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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.

Print Price: $105.99

288 pp.
18 photos, 6" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada


A Political Biography

P. E. Bryden
Series Editor Matthew Hayday

Series : Living History

Concise and insightful, Canada: A Political Biography uses interconnected biographies of historical figures to tell the story of Canadian political history from 1791 to the present. Lively in both pace and style, this text offers students a unique lens through which to discover the major players and unsung heroes of Canada's past in one comprehensive survey.

Readership : Canada: A Political Biography is intended for students taking courses in Canadian political history. These courses are offered at the second-, third-, and fourth-year levels out of university history departments.


  • "After far too long, there is now an excellent and engaging textbook on Canadian political history available for our courses. Penny Bryden's text approaches the development of Canadian politics through the viewpoints of a diverse cast of actors - politicians, activists, diplomats, bureaucrats, citizens - and provides not only an engaging overarching narrative, but one that combines diverse racial, class, and gender-based perspectives on how Canada's politics and policies have evolved."
    --Matthew Hayday, University of Guelph

  • "This is a brief yet thorough review of Canadian political life through an examination of significant individuals and political themes and movements with the innovation of serious attention to women in public life. . . . I found myself reading and wondering where it would lead me and whom it would focus on. These are to me very positive attributes indeed."
    --Barry Ferguson, University of Manitoba

Note: Each chapter includes an introduction, conclusion, Beyond the Book questions, and suggested further reading
1. The Origin of Canadian Politics, 1791-1864
2. The Emergence of Canada, 1864-1873
3. An Awkward, but Formative, Adolescence, 1874-1891
4. Extending a Nation, 1891-1911
5. The Great War, 1911-1921
6. The Interwar Years, 1921-1935
7. The Great Reorganization, 1935-1946
8. A Junior Partner on the World Stage, 1947-1957
9. Uncertainty and Crisis, 1957-1968
10. Insiders and Outsiders in Constitutional Confrontations, 1968-1982
11. Constitutional Politics and the Shape of Modern Canada, 1982-1998
12. Transformation of Canadian Politics, 1998-2015

Student Resources:
- Timeline of key events covered in the text
E-Book (ISBN 9780199014224)

P. E. Bryden is associate professor at the University of Victoria. Her experiences in Ontario, the Maritimes, and British Columbia have given her a unique perspective on political culture across the country, and on the different orientations of the federal relationship. With her work, she aims to probe the nature of relationships within government and between governments. Bryden has edited several modules for Visions: The Canadian History Modules Project (Nelson, 2011) and has edited several other historical volumes. She has published extensively on the topic of political history in Canada.

Series Editor:

Matthew Hayday is associate professor at the University of Guelph. A Canadianist specializing in Quebec history, Hayday commonly teaches the HIST 2600: Post-Confederation Canada course at Guelph. In addition to joining the OUP team as editor of the new Living History series, Hayday has authored one text, Bilingual Today, United Tomorrow: Official Languages in Education and Canadian Federalism (MQUP, 2005) as well as edited a volume, Mobilizations, Protests, and Engagements: Canadian Perspectives on Social Movements (Fernwood, 2008).

A History of the Canadian Peoples - J. M. Bumsted and Michael C. Bumsted
The Peoples of Canada - J. M. Bumsted
The Peoples of Canada - J.M. Bumsted

Special Features

  • Contemporary scholarship gives students an up-to-date survey of Canadian political history from early contact to present day.
  • Biographical approach presents students with the unique lens of "living history" through which to consider the political history of this country.
  • Beyond the Book questions at the end of each chapter ask students to think critically about the issues discussed in the text, guiding them to a broader understanding of the subject.
  • Part of the NEW Living History series - combines a concise format, an exploration of recent research, and a thoroughness of coverage that suits the study of special topics in history.