Paul Martin, Hell or High Water: My Life In and Out of Politics

Paul Martin, Hell or High Water: My Life In and Out of Politics

The appeal of political memoirs is questionable at best, mostly due to their predictability. They all follow a similar format of talking about the politico’s early years, framing him or her for a life in public service. This is then followed with a discussion of the author’s early political life, encounters with a mentor/detractor that […]

The appeal of political memoirs is questionable at best, mostly due to their predictability. They all follow a similar format of talking about the politico’s early years, framing him or her for a life in public service. This is then followed with a discussion of the author’s early political life, encounters with a mentor/detractor that shaped them for the future and the first step into the spotlight. All of this is certainly in Paul Martin’s memoirs.

People read political memoirs for insights into decisions and hopefully explanations of why choices were made even though the public questioned them. In contrast, Martin successfully manages to rehash some events in recent political history that most Canadians would rather forget without actually offering any insights. On the other hand, he does manage to shift the blame onto as many other people as possible – another hallmark of the traditional political memoir.

Following in Chrétien’s footsteps yet again, Martin has written a book that any Canadian interested in our political jungle will absolutely want to read. It is a superficial snapshot into the life of a long-time heavyweight in Canadian politics, but a snapshot of that world nonetheless. Just don’t expect any answers, only justifications.