René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois in Power


Nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for Non-Fiction, René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois in Power has been described as the classic work on one of the most important periods in recent Quebec history. Graham Fraser paints a vivid portrait of one of the most dynamic political figures of the twentieth century, describes the origins of the Parti Québécois, and gives a graphic account of key events that still resonate in Canadian political life: Quebec’s Language law, the 1980 referendum, and the patriation of the constitution. In a new preface, Fraser completes the story of the last months of the PQ government and the period leading up to Lévesque’s death in 1987, detailing how Lévesque’s leadership continues to mark his successors.


"Wise and fair-minded, it reveals the author's unusual understanding of Quebec's culture and public life. " Macleans' top choices of 1984 "Here is a remarkable book, written with warmth, sympathy and good will, but without flattery, by a conscientious and rigorous journalist. " Gilles Lesage, Le Devoir "Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best examinations possible of the Parti Québécois . .. an honest and remarkably well-researched book. " Laurent Laplante, Le Soleil "Graham Fraser has written a superb chronicle of the Parti Québécois' eight years in office since the election of November 15, 1976, dense with fact and anecdote, and brilliantly illuminated by word-pictures of the party's charismatic leader, his colleagues, rivals and enemies. " Peter Desbarats, The Globe and Mail "Fraser's is the best book so far on the extraordinary history of the PQ and its leader, and a very well-written one to boot. " Mason Wade "Fraser traces the events . .. with a rare writing skill, rich in imagery, a mix of the anecdotal and the intimate with the solid substance of political developments . .. he combines the best of journalistic and academic writing - on the one hand, fast-paced, readable, with a sense of immediacy as compelling as the daily newspaper; on the other hand, balanced and perceptive, an authoritative record. " Donald C. MacDonald, The Toronto Star "Fraser is an intellectual journalist . .. But the strength of this work is the quality of the narrative, the ability to weave the events of the pre-1976 period and of the subsequent eight years into a well-honed political history. " Philip Resnick, University of British Columbia "The best book on Quebec for many years. " J. L. Granatstein, York University