Still the Boss: A Candid Look at Brian Mulroney

by Michel Gratton
242 pages,
ISBN: 0138472114

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Starting this book is like dipping into a box of popcorn: you may think you can stop at any time, but in fact you can't untilevery morsel is devoured. Gratton's mordant wit arid lively journalistic style combine to expose life inside the White House of the North with amusing, acerbic, and occasionally touching revelations of the lives of Canada's Ken and Barbie of politics Brian and Mila. A puckish "naif," Grattan portrays himself as an observer and co-orchestrator of much that is goad, bad, and just plain ridiculous in the world of the PMO. Above all the book describes Mulroney's passion for press. The "Boss," as he is so often known, is a curious combination of skilful lawyer and business negotiator, loving father and devoted husband, terrible-tempered yet childlike in his devotion to the press coverage of himself.
As is likely is a book written by the former deputy press secretary, then press secretary and former president of the Ottawa Press Gallery, the glimpses of the lives of the journalists assigned to cover the grime minister are also revealing, right down to the acknowledgement of the author's own serious indiscretions, which undoubtedly influenced his decision to leave the PMO before he was booted out.
Although Mulroney was reportedly angry and horrified at the publication of this book so soon alter Grattan's hasty departure, it in fact expresses a grit fondness for the prime minister, perhaps best captured in Gratton's own words: Mulroney's negotiator's reflex is the instinct that Beeps a mistrustful card player with his hand glued to his vest, to prevent peeking. Okay in poker, not so good in dealing with his own aides... He is in the best sense of the term, a "good guy," and I never changed the view F had when I joined his staff that his heart was in the right place, and that he was a truly compassionate individual. But his obsession with the media and with his predecessor, his constant striving for perfection, and his layer's tricks portray him instead as a merit minded and dodgy operator, which he is not.
He has all the attributes to be a great prime minister. His greatest enemy is himself.
This boat: is as salty and tasty as a one's junk food "hit."

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