Acclaim for "The Longer I'm Prime Minister" -

Acclaim for “The Longer I’m Prime Minister”


David Emerson’s review of my book The Longer I’m Prime Minister in the new issue of Policy Options is a highlight of the early reaction from critics, colleagues and political insiders. That reaction has so far been extremely gratifying. Writing this book was such a challenge that while I was in the middle of it I had no sense of whether readers would like it. The response so far has been wonderful.

Emerson, of course, was Stephen Harper’s trade minister and then his minister of foreign affairs. His review calls TLIPM “a fascinating, must-read book” gleaned from a “trove of sources” in “a style that is at times hilarious, often biting and always informative.” “Wells has given me a new and richer understanding of the political machinations of the past decade in Canada with this book,” Emerson writes. I will now quote some other reviews and comments, but Emerson’s is the one review I wish prospective buyers would read.

It follows writeups in the Toronto Star (“thoroughly absorbing and intensely readable”) and Winnipeg Free Press (“an air of authority…plenty of detail”). The festivities began, several days earlier, with a starred review, denoting a book of particular interest, in Publishers Weekly, the industry bible of U.S. booksellers (“incisive…convincing”). On Goodreads as I write this, readers have given the book a 4.67 rating out of five. On that site, Andrew Taubman gave it five stars and wished he could give six. Taubman works for Chapters/Indigo, which has named TLIPM one of the 100 best books of 2013.

One of my goals was to write a book about Harper that readers could enjoy no matter what they thought of him. I wasn’t sure it was possible, given how polarized perceptions of Harper are. But it seems to be working. The Star and Winnipeg Free Press reviewers are deeply skeptical of Harper’s politics. David Frum is a big fan of the prime minister, and in his column for CNN’s website he recommends this “lively… entertaining and insightful study” to American conservatives looking for ways to win.

People who’ve worked with Harper say my account of the facts is accurate. Dan Robertson produced Conservative ads during the 2011 campaign; on Twitter he wrote, “When everything I am familiar with is accurate, I believe the parts I’m not familiar with are as well. Good read.”

Journalistic colleagues have been very kind, from Reuters’ David Ljunggren (“Even-handed, well researched”) to CTV’s Don Martin (“Riveting insight, beautifully written”)  to the Globe’s Ian Bailey (“Couldn’t put down…much to offer supporters, foes and those in between”).

Here’s an excerpt that we ran in Maclean’s, on Harper’s working style; another from the Ottawa Citizen, on the significance of the 2008 coalition crisis; and a third from the Hill Times, on Harper’s first days in power in 2006. Sun News National Bureau Chief David Akin quotes highlights from the book on his blog. The most detailed radio interview I’ve given was with Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC’s The Current.

You can buy The Longer I’m Prime Minister from the independent booksellers I’ve been proud to support on this tour, including Ben McNally Books in Toronto and Pages on Kensington in Calgary; as well as from Chapters/Indigo, AmazonMcNally Robinson and iTunes. On Wednesday, thanks to my favourite bookstore The Book Keeper, I’ll speak about the book on the stage of the Sarnia Public Library Auditorium, where I first performed when I was 7 years old. I want to thank everyone who’s attended a launch event or bought a copy of the book for encouraging long-form political journalism.



Acclaim for “The Longer I’m Prime Minister”

  1. Emerson also doesn’t dwell on Mr. Wells (even handed) portrayal of Mr. Emerson himself in the book. You’re a class act, Mr. Emerson.

  2. Congratulations Paul,

    TLIPM is at the top of my must-read list.

    • Mine too. Looking forward to it.

  3. 1. Harper: as good as it gets
    2. INTJ

  4. Really enjoyed your interviews with AM Tremonti and with sir Michael on one of my favorite radio programmes, the Sunday edition. Look forward to reading this one. I particularly appreciated the offer of grieving and solace to all us Harperphobes. It’s made think a little bit more about why he’s lasted as long as he has and why Conservative Canadians are so reluctant to say goodbye to him.
    Be comforted ye Conservatives. There will be better Conservative leaders in your future then this guy.

  5. I think you should have a contest ( one year subscription to print Macleans?) for the best completion of your title sentence:

    The Longer I’m Prime Minister . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    I’ve got lots of ideas.

    • Here’s one using a quote from Tim Harper in the Star today.

      The Longer I’m Prime Minister: “Canadians may not really care about due process in its Senate, but after Tuesday surely they can understand that if you become a problem for Stephen Harper you become roadkill.”

  6. I read it on the weekend. Very enjoyable, despite a few factual errors. But I guess that’s the editor’s fault.

  7. Congratulations, well deserved success!
    I’ve posted on Macleans for years now, 2000 and so comments and from the very beginning I’ve said you are one of the most consequential (now, I think you are the only one) political journalists in Canada.

    I appreciate the fact that you’ve been the only one who has asked, who is Stephen Harper, why he does what he does?! There has always been genius behind his madness. Your criticism is fair, not cheap shots, a gimmick for a quick sale, it is deep thought, always connecting the dots.
    I’ve been suggesting every conservative I know to read it (I gave two copies away) you do get the PM, I’m a Harperite, bright man, good soul, great husband, outstanding father and a proud Canadian.

    • Mr. Wells has mentioned repeatedly he was pleased people from all stripes were fond of his book. I also am enjoying reading TLIPM and, because i am a policy based centrist, dislike Harper a great deal. The above poster, who is genetically incapable of disliking Harper or criticizing him, feels pretty much EXACTLY the same about it.

      Of course, unless the last 100 pages I have yet to read are entirely about his family life, there is not a single shred of evidence in the entire thing about him being a “great husband” or “outstanding father” (so far the only mention of his children was the bit about him not liking that people made fun of him for shaking hands with his child. I doubt there have been half a dozen mentions of Laureen throughout). But that’s indicative of yet another truism – CPC supporters live in a different reality than most.

      • And you faceless and nameless person, are as per usual an absolute moron.

        • See, gentle readers? No sense or reality at all.