Canada in the European Age, 1453-1919 / Edition 2

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Young Louis Brennan has a way with words. This talent catches the eye of his dynamic and ambitious boss, Jack Shildrick, editor in chief of a local newspaper in the north of England. Before long they both make their way up in the world of journalism and down to the Beatles-besotted, miniskirted London of 1966, Louis as a writer for the prestigious and trend-setting color magazine of the Sunday Dispatch and Shildrick as the editor of its news section. Louis finds himself increasingly torn between his desire for acceptance by his talented but greedy and oversexed magazine colleagues and his admiration for Jack Shildrick, who, he discovers, is bent on ending the magazine's cherished autonomy. Office politics boil over with the arrival of Fran Dyson, a knockout blond "bird," who leads Louis on, steals his copy, and plays hob with his heart as she climbs toward the top. As Louis Brennan comes to terms with his gift for writing and with one private or public shock after another, Philip Norman conjures up swinging London in vibrant detail. And he leads his hero, and the reader, to startling insights about journalism and to a fresh appreciation of the human comedy in which we all play a part.

The bestselling author of Shout!, the definitive book on the Beatles, now offers a comic novel that dissects the office politics and bedroom shenanigans of trendy journalists in Beatles-era London, evoking the world of sixties pop music and high fashion with thorough authenticity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The "Mod'' London of the 1960s provides the background for this deliciously wry satire of British journalism by bestselling author Norman (Shout: The True Story of the Beatles; Symphony for the Devil). Louis Brennan, an ambitious young reporter holed up in a backwater town in Northern England, finally lands a spot at the London Sunday Dispatch's ultra-chic glossy magazine. But competition is intense, and he finds himself floundering in his search for a legitimate scoop in the magazine's politically charged atmosphere. He is encouraged by his crony, Jack Shildrick, formerly his boss in the provinces and now editor of the Dispatch. When their solidarity is infiltrated by Fran Dyson, an apparently diffident yet poisonously manipulative young secretary, Louis and Jack find themselves jockeying for her affections, with potentially disastrous results. Meanwhile, Louis is becoming aware of office politicking and also increasingly immersing himself in the campy culture of 1960s London, pulsing with free love, funky fashions and Mod music. Norman seems to have total recall of that cultural milieu, and he recreates it with verve. Eventually, Louis learns to master for himself the first truth of tabloid journalism: that clever words and minds can create news that the public will accept as such, never mind the dutiful reporting of more factual papers. Norman's prose positively reels with a distinctly British humor and sharp satirical edge, and his large roster of deftly rendered characters (with some real celebrities thrown in) remains engaged in furious action without a moment of letdown. It's a wicked portrait of an era and a screamingly good read. (May)
Library Journal
Louis Brennan, a North Country English journalist, wins an essay contest that lands him a job at the prestigious and extravagant London Daily Dispatch Sunday magazine. At the same time, his former editor, moral and thrifty Jack Shildrick, takes over as editor of the daily newspaper. Deep in the swinging 1960s, Louis "happens" to break all the great stories of that era: the Beatles' decision not to tour again; the Rolling Stones' arrest, conviction, and release on drug charges; Richard Burton's being held hostage in Salzburg; and Brian Epstein's suicide. Complications set in when he and Shildrick fall for the same ambitious "Girl Friday" at the office. This biting inside look at the world of journalism is entertaining, well written, and engaging. Recommended for general readers.-Joanna M. Burkhardt Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Watch Hill
Kirkus Reviews
Novel number six from Beatles biographer Norman (The Skaters' Waltz, 1985; Elton John, 1995, etc.), a scathingly delivered and encyclopedically detailed satire of a young journalist caught up in the whirlwind of Mod London in the swinging '60s.

Plucked from the British sticks after unexpectedly winning an essay contest, 22-year-old Louis Brennan is transplanted to the decadent offices of the Dispatch's Sunday color supplement and reunited with his old boss from the North, Jack Shildrick, who has ascended to the editorship of the dowdy daily. Shildrick favors stories on crusty yachtsman plodding around the globe with rescued pigeons and exposés that batter the excesses of moneyed society, while the supplement's editor, Toby Godwin ("God" to his staff), between colossal meals and multiple magnums of Dom, sponsors flashy pieces on cultural trends from Twiggy to the Beatles. Louis gropes for attention, but while God and his minions sniff and chortle at the kid's ideas, Shildrick cleaves to him, calling him "Poet" and repeatedly offering him the coveted "Cicero" column. Matters get dicey, though, when Louis and Shildrick take up with the same chippie, a talentless but terribly manipulative ingénue named Fran Dyson, and dicier still when Louis blows the lid off the married Shildrick's affair. The author's detailed re-creation of the era is impressive, from the vanished fashion temples to the nocturnal hotspots to the theatrical foppishness of mod menswear. But, at bottom, the story is a retread of the corruption-of-the-innocent riff, clueful readers will see the collapse of all careers (and great expectations) a mile off. Still, with cameos from John and George and Mick and Keith and Brian and Marianne, and of course all those zany threads, the novel's awesome length is nicely paced—thanks, too, to Norman's unsparing humor.

Given the recent obsession with all things Mod, this delightful upbraiding of the period should offer an ideal tonic for misplaced nostalgia. It's funny, too.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773530911
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 648
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

R.T. Naylor is professor, economics, McGill University, and the author of many books, including Economic Warfare: Sanctions, Embargo Busting, and Their Human Cost, and Bankers, Bagmen, and Bandits: Business and Politics in the Age of Greed.
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Table of Contents

1 The discoveries 3
2 The foundations of English bullionism 20
3 The foundations of French bullionism 30
4 The aftermath of the discoveries 40
5 The origins of the English plantation system 51
6 The origins of the French plantation system 65
7 Competition for empire, 1663-1713 77
8 France in America, 1713-1763 96
9 Competition for empire, 1713-1763 108
10 The triumph and collapse of British mercantilism 120
11 The industrial revolution and the colonial system 147
12 Competition for empire, 1793-1832 154
13 The Atlantic seaboard : from mercantilism to industrial capitalism 167
14 The contest for the continental interior, 1763-1821 186
15 Emigration and colonization, 1763-1841 197
16 Finance and politics in Canada, 1793-1841 212
17 The triumph of steam and gold 237
18 Commercial reorientation and structural change in the economy of United Canada 252
19 The dawn of the railway age in British North America 263
20 The railroad to confederation : Canadian expansion 280
21 The railroad to confederation : the maritime response 297
22 Reconquest of the northwest 314
23 The rise of the Pacific economy 327
24 Fur trade and Pacific empire 343
25 From company colony to company province 354
26 Imperialist rivalries, 1873-1914 367
27 A railway from Europe to China 378
28 The contest for the continental interior, 1873-1914 396
29 Canada and the cross of gold 417
30 Industrial development and continental integration 433
31 Transcontinental empire 450
32 Canadian expansion overseas 469
33 The approach of war 488
34 The Canadian economy in the Great War 503
35 The aftermath of war 522
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