"The Canadian Revolution. It's sounds like an oxymoron. It sounds like jumbo shrimp or Ottawa night-life, but it's not. Most of us think of revolutions as something to do with a guillotine or tanks in a city square--some great violent confrontation... What authenticates a revolution is a shift in values of the society that has undergone a revolution... that is what has happened--Canadian values have shifted from deference to defiance, from deference to authority, to defiance of authority." -- Peter Newman, speaking to the Empire Club, 1995

"Newman is a one-man journalistic Niagara." -- Rex Murphy

"Success turns a writer into a praise addict." -- Peter Newman

Peter C. Newman, briefly a resident of Deep Cove, B.C., was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929. He went from being pampered Jewish child in a Czech chateau to being strafed by Nazi fighter planes on a Biarritz beach to escaping from France on the last available ship in 1940. As a refugee on a farm that his family purchased near Freeman, Ontario, he learned English and earned a scholarship to Upper Canada College where he met some of the elite figures he would later profile in his journalism career. Along the way he worked underground at Bevcourt Gold Mines in Northern Quebec, served as Captain in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, played the drums, had a stint as a magician at Eaton's Toytown and married Christina McCall-Newman, one of his four wives. As a Financial Post columnist he wrote Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years (1963), the first of his books about Canadian politics. Editor of Macleans magazine from 1971 to 1982, he is most widely known for his books on Canada's business elite, such as The Canadian Establishment, The Acquisitors and his profile of Conrad Black entitled The Establishment Man. His trilogy on the Hudson's Bay Company has also made him one of Canada's most successful historians. An avid sailor and jazz enthusiast, Newman briefly taught 'creative non-fiction' at UVic. Although he moved to Europe in the new Millennium, he remained active as one of Canada's most high-profile writers and commentators, releasing his memoirs with Douglas Gibson Books as Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power (2004). It was his 22nd book.

"Being Canadian is not a nationality," he has said. "If somebody says they're Swedish or Japanese they define themselves. But being Canadian is an act of faith, something very different, because it is full of potentials that are as yet unrealised. Being Canadian is a very, very precious commodity. You have to wonder what it is that people around the earth know that we don't know. Why is everyone trying to come here to a country that we take for granted. That's the only advantage that we immigrants have. We never take Canada for granted because we know what a precious place it is."


Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power (McClelland & Stewart, 2004)
The Canadian Revolution: From Deference to Defiance. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Limited, 1995.
Merchant Princes. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Limited, 1991.
Company of Adventurers. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Limited, 1985.
The Bronfman Dynasty. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977.
The Canadian Establishment. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1975.
The Distemper of Our Times. (1966)
Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years. Carleton University Press, 1963.
Flame of Power. (1959)


National Newspaper Award, feature writing.
Michener Award for Journalism.
President's Medal, University of Western Ontario.
National Business Writing Award.
Order of Canada, Companion.
Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.

[BCBW 2003] "Journalism"