by Martin Spigelman
In this vivid biography, historian Martin Spigelman captures the spirit of a charismatic prime minister and powerful orator whose main goal was the unification of a nation divided by language and religion, culture and geography. Through Laurier's struggles to reconcile French-English differences, Spigelman creates an engaging history of a young, growing nation at the turn of the century. He explores:
the establishment of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan;
the populating of the West with over 1,000,000 new immigrants, which made Canada a truly multi-cultural country;
the Manitoba school question;
Canada's controversial entrance into the Boer war;
the ever-present quest of French speaking Canadians to find equal place in English North America.
To know Laurier is to know a young, vibrant nation vying for an independent role in world history, and at the same time, ready to fall apart should it lack mutual tolerance, understanding, and respect. As Martin Spigelman concludes, our seventh and first French Canadian prime minister "was a great Canadian who did all he could to ensure his country's unity, harmony, and prosperity."