very nearly half a century, and who personally knows Michael Ignatieff. It's packed with fascinating anecdotes and trivia to do with the Liberal party's history, and makes a cogent argument for _why_ the party's collapse took place.

A warning before you pick up the book; if you're a Liberal (or, for that matter, left-leaning) supporter, it is not a happy book. The implication that Newman makes throughout is that the Liberals, having grown overconfident, dropped the ball seriously when it came to dealing with the upstart Stephen Harper, and may have therefore ceded the role of Natural Ruling Party to the Conservatives. Speaking for myself, this is upsetting, and the fact that it's very difficult to argue in the face of Newman's experienced tone only makes it worse.

Nevertheless, I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Canadian politics - you don't get perspectives more tried than Newman's, and it grants fantastic insight into the evolution, decline, and (potential) rebirth of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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