Greatest Albertan

The Calgary Herald is running a “Greatest Albertan” contest. For obvious reasons — because I have a book about him coming out in the fall — I would want to nominate Ernest C. Manning. But perhaps you might want to nominate him as well! Contest deadline is May 12.

Next Up: The Manning Biography

The manuscript is with the publisher now. I start the revisions at the end of this month. This has been a huge project for me — the first full-length biography of the man who was premier of Alberta for twenty-five years. There have been three biographies of Ralph Klein, and none of Ernest C. Manning, the longest-serving premier. Go figure.

When Manning was first elected premier, in 1943, Alberta was much like Saskatchewan: a have-not province in which agriculture was the principal driver of the economy. Then came the discovery of oil in Leduc in 1947, and Alberta’s money worries were no more. Manning, a farm boy from Saskatchewan with little formal education, directed the transformation of the province from Depression-era poverty to modern, oil-based affluence. It’s quite the story. He was the Rocky Marciano of Canadian politics; the heavyweight champ who never lost a bout and retired undefeated. The book is scheduled for publication, by Fifth House, in October 2008.

Bargain offer ends soon

My sincere thanks to all those who took advantage of the bargain pricing on my book, Songs of an Irish Poet: The Mary O’Leary Story. I have mailed autographed copies to readers in Canada, the United States, Ireland and England, and made many new friends. However, I regret to say I cannot extend this offer indefinitely, because I have discovered that the cost of air-mailing a single copy of the book - to England and Ireland, in particular - is more than the $12.50 discount price. So, regretfully, I will have to terminate this special offer on April 30 2008. On May 1 the cost will go back to the regular list price of $19.95 CDN, and a small shipping charge will also apply. You can continue to take advantage of the special offer for the next two weeks by clicking here.