Here Be Dragons
Here Be Dragons
Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power
Douglas Gibson, Paperback, 9780771067969, 737pp.
Publication Date: September 13, 2005
Now aged 75, Peter C. Newman at last tells the story of his stranger-than-fiction life. Try to keep up as we follow his many lives: as a pampered child in a Czech chateau; a Jewish kid in short pants being machine-gunned by Nazi fighter planes on the beach at Biarritz, en route to the last ship to escape from France in 1940; as a refugee on an Ontario farm; as an outsider on a scholarship at Upper Canada College; as a Financial Post journalist, then an author whose Renegade in Power made Canadian politics dramatic and disrespectfully exciting for the first time; as the man who revealed the secrets of the rulers of the Canadian business world in The Canadian Establishment, and other huge business success stories, including The Establishment Man, on Conrad Black; or the millionaire who turned his back on business books and tackled Canadian history (Company of Adventurers and other triumphs), in a career where his work has dominated the bestseller lists in politics, business, history, and current affairs.
In the midst of all this were his years at the Toronto Star and Maclean s where, as editor, he took the magazine weekly a huge accomplishment. He is still a legend there, where his columns continue to run.
He knew and wrote about every prime minister from Louis St. Laurent to Paul Martin and every prominent Canadian hero or villain in between. Yet his most interesting character is Peter C. Newman. Incredibly, this central figure known to millions of Canadians sees himself as a perennial outsider. In personal terms, the rich little Czech boy whose nannies never stayed talks frankly about his marriages and the women he has known before his ultimate marriage to his beloved Alvy. His enthusiasms from jazz to the Canadian Navy, not to mention his adventures on his beloved sailboat make for a rich portrait of an astonishingcharacter, one who never stops being controversial.
“Occasionally a book comes along that expands the human story to include history, political analysis, anecdote, gossip, self-critical autobiography and, most importantly, humour. Rarely is such a book written in an elegant style. Peter C. Newman’s Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power manages to showcase the last fifty years of Canadian political theatre, and Newman himself as a commentator on that theatre, both humorously and elegantly. Dragons is a big, ambitious book — arguably the best of the many that Newman has written.”
—2004 Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize Jury
“We owe Peter C. Newman a large debt of gratitude for his riveting new memoir.”
—Roy MacGregor in the Globe and Mail
“Far from being dry or dull, Here Be Dragons is scintillating, the sort of book one wants to read in a single sitting. … It ends all too soon.”
—Quill & Quire
“Brisk, humorous, astute, and brimming with interest. . . . A must-read.”\
—London Free Press
“Racy, readable . . . a sensational smorgasbord of stories.”
—Halifax Daily News
“A disarming and reflective autobiography, candid and revealing to the point of self-laceration.”
“A work of genuine wit and insight.”
“His pointed, deeply affecting memoir deserves the applause of a grateful nation.”