As memoirs go, this one is good. When MacGuigan took an interest in a subject, he was a lively and acute reporter, and the result is a considerable advance in our knowledge of Canadian foreign policy in the Trudeau era.
Students of Trudeau, especially his character, his relations with American leaders, and his constitutional patriation exercise, will find [this memoir] well worth their attention.
Mark MacGuigan thought he would get into the cabinet when Trudeau came back into office in 1980. A former law professor, he had the ability and, after twelve years in the Commons, he could hardly be passed over forever merely because he hailed from a part of Ontario thick with ministers. Still, he was surprised to be given the senior post of External Affairs…. ‘It was not the best of times’, MacGuigan says by way of retrospect of his two and a half years in office. His memoirs will help illuminate the dying embers of the post-1945 world.
In chapters devoted to people (Trudeau), events (the olympic boycott, arms control, the constitutional question etc) and geo-political divisions in the world (north-south, the pacific rim, the middle east), these memoirs cover a wide range of national and international issues, bringing in some cautiously painted, though certainly revealing of MacGuigan’s personal biases, portraits of political figures.