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The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
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The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  62 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A comical and revealing account of what it's like to run for office with no political experience, little money and only a faint hope of winning, told first-hand by celebrated writer Noah Richler.

During the 2015 federal election, approximately 1200 political campaigns were held across Canada. One of those campaigns belonged to author, journalist and political neophyte Noah
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Doubleday Canada
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Philip Girvan
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Quick, enjoyable account of the 2015 federal election from the perspective of Noah Richler who was the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the riding of Toronto—St. Paul's.

Much of the book is focused on the Toronto—St. Paul's riding. This was refreshing.

Few people, or institutions, come out of this looking good: the top down nature and political timidity of NDP HQ is exposed; current Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland who admits to Richler prior to his candidacy that she joined
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun read but a bit too long. I recommend it to Canadians, especially if (a) you live in Toronto, (b) you are pro-NDP or anti-conservative, or if (c) you are disillusioned about politics.
Sasha Gronsdahl
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The good: Richler gives an illustrative account of the challenges of running for office in a long-shot riding for a long-shot party. As a student of political science and public policy, I particularly appreciated his insight into the relationship between the local candidate and the "party brass" of the centre of power in Ottawa. I also enjoyed the commentary on how different local campaigns related to one another--for example, Richler was at times put out by events held in his riding by NDP cand ...more
Sakshi S
May 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Long slog. If you want to experience the drudgery that was Election 2015 except slower and with a narrator that isn't even a little bit self-aware, this is your book.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up this book after hearing the author at a writers festival. I was intrigued by Richler's humorous reading about canvassing in the old folks home, as well as his part in the repartee on stage and sense of ethics.

In general, this was not my type of book, being heavy with names and political histories at the start. I did, however, enjoy the portraits of people in the canvassing sections. I enjoyed the creative ideas and how they played out. I enjoyed the attitude, appreciating the good i
Ian Worling
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An interesting read about the last election campaign in Canada. Richler was politically naive when he decided to run for the NDP and quickly learned the limits of what he could (and could not) do as a local candidate in a national party. Refreshingly honest about the frustrations he encountered along the campaign trail.
Julie Callaghan
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Ugh! Just lost my whole long review of this book. It is an interesting read. An insider's on the ground view of the fairly unglamorous experience of a candidate. Those rallies with Mulcair and the local stable of candidates, all jockeying for position, sounded pretty excruciating, as did the frequent encounters with the local incumbent. I have a newfound respect for someone who would run. As the book points out, not everyone would volunteer the time - and that is truly what it entails for those ...more
Brian Greiner
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable read for people that get a kick out of reading about real-life politics. In this case, about a candidate who ran (unsuccessfully) in the 2015 Canadian federal election.
On the plus side, the author talks about his motivations for running, how to get a campaign up and running, the grueling and rewarding aspects of campaigning, and how to keep going when facing all-but-certain defeat. One unique aspect about this book compared to others I've read about politics is the author's
Victoria Occhipinti
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Richler’s account of things is humorous and hopeful – words I don’t usually use to describe the 2015 election, yet he invokes those feelings with ease in this ode to democracy-making."

See the full review here:
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I probably enjoyed this book more than I should. I live right next to St. Paul's so i enjoyed the canvassing of the local neighborhoods that I know so well. Richler wrtes well enough to keep it interesting.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A totally unique glimpse into the experience of running for MP.
Jane Cowell
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Took me a while to get into this book, but I am glad I persevered...overall a candid and funny look at running for Parliament in Canada...
Jesse McLean
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A terrific view into the machinations of federal politics. Those harbouring any idealistic views of this field of endeavour, or specifically of the NDP, should look elsewhere: craven and calculated political maneuvering are present in any ideological stripe. Richler writes in a crisp voice that, while erudite and indeed almost professorial at times, is never anything but engaging. Minor quibbles: three glaring typos and the author's overuse of the word "fella". Again, I said "minor". Highly reco ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This could have been a really interesting eye into local and national campaign politics but it was so very specific to downtown Toronto. As someone who has lived close to this riding in the past, I could understand the geographical landmarks but the writer seemed to go out of his way to make this overly geographically specific and pretentious. It would have been great if there was a possibility of generalizing the missteps and winning ideas to other campaigns but this is very much a memoir of th ...more
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting insider look into a federal campaign at a time of change. must read for political junkies.
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Noah Richler is a journalist and non-fiction writer who challenges the notions of what it means to be Canadian. Richler was raised in Montreal, Canada and London, England. He is the son of Canadian novelist Mordecai Richler.

He has been a literary columnist for the National Post and regularly contributes to the BBC World Service as well as many Canadian newspapers and magazines.

Richler’s book This