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He was the most unlikely leader: straightforward, uninterested in personal wealth, unprepossessing. Yet his charisma affected even those who disliked his political aim to achieve independence for Quebec. René Lévesque was born into a Quebec dominated by the Catholic Church, rural values, and Anglophone control of business. He was part of the 1960s Quiet Revolution that saw the province become a secular society bent on economic success and, for some, political independence. A journalist, war reporter, and television host, Lévesque channelled his communication skills into a political career that encompassed the most tumultuous periods in Canadian history. As founder of the Parti Québecois, he held two close referenda in 1980 and 1995 that proved wrenching for Canadian unity and permanently altered the country's political landscape. Acclaimed novelist and translator Daniel Poliquin offers a unique portrait of Lévesque the man and politician, at once affectionate, critical, and incisive.