424 pages, 6 x 9
46 b&w photos and 12 cartoons
Release Date:15 Oct 2016
Release Date:28 Nov 2016
Release Date:28 Nov 2016


UBC Press

In 1968, Canadians dared to take a chance on a new kind of politician. Pierre Trudeau, a relative newcomer to federal politics, became the leader of the Liberal Party and prime minister that April. Within two months, he led the Liberals to victory in a snap election. His meteoric rise to power was driven by Trudeaumania, an explosive mix of passion and fear fueled by media hype and nationalist ambition. Exhilarated crowds greeted his appearances across the country. He became a sex symbol whose image was burnished by the star-making machinery of posters, fashion, and hit songs.

What exactly was going on in Canada in 1968? And did it matter?

This book is the definitive account of Trudeaumania. Combining a lively narrative with images reflecting the rich visual culture of the times, Paul Litt’s carefully considered cultural history traces what happened when the fabled spirit of the sixties – human rights, ban-the-bomb, Vietnam, sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelia, the counterculture – met the excitement of the Centennial and Expo 67. Canadians wanted to modernize their nation, differentiate it from the United States, and thwart the threat of Quebec separatism. Within this charged setting, Trudeau was seen as a transformative figure who would rejuvenate the nation in keeping with the idealistic hopes of the times.

Litt’s evocative account of the times shows that the mania that swept Canada fifty years ago was not just a sixties crazy moment. It was a passionate quest for a new Canada that would define the values of Canadians for decades to come.

General interested readers: Baby boomers. This engaging history of a uniquely Canadian phenomenon will fascinate anyone interested in Canadian culture, identity, media, politics, and the making of modern Canada.

Scholars and students: This book tells us as much about the 1960s, Canadian nationalism, and the dynamics of political change in modern mass democracies and, with its brisk writing style, will appeal to students and scholars alike.


  • 2017, Winner - CHA Political History Group Best Book in Political History, Canadian Historical Association
This well-written and well-researched book is the best on the Trudeau phenomenon. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. J.L. Granatstein, York University, CHOICE, April 2017
…it is Paul Litt’s book, simply titled Trudeaumania, that fully embraces the idea of Trudeau as the saviour Canadians had been hankering for in the wake of upheavals catalyzed by separatism and the’60s. Unquestionably, he arrived on the scene at a propitious time. Robert Collison, The Toronto Star, November 20, 2016
Litt’s Trudeaumania is about sex, sizzle and popular culture. Sex, he writes, had become the central obsession of a pop culture, which “exploited its power to titillate and sensationalize. Trudeaumania derived much of its sizzle from the sex-obsessiveness and sexism of the time.” It was the time of sexual liberation, Beatlemania and Andy Warhol … both Trudeaumania books are well researched and well written. If you’re more interested in the cultural phenomenon that was Trudeaumania, that’s what Litt offers. Sheilla Jones, Winnipeg Free Press, November 1, 2016
By showing that Trudeau’s first election was not the overwhelming mandate that those still under the Trudeaumania spell might recall, Litt provides a solid antidote to rose-colored views of Canada’s ’60s and one of its most iconic leaders. Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2016
In unpacking Trudeau the Elder’s rocket-fuelled rise to power in the sixties, Paul Litt provides a fascinating and essential account of the politician as signifier: of a nation, of an era, of dreams, hopes, and fears. Trudeaumania is as much about who we were as who he was: a nation sorely in need of a symbol. Geoff Pevere, co-author of Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey and author of Donald Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road and Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story
This book is a fascinating study of image and popularity in the age of mass media. Though much has already been written about Pierre Trudeau, Litt gives us a new perspective on the way in which the age, the man, and an enthralled media combined to propel Trudeau to be prime minister of Canada. Doug Owram, author of Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation
A variety of memoirs, biographies, and histories have dealt with the life and times of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau but none have captured the excitement and drama of “Trudeaumania” as well as this book does. Paul Litt artfully combines thorough research with a penetrating media analysis to create the most definitive account of that extraordinary phenomenon of Trudeaumania ever published. Paul Rutherford, author of When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967
Paul Litt is a professor in the Department of History and the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. His research explores the intersection of culture, nationalism, and the mass media in twentieth-century Canada. He is the author of several books, including The Muses, the Masses and the Massey Commission and Elusive Destiny: The Political Vocation of John Napier Turner.
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