We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $35.00

Hardback 480 pp.
One 2-page insert, b/w photos. 10 photos in total., 6" x 9"



Publication date:
January 2016

Imprint: OUP Canada

Share on Facebook

Add to Favourites Tell a Friend

Citizen Trudeau, 1944-1965

An Intellectual Biography

Allen Mills

Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a man of deep intellect, of strongly held philosophy, and of bold - if not occasionally audacious - personality. He was no high-minded, distant philosopher-ruler however. A consummate pragmatist, Trudeau sought to be a moral man of action. This important work looks his intellectual evolution as a young man, in the years before he entered politics.

Beautifully written, this biography also paints a fascinating, colourful and multilayered portrait of Trudeau. Born into a wealthy family, Trudeau's years among then-Jesuits at Brébeuf College in Montreal were formative, among other reasons for what would become his long-term interaction with Catholicism. Following law school at University of Montreal, Trudeau studied at Harvard in the US, at LSE in London, England, and at Sciences Po in Paris. Mills' considers the biggest influences on Trudeau, including Harold Laski, Jacques Maritain, and Emmanuel Mounier. Mills also recounts Trudeau's travels across the world throughout the 1950s, travelling in Europe, the Near and Far East, Egypt and Sudan, the USSR, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, regions in West Africa, Israel, Vietnam, Persia and Taiwan. A chapter considers Trudeau's evolving thought on Federalism and Nationalism, both internationally and in terms of Quebec and Canada. A chapter on Trudeau's moralism highlights his belief that politics requires individuals of conscience, who have the courage to speak frankly about their beliefs.

Mills' biography shows us that understanding Trudeau the thinker is key to understanding Trudeau the politician, whose life was both a practical and a theoretical one. He was a cool political thinker who believed that clear analysis of political questions was essential to good governance.

Readership : Students of political science, political philosophy and Canadian Studies will love this fascinating, well-researched book on the development of Pierre Trudeau's thinking. As well, general readers and people interested in the man himself (both those "for" and those "against" Trudeau) will enjoy this beautifully crafted intellectual biography.

1. A Portrait of the Activist as a Young Man
2. Trudeau Agonistes
3. Mounier, Maritain and Laski: Getting an Education
4. Trudeau's Profound Moralism: The Matter of Quebec
5. Church and State
6. Socialism and Economics
7. Trudeau Abroad
8. Federalism and Nationalism
9. To the Liberal Station: Trudeau's Surprising Terminus
10. Afterword

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Allen Mills is professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Winnipeg. He was chair of the Department from 2000 to 2005, and from 2004 to 2007 he was editor of the government and politics entries for The Encyclopedia of Manitoba (published in 2007).

Approaches to Politics - The late Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Translated by The late Ivon Owen, Foreward and Introduction by Ramsay Cook and Preface by The late Jacques Hébert

Special Features

  • This important biography, written over a period of ten years and involving considerable original research and new material, traces Trudeau's development as a public intellectual: his extensive education in Canada and abroad, the main influences on his political and philosophical thinking, and his own writings as a student and young activist.
  • Trudeau may in some respects be considered the creator of modern Canada; this book shows how his ideas were the result of much reflection on his part before he went into federal politics in 1965.
  • Where most biographies of Trudeau take a chronological approach, Mills' shows the origins of Trudeau's thinking, particularly in terms of a number of thematic positions on topics that include Quebec, nationalism, constitutionalism, the world, religion.
  • Mills provides context for key moments in postwar Canadian history in which Trudeau was instrumental, including the October Crisis of 1970, his defeat of the sovereignists, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • Mills' prose is nothing short of beautifully crafted, witty, and deeply insightful; few biographies read so fluently and intelligently.
  • Surely one of the most learned intellectual biographies of our time, situating Trudeau within the context of both European and Anglo-American thought, from Hobbes to Charles Taylor.
  • One of the most controversial figures in Canadian history, debate remains about the legacy of Pierre Trudeau; almost as many opinions as there are Canadians.
  • While there is no doubt that Trudeau was an intellectual, this biography challenges the received truth that he a high-minded, distant philosopher-ruler inhabiting a world beyond mere mortals; he was in fact a consummate pragmatist.