The Way It Works: Inside Ottawa (Paperback)
Douglas Gibson, 9780771035623, 408pp.
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
As Jean Chretien's right-hand man for thirty years in Ministries all over Ottawa, Eddie Goldenberg got to know how things worked -- especially from 1993 to 2003, when he was Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister.
What did this title mean? It meant that Eddie made things happen. For example, during Paul Martin's years at Finance, Eddie was the go-between who linked Chretien and Martin, who were for much of the time barely on speaking terms. Or when vital decisions about the Iraq War had to be made, Eddie was the man who wrote the words, "If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate."
And that's the way this revealing book works; important decisions are used as case studies as we learn how things really happen in the tough world of politics.
Those less concerned with mastering the system will simply enjoy reading this as an engaging account of an exciting arena, filled with memorable anecdotes about the world's biggest names.
"Journalists look for winners and losers so as to make good headlines. The real story is much more interesting, but is harder to write, and is very difficult to put in a clip of a few seconds."
"President Bush smiled and said, 'You know the guy who wanted to see me, What's-his-name? I didn't see him.' I thought, poor Joe Clark; he had gone from 'Joe Who' to 'What's-his-name' in less than twenty years."
-- Excerpt from The Way it Works
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Praise For The Way It Works: Inside Ottawa…
“When it comes to veteran Ottawa insiders, it doesn’t get more inside than Eddie Goldenberg.” The Way It Works is “engaging – part tutorial, part memoir, and the hottest Canadian political book on the fall list so far. . . . The real essence of the book, peppered with opinion and anecdotes – some quite surprising and entertaining – is offering a view of the inside, as promised.”
– Alan Kellogg, Edmonton Journal
“Conservatives are going to be lining up for Goldenberg’s book.”
– Roy MacGregor, Globe and Mail
“While he describes ‘complete co-operation’ between finance minister Martin and prime minister Chrétien on the big job of tackling the deficit, Goldenberg casts Martin in an unflattering light on several files. . . . The Goldenberg book also details the uneasy relationship between Chrétien and Martin, outlining the elaborate steps the staffers for each had to take simply to set up meetings and make sure they came off smoothly. And Goldenberg provides his account of the weekend Martin exited Chrétien’s cabinet, portraying Martin as indecisive at best as he tried to keep open the option of remaining finance minister after his own public remarks on his deteriorating relationship with Chrétien had clearly made that impossible.”
– John Geddes, Maclean’s
“Here is a splendid manual on the art of politics and the art of government from a very discreet Machiavellian manager. . . . a fascinating and valuable account of Chrétien’s rise to power and his uses of it. The author’s conclusions arise from a lifetime of personal experience and first-hand observation.”
– Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail
“Goldenberg doesn’t disappoint. Part political science textbook, part memoir, The Way It Works is a fascinating and sometimes brutally honest look at the way the federal government really operates. . . . Sprinkled throughout are anecdotes that take the reader into the corridors of power and provide new insight into events like the 1996 Quebec referendum on sovereignty, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and Canada’s decision not to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. . . . The Way It Works is a must-read for political junkies, students of history or anyone who aspires to government. However, it’s also a good read for average Canadians who just want to get a better idea of the way their government really works.”
– Elizabeth Thompson, Montreal Gazette
“An elegant primer on government, politics and politicians. . . . As Goldenberg describes it, the improbable relationship to settle separatism began badly. As was his wont, Chrétien set out to put his new minister at ease with a humorous story. Dion’s response was startling: ‘Prime minister, this is a serious matter, and we do not have time for joking around.’ There are other such nuggets that will provide joy for future historians.”
– John Gray, Literary Review of Canada
“The book provides fascinating insights from Goldenberg on one of the leading contenders in the Liberal leadership contest, Stéphane Dion.”
– Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun